• Oculus Quest Needs More Original Content, not Ports Content is king, new is preferred.
  • Nintendo Labo VR Is A Creaky Headset That May Have Cracked VR For Kids
    Labo VR Building Box

    I remember the first time I showed my PSVR to a 10-year-old. Or, more specifically, I remember the deafening crack I heard when he tried to yank the headset’s visor forward without pushing in the button to move it. I remember biting my lip with anxiety as he threatened to smash a Move controller into a wall, and the tedium of continuously explaining that he couldn’t turn around. It was, without a doubt, one of the most stressful VR experiences I’ve had.

    Now, in comparison to PSVR, Nintendo Labo VR is a ‘bad’ VR headset. It’s not even a contest; a VR experience powered by the Switch hybrid console was never going to match up. If you’re a VR enthusiast looking for a high-end experience, this is not the device for you.

    But Labo VR is something I could happily hand off to any child or, better yet, build alongside them. And, despite it’s many shortcomings, it’s also something I could enjoy playing with them. It’s VR infantilized, simplified and gamified. That, in some senses, is as significant a step forward as the next wave of high-end devices coming our way soon.

    Say Goodbye To Spec Sheets

    Labo VR will undoubtedly underwhelm even the most casual of VR fans. There is, for starters, the 720p display, which will evoke unwanted nostalgia for anyone that used the first developer kit for the Oculus Rift six years ago. The lines between pixels are bold and distort the picture, leaving you longing for the improved clarity of other devices. The slightest twist of your head brings in incredibly noticeable motion blur, too.

    Then there’s the three degrees of freedom (3DOF) tracking, which is already starting to feel like a relic in the wake of the Oculus Quest and Vive Focus. You can point and tilt with controllers and twist your head to look around, but you can’t physically move your hands and head through virtual space like in those headsets. Neither can you escape the fact that Switch’s Nvidia Tegra X1 chip, while powerful, just isn’t up to providing the epic experiences we expect out of high-end VR gaming. By all accounts, it’s a spec sheet that looks pretty glum.

    If it could, though, Labo VR would throw that spec sheet out the window and tell you to get your head out of the books. Above all else, Labo VR is to be enjoyed. It’s free from many of VR’s complications; the wires, PCs and external sensors. Its games aren’t multi-hour adventures with upgrade trees and side missions but instead a hodgepodge of virtual experiments, designed to be snacked upon in small bursts by minds that find engagement and fascination in, for example, steering a virtual RC car.

    Social VR That’s Actually Social

    There is very little to explain here and no real opportunity to get lost. Labo VR sets your expectations accordingly, instructing you to sit down before playing and making sure you start every game with the right peripheral in place. It prioritizes user-control and comfort over all else, letting you pull the

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  • PlayStation’s Road to Greatness Tour Returns for 2019 Play the latest PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games in a truck.
  • Check out the First Trailer for Doctor Who: The Runaway The Doctor has to save the universe again.
  • New Arizona Sunshine: Rampage Experience Coming To Nomadic VR Arcades
    arizona sunshine rampage poster

    A new title based on the Arizona Sunshine VR franchise is coming to Nomadic VR arcades. Nomadic is a new location-based VR company founded last year. Their main location is in Orlando, Florida.

    The Arizona Sunshine franchise began with the original game for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive consumer PC VR systems. It released in December 2016 on the same day as the Oculus Touch controllers. The game is a zombie survival shooter with a voice acted singleplayer campaign and co-op horde mode. We gave it 8.5/10 in our review when it launched, calling it “the best overall zombie shooter we’ve seen yet in VR”.

    This isn’t Nomadic’s first attraction based on the franchise. The company launched last year with an experience called Arizona Sunshine Contagion Z. A new experience in the same franchise seems to indicate Contagion Z was popular.

    Arizona Sunshine: Rampage continues with the same story as Contagion Z. Players re-enter the invested refinery through the sewer system. It’s claimed to be a “darker, grittier, and more intense level.” As with all the best location based experiences, it will use physical props aligned with the virtual environment for added immersion.

    The experience will offer microtransactions to purchase weapon upgrades and equipment. Tickets for the attraction will be $20 and the experience lasts roughly half an hour.

    Rampage will launch in the Orlanda Florida location in “late Spring”. It will come to other locations later in the year. Nomadic also plans to expand to international markets in the future. We’ll keep a close eye on this location based startup and report any further attractions they launch.

    Tagged with: arizona sunshine, location based

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  • Star Wars: Vader Immortal Will Still Hit Quest First, Cross-Buy Unconfirmed
    Star Wars: Vader Immortal Will Still Hit Quest First, Cross-Buy Unconfirmed

    It turns out that Star Wars: Vader Immortal isn’t a full Oculus Quest exclusive. Developer ILMxLAB confirmed that the VR series will be coming to Rift too at this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration. That said, if you want to play it straight away, you’ll still need a Quest.

    Following last Friday’s panel, Oculus confirmed to us that Vader Immortal will still hit Oculus Quest first in spring 2019. The piece will then launch on Rift “shortly after”. Oculus declined to comment on if it would support cross-buy, a new feature that lets Rift and Quest owners buy an app on one headset and then download its counterpart on the other. A possible release on non-Oculus platforms also hasn’t been confirmed.

    Vader Immortal looks like a very promising VR experience, set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. In it, players are placed under the supervision of Vader himself. Together with your droid companion, you explore the fiery planet of Mustafar trying to learn why the dark lord has taken such an interest in you. As the above trailer reveals, you can expect lightsaber combat and face-to-face encounters with a number of Star Wars characters.

    In short, it looks like it could be the real deal. We’re not sure exactly when Vader Immortal will launch but, hopefully, it’s around the same time Oculus Quest arrives. Again, though, we don’t know exactly when that is. This is the first in a three-part series, but we’d imagine it will be some time before we get a glimpse of the next episode.

    Tagged with: ilmxlab, Oculus Quest, oculus rift, Star Wars: Vader Immortal Episode 1

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  • Virtuix’s Debut VR ARENA Achieves $30,000 + Revenue in First Month Pinballz in Austin, Texas, was the first LBE venue to feature the attraction.
  • Superhot VR Has Sold Over 800,000 Units, Made More Revenue Than The Original
    Superhot VR Has Sold Over 800,000 Units, Made More Revenue Than The Original

    Here’s a fun little fact; smash hit VR shooter, Superhot VR, has made more revenue than the original game it was based on.

    Tomasz Kaczmarczyk, one of the founding members of the game’s development team, recently confirmed as much to Mixed. However, Kaczmarczyk’s comments were today backed up by Callum Underwood, a former member of Oculus Publishing and Developer Relations team that helped bring Superhot VR to life. Not only did Underwood confirm Superhot VR had made more revenue than the original Superhot, but the VR version has sold over 800,000 copies across its various platforms.

    SUPERHOT VR, with over 800,000 sales across platforms, has generated more revenue than the original SUPERHOT

    — Callum Underwood (@DevRelCallum) April 15, 2019

    Superhot VR first launched as an Oculus Rift exclusive in late 2016 before moving to HTC Vive, Windows VR and PlayStation VR in the following months. It evolved out of a 2014 Kickstarter campaign for the non-VR game that raised $250,798. That project went on to release on platforms like PC, Xbox One and PS4.

    Since launch, Superhot VR has been a mainstay in Sony’s monthly PlayStation Store charts and is widely considered to be one of the most popular (and best) VR games. Another hugely popular VR game, Beat Saber, recently announced that it had sold over a million copies since launching in 2018.

    It’s also due to release on the upcoming Oculus Quest, a standalone VR headset many believe has the potential to sell millions of units. We don’t yet know if the game will support cross-buy, a recently-introduced feature from Oculus that will allow those that buy a game for either Oculus Rift or Quest to then pick up its counterpart for free too. Oculus says it’s up to developers if they want to support the initiative or not.

    Tagged with: SUPERHOT VR

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  • The Official Launch Trailer for Jupiter & Mars on PlayStation VR has Arrived The videogame will be released on Earth Day.
  • Defrost Is A VR Series With Carl Weathers Launching Soon
    defrost VR series

    Forget The Mandalorian, there’s a much more exciting Carl Weathers project coming soon, and it’s in VR!

    Weathers just one part of a surprisingly large cast in Defrost. In this VR series, viewers embody Joan Garrison, a wife and mother that is cryogenically frozen after suffering a stroke in the present day. She wakes up in 2045 and is reintroduced to her family, but soon finds that the 20+ years in suspended animation are the cause for a few rifts in relationships. You meet different members of her family and explore what’s changed with them over the past few decades. It’s sort of like Futurama but not a comedy.

    You watch events unfold from Garrison’s perspective. Weathers appears to play a doctor in the series. The cast also includes Harry Hamlin (Clash of the Titans), Bruce Davison (that guy that melted in X-Men), Veronica Cartwright (the one that screams a lot in Alien) and Christopher Atkins (The Blue Lagoon). It’s written an directed by Randal Kleiser and consists of twelve episodes, each around five minutes long.

    A behind the scenes look at the series is above (with a brief glimpse of Carl Weathers!).  It looks like an interesting experiment with a focus on characters first and foremost. The series made its debut at Sundance some time ago and has been seen at the likes of Cannes, ComicCon and SXSW since.

    Defrost launches on April 25th on the platform. You’ll be able to watch it on headsets like Oculus Go and Rift. The piece supports stereoscopic 360 views.

    Tagged with: Defrost

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  • Immotion to Install Aquatic VR Experiences at two US Aquariums The aquariums are located in Arizona and Connecticut.
  • Coachella Debuts Its First Interactive AR Stage

    Festival-goers can interact with space-themed AR content before, during, and after performances. Today marks the first weekend of the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, and while festival-goers are knee-deep in the festivals usual helping of chart-topping music and A-list celebrities, those visiting the famous Sahara tent are experiencing a much

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  • The Outlook For Investing In A More Rational VR/AR Market
    The Outlook For Investing In A More Rational VR/AR Market

    Last week, I made my way to the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco for the VR Arcade conference. I moderated a panel on investing in virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality. It was a far different environment for that kind of conversation than in 2016 or earlier.

    The event itself represented a pivot. Since consumer VR hasn’t taken off as much as expected, companies have shifted gears in augmented reality on smartphones or the VR arcade market. We are holding our own GamesBeat Summit 2019 conference on April 23-24 in Los Angeles at a “micro-amusement park” dubbed Two Bit Circus. Such places are sprouting up all over.

    Do these VR arcades represent a good investment, or are seasoned investors looking into other opportunities. We asked that question on our panel.

    My panelists included Stephen Saltzman, founder of Saltzman Strategies & Alliances; Yasushi Komori, a partner at the GFR Fund; Angelo Del Priore, a partner at HP Tech Ventures; and Amy LaMeyer, a partner at the WXR Fund.

    Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.

    Above: VR investment panelists (left to right): Angelo Del Priore, Amy LaMeyer, Stephen Saltzman, and Yasushi Komori.

    Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

    Stephen Saltzman: I first got into VR when I was at Intel Capital. I became managing director for VR, gaming, and location-based entertainment investments at Intel Capital. Starting in January, I became founder and principal and sole employee at Saltzman Strategies and Alliances, which is a consulting firm.

    Yasushi Komori: I’m at GFR Fund. We started looking into the VR area three years ago. On the whole, we’re an entertainment technology-focused fund, so we’re also looking into esports and other areas.

    Angelo Del Priore: I’m at HP Tech Ventures, where we do VC investments for Hewlett-Packard. I focus on the AR, VR, gaming, and education spaces. Our last investment in the space was Mojo Vision.

    Amy LaMeyer: I’ve been the spatial computing space for three years, first as an angel investor and now as a partner in WXR Fund. We invest in the spatial computing and AR spaces.

    GamesBeat: Can you talk about some of the more interesting investments you’ve gotten into?

    LaMeyer: One that’s somewhat potentially relevant to this space is Tribe XR. You can learn how to DJ in virtual reality. You have an array of equipment in the virtual space, and with that hardware you can actually DJ. They’re working on other experiences as well, but they’ve started with DJing.

    Saltzman: My last VR investment for Intel was SoReal. Sam Wong’s been on a few of the panels at this conference. After spending two years analyzing location-based VR, I thought it was not only the most exciting approach, but also the smartest business model. It’s showing th power of the founders, because of their position in the Chinese entertainment industry. They can get other people to build out their experiences for them.

    Del Priore: We don’t actually announce a lot of our investments, because why would we want our competition to know?

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  • Apple Hires Jaunt VR Founder And Multi-camera 3D Expert Arthur Van Hoff
    Apple Hires Jaunt VR Founder And Multi-camera 3D Expert Arthur Van Hoff

    Apple’s depth-sensing iPhone cameras have already enabled features such as Face ID and portrait mode photography — now the company has hired 3D camera expert Arthur van Hoff to serve as a senior architect for an unnamed project. The new hire was first reported by Variety today, with van Hoff’s LinkedIn account listing his start date with Apple as April.

    As founder of VR video company Jaunt and inventor of its Jaunt One camera system, a rig designed to bring 360-degree 3D to virtual reality headset wearers, van Hoff has decades of experience in developing dual- and multi-camera photography products. In an August 2018 interview with VentureBeat, he discussed a new depth camera-based capture system designed to easily create volumetric 3D selfies.

    Though it was known for its pioneering VR work, Jaunt began to offload some of its key assets last year, and dropped its VR projects and cinematic VR business in favor of focusing on AR and XR. Three months ago, van Hoff signed on to advise AI vision startup and RED partner Lucid on how to bring AI, machine learning, and 3D vision to an increasing range of mobile devices, though he apparently ended that arrangement before joining Apple.

    Van Hoff’s role with Apple is, as is the case with most of its new hires, unknown. While Variety reports that Apple previously hired former Jaunt engineers to work on varied projects ranging from AR and camera systems to computer vision, van Hoff could easily be involved with any or all of them. Apple is reportedly ramping up next-generation AR software and hardware, more sophisticated depth-sensing 3D cameras for iPhones, and computer vision/AI projects inside and outside the automotive realm.

    Given his expertise in creating cinematic VR video with Jaunt, however, the greatest likelihood is that van Hoff will assist Apple in developing consumer and/or professional applications for future devices with depth-sensing cameras. That could mean enhancing iOS’s Camera or FaceTime apps with volumetric 3D capture capabilities, or assisting participants in Apple’s new Apple TV+ video creation program with bringing 3D into their shows.

    This post by Jeremy Horwitz originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

    Tagged with: Arthur van Hoff, jaunt

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  • The VR Job Hub: White Elk Studios, Drifter Entertainment & More Jobs from the American West Coast this week.