News

  • Nintendo Switch’s new Labo Kit Adds VR Gaming The new kit will be released in April.
  • Nintendo Releasing Official Labo VR Kit For Switch In April
    nintendo labo vr headset

    Nintendo did it. There’s a cardboard VR headset and accessories for Nintendo Switch coming in April with a new official Nintendo Labo kit.

    According to Nintendo:

    With the new Nintendo Labo VR Kit, there’s more to Make, Play, and Discover together than ever before. Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 04: VR Kit is a unique first VR experience kids and families can build themselves!

    The Starter Set + Blaster kit provides an action-packed introduction to the experience. You can then add to the fun with the Expansion Sets. Or, if you want an even broader experience right away, you can purchase the full Nintendo Labo VR Kit, which features six VR Toy-Con projects in one package.

    The new kit continues Nintendo’s earlier line of Labo cardboard-based toys with a VR headset, blaster and other toys that can be built around the Switch console. It won’t be a high quality experience, but it still might be an enormous amount of fun for kids and parents to explore basic VR concepts together.

    The kit is coming April 12 according to the Labo website. The basic starter set should be around $40 with expansions available separately. The full kit carries a suggested retail price of around $80.

    Cardboard-based VR headsets have a long history. Google and its partners sent millions of Cardboard holders out into the world but the the idea is older than that. It isn’t a high-quality experience but it is a very accessible one. We’re extremely curious to see how this one from Nintendo works in real-world settings.

    Tagged with: Labo, nintendo, switch

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  • Zero Latency’s Free-Roam VR To Use HP Headsets And Microsoft Tracking
    Zero Latency HP Headset VR Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality

    VR company Zero Latency is planning to roll out future locations with HP headsets running Microsoft’s inside-out tracking system.

    That’s a big technological shift for the Australia-based VR company. Zero Latency supplies operators with VR headsets, backpacks, management software, services and games to run a large-scale multi-user VR attraction. The company first deployed a modified version of the HDK 2 open source headset project. They also built a large-scale positional tracking system “out of need.”

    In February, I tried the 1st generation system in a play through at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I noted sway to the tracking with sub-par visuals overall compared with mainstream headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

    Zero Latency CEO Tim Ruse and CTO Scott Vandonkelaar spoke with me over video call about their second generation system. Leaders at the company are trying to grow communities of competitive gamers at their locations in 2019. They believe Microsoft’s tracking system in HP headsets will provide a generally superior experience at a much lower price to operators ($350K down to $200K).

    We have yet to try the system which Ruse says they are trialing in Australia now before rolling out to more locations worldwide in the coming months.

    1st Generation

    Zero Latency’s original system is reminiscent of PlayStation VR. It uses backpacks combined with overhead cameras which Zero Latency said relied on their custom computer vision technology. OptiTrack — the technology deployed in several other VR attractions — was too expensive, they explained on the call. The stages have very dim lighting.

    My only other experience with OSVR was awful, so it is downright impressive what Zero Latency did improving upon this base system without the help of OptiTrack, Microsoft, Google or Facebook. The company first opened its large-scale space in 2015 and say they rolled out more than two dozen venues with this system over the last few years.

    Zero Latency’s software provide the virtual worlds to visit. Accompanying services provide leaderboards and emails sharing the results the moment a match finishes. Hardware-wise, though, this system is dated compared with consumer-grade hardware deployed in attractions by companies like Dreamscape Immersive, Spaces and The VOID.

    2nd Generation

    Ruse said they would launch the second generation system with HP headsets in the coming months. Initially, the system would use HP’s first generation PC VR headset. A second generation HP headset would supplant it in the coming months, according to the company.

    The stages will be brightly lit to assist with the on-board inside-out positional tracking provided by Microsoft’s Windows-based system. In the video below you can see how the Windows controller is attached to Zero Latency’s gun accessory for tracking.

    Marrying Microsoft’s tracking system with Zero Latency’s software and services may be a pretty compelling combination. Technically speaking, Ruse said they see nothing blocking them from deploying their existing software and services on the new hardware with each player providing their own tracking and movements synced up between them over the local network.

    Zero Latency’s 1st generation system already includes alerts to let you know when you’re approaching an actual

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  • SYFY To Debut Multi-Narrative VR/AR Experience At SXSW

    ‘Eleven Eleven’ offers a front row seat to the extinction of the human race. I love the SYFY channel. Very few networks are willing to take a chance on bold, sometimes questionable storytelling the way this offbeat sci-fi, horror, fantasy-focused entertainment provider has. Sometimes, this mean praise-worthy content, such as The Expanse; other times, it

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  • Over 30 Immersive Experiences to Debut at the Tribeca Film Festival They'll be shown as part of Tribeca Immersive.
  • This VR Archery Demo Uses Vive Trackers For Realistic Handling
    This VR Archery Demo Uses Vive Trackers For Realistic Handling

    This VR archery demo uses HTC's Vive Trackers to bring a real bow and arrow into VR. The aim is to bring more realistic handling into VR.

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  • Don’t Miss Out On These Awesome Humble Bundle VR Deals

    Pick up some of the biggest titles in VR for up to 85% off. Humble Bundle–the popular digital storefront for video game software, books, and comics–is constantly dropping massive discounts on some incredible entertainment content. Whether it be their stellar monthly subscription service, or their weekly sales where users can choose their own price for

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  • Oculus Unity Plugin Adds Windows MR Support Via SteamVR
    rift windows mr unity

    Developers of Oculus Rift games made with the Oculus Unity plugin can now add Windows MR headset support with their existing code.

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  • Corsair’s Curse Is A VR Arcade Adventure From A Fisherman’s Tale Dev
    Corsair's Curse Arcade

    A Fisherman’s Tale developer Innerspace VR is back with a brand new title. What, already? Well, Corsair’s Curse is likely a little different to what you’re expecting.

    Rather than a direct follow-up to its January release, Corsair’s Curse is a VR arcade title. Today, Arizona Sunshine creator Vertigo Games announced that it would be distributing the game through its own arcade platform in spring 2019. Vertigo also published A Fisherman’s Tale at the beginning of the year.

    Corsair’s Curse is designed for two to four players. Participants can physically walk around a large open area as they work together in VR. It features a lot of traditional escape room-style puzzle solving, though it also borrows from A Fisherman’s Tale a little. Some players, for example, will be much bigger than others, requiring new approaches to puzzle solving. You can see the announcement trailer for the experience above.

    Vertigo Arcades was launched last year as a means of bringing VR hardware and software to locations around the world. Currently the platform features a content launcher named the VR Arcade Suite. It provides developers with the tools to easily integrate arcade-specific features like new tracking systems and mixed reality functionality into their games. The company also launched a location-based version of Arizona Sunshine through the Arcades division.

    Corsair’s Curse, meanwhile, is set to be on show at GDC later this month. We’ll be interested to check it out; A Fisherman’s Tale is one of our favorite VR games of the year so far and its puzzles in particular are something special.

    Tagged with: Corsair's Curse, Vertigo Arcades

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  • Nreal’s Promise Of True AR Sunglasses Could Be The Real Deal
    Nreal’s Promise Of True AR Sunglasses Could Be The Real Deal

    I’ve learned to be weary of sunglasses. Not because I doubt their ability to keep me from going blind on sunny days, but because of AR. An AR headset that resembles a pair of light specs is the holy grail of immersive design. But an exhaustive number of companies are now billing sunglasses with simple 2D overlays as ‘AR’. Nreal Light, however, might finally be the real deal. Or at least as close as we’ll get for now.

    I got a quick look at the Light at MWC last week. It’s a little like a slimmer Magic Leap, with a headset design almost indistinguishable from a real pair of sunglasses. The trick, though, is that the headset gets its compute power from the smartphone in your pocket. Well, that is if you have a smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip. Otherwise, the kit can be powered by a computing unit with an 845 chip.

    The concept is sound, though smartphone-based VR never really proved to be the market-maker some hoped it was. You’d forgive me for being somewhat hesitant to put the kit on, then. But in the end I was pleasantly surprised with the Nreal Light.

    My first demo was a classic AR use-case; the virtual screen. A wide-angle football game captured by NextVR hovered in front of me. The Light’s lenses produced a sharp, clear image. The Qualcomm booth showing the gear was tiny, so it was hard to get the entire display into Light’s 52 degree field of view.

    That said, tracking was solid (demos were notably directed toward a booth wall and not the busy show floor). I walked up to the screen and leaned in then backed as far away as I could without any noticeable blips in screen placement. I’m still not convinced I’d rather watch something in AR than real life, but this made a good case for it.

    The next showcase was even more promising, though. I saw a quick slideshow of 3D sequences from dancers performing a routine to warriors battling out. Again, it all looked sharp and boasted solid tracking. My heart was really stolen by a closing demo of a kitten walking around on the floor, though. I crouched down to get a closer look as it stared back up at me. Though I knew my feline friend wasn’t really there, I couldn’t help but reach out to pretend to pet it. It was one of the most compelling AR moments I’ve had.

    Perhaps the most noticeable part of the demo, though, was how comfortable this all felt. Nreal Light is slightly bulkier than a real pair of sunglasses but, at 85g, it was still much lighter than any other AR headset I’ve tried. The wire connecting the glasses to your phone seamlessly runs from the end of one of the temples, much like an earphone wire. Sure, they’re not ‘true’ sunglasses but I could easily see myself tucking the wire under my shirt to use the headset for a few hours. It’s a more

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  • Sci-Fi Novel Series Star Force Is Being Turned Into A VR FPS For Rift, Vive And Quest
    Sci-Fi Novel Series Star Force Is Being Turned Into A VR FPS For Rift, Vive And Quest

    B.V. Larson’s long-running series of sci-fi novels, Star Force, is leaping out of pages and into VR headsets this year.

    New York-based Cemtrex today announced that it’s developing a VR adaptation of Larson’s series. Star Force is a set in a distant future in which humanity faces extinction via alien invasion. Sounds about par for the course for a VR game. In total, it’s comprised of 12 novels.

    For the VR adaptation, Cemtrex is turning Star Force into a first-person shooter. The game will adapt the first novel in the series, Swarm. Other than that, there’s no much else to say right now.

    Cemtrex is expecting to launch a Beta version of the game this summer. The full release will follow later on in the year. It’s due to launch on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive but the developer also plans to launch it on Oculus Quest.

    In a prepared statement, Cemtrex CEO Saagar Govil explained that the studio was putting its other VR game, Ultra85, on hold for now. “We have put many of our resources that were allocated and assets developed for the previously announced Ultra85 into this game not only to expedite the Star Force release, but also to ensure we provide the best experience possible for VR gamers and Star Force’s loyal fanbase alike,” he said.

    For Cemtrex, it’s the next step into the VR gaming market. Nearly a year ago to the day we reported that the developer was working on an AR app to aid the assembly line. Then, in September 2018, it launched an Oculud Go game named Quazar.

    Tagged with: Cemtrex, Star Force

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  • How low-end VR Offerings are Damaging the Health of the Ecosystem Guest writer Joel Khalili returns to examine how cheap VR might not be the answer the industry is looking for.
  • Bonfire Is The Next VR Movie From Baobab, Starring Ali Wong
    Bonfire Baobab VR Movie

    Crow: The Legend and Invasion! creator Baobab Studios is back with its next project. Bonfire stars stand-up comic and actor, Ali Wong.

    The studio announced its latest project earlier this week. According to a press release, Bonfire is an “absurd alien adventure”. That immediately recalls the studio’s second movie, Asteroids!, though the two don’t sound connected. In the film, viewers embody Space Scout 817. They’re sent on a mission to find a new planet for humans to inhabit. They crash land on an unknown planet and set about building a bonfire. Wong plays Debbie, a robot sidekick and your guide to this new world.

    It’s an interactive piece. Boabab says you’ll have the chance to explore and influence the world around you. The studio also promises the chance to build relationships with new characters and, ultimately, make a tough choice between duty and conscience.  Perhaps more interestingly, the studio says Bonfire pushes its technical limits. The piece uses real-time rendering and AI to give viewers a leading role. We’ll be interested to see how the team goes about building interactivity into this one.

    We’re always excited to see what’s next from Boabab. The Crow was one of our first VR experience reviews to earn a ‘Must See’ rating. Invasion! and Asteroids!, meanwhile, gave us our first glimpse at Pixar-like experiences in VR.

    Bonfire is directed by Eric Darnell, co-founder of Baobab and co-director of the Madagascar series. Boabab didn’t announce a release date. We suspect you’ll see it on festival circuits before you see it inside headsets.

    Tagged with: Ali Wong, baobab, Bonfire

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  • New ‘Vacation Simulator’ Destinations, Launch Date Announced

    Take a closer look at the four fully-interactable locales available April 9th. Ever since our brief interaction with Vacation Simulator during last years Tribeca Film Festival, we’ve been clawing at the chance to get our hands on the endlessly-charming follow-up to Owlchemy Labs 2016 smash hit, Job Simulator. Just a brief, 10-minute demo was more

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  • Dreamscape’s The Blu: Deep Rescue Is a Tranquil VR Experience
    Dreamscape The Blu

    Check out our hands-on feature of Dreamscape Immersive's The Blu: Deep Rescue.

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