• Beat Saber’s First Paid Music Pack DLC Coming In March
    Beat Saber’s First Paid Music Pack DLC Coming In March

    Beat Saber announced today that the first paid DLC Music Pack will be releasing in March for both PSVR and PC versions of the game.

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  • Oculus Rift S Onboard Cameras Could Support Finger Tracking In Future
    f8 2018 finger tracking

    Comments made by Oculus CTO John Carmack at Oculus Connect 5 and Twitter suggest that the upcoming Oculus Rift S cameras could support finger tracking.

    To be clear, this doesn’t mean the software to do so would be ready by the time Rift S launches. But it does mean the headset could one day recieve the feature as a software update in future- the cameras are seemingly suitable.

    Rift S Onboard Cameras

    Rift S was first revealed in a TechCrunch report in October. The report revealed the headset would be an iterative update, increasing resolution and changing to the same inside-out tracking system as the upcoming Oculus Quest.

    Earlier this month we confirmed the TechCrunch report by discovering references in the Oculus PC software code to a ‘Rift S’ with onboard cameras.

    Carmack’s Comments

    During 2018’s Oculus Connect 5 conference, Oculus CTO John Carmack briefly spoke about a project to bring finger tracking to Oculus Quest:

    This seemed to suggest that the main limitation for finger tracking on the headset was the power & compute limitations of the mobile platform. He stated that Quest can be used as a platform to research finger tracking for future headsets with “the power and ability to do real time”.

    The TechCrunch report and our findings suggest that Rift S will feature the same Insight cameras as Quest. So given the enormous relative power of a PC, shouldn’t Rift S be capable of finger tracking?

    To verify we weren’t misunderstanding his comments, we reached out to Carmack on Twitter. Here’s how he responded:

    Carmack doubled down on stressing the power limitations of mobile as the main barrier. When asked about the featue in regards to PC, he confirmed it was possible. Requiring a reserved CPU core or two rules out this tech being usable in CPU-intensive apps. But it would be entirely possible for developers of apps suiting finger tracking to optimize for this limitation.

    These comments aren’t indicative of the feature actually being available at launch- or ever. But what they do suggest is that the camera hardware is suitable and PCs are capable.

    A Long Researched, Challenging Feature

    The first indication of Facebook’s interest in finger tracking for VR was revealed in late 2014. The company acquired startup Nimble VR, composed of four veterans of hand tracking technology. But upon this acquisition, Oculus was clear that this tecnology “may not even be used in the CV2 or CV3”.

    That’s likely because Nimble’s tech wasn’t just software, but a dedicated depth camera. Depth cameras deliver excellent finger tracking such as that found in the new HoloLens 2 AR headset. But the high end solutions are costly and the low end ones are bulky and relatively heavy, adding weight at the worst possible area of a headset (directly in front).

    Delivering high quality finger tracking on regular cameras is an entirely different level of challenge. However, if it can be done it allows finger tracking to be added at no extra hardware cost to headsets which already use cameras for other tracking.

    In 2016 at Oculus Connect 3, Chief Scientist

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  • The XR Attention Lab Takes Body Language To A Whole New Level

    Biometric algorithms enable your body to speak through immersive technology. Is this the next phase of human-machine integration? “It’s pretty common knowledge that body language plays a big role in how we communicate in real-life, and the fact is that behavioral studies have been validating the correlation between the body and mind for decades.” explains

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  • Impressive Looking VR Dungeon Crawler The Morrigan is coming to Steam Early Access in March It'll support both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
  • This Batman Experience Showed Me A True Mixed Reality
    Batman Mixed Reality Intel USC Scarecrow

    I really don’t like saying ‘mixed reality’. In my opinion, it’s a term that needlessly confuses two similar but separate technologies – VR and AR. HoloLens isn’t an MR headset, it’s an AR headset. Windows’ MR-based VR headsets are really just that, VR headsets. But at MWC this week I saw a glimpse of true mixed reality; something that combined both VR and AR.

    That would be Intel and the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Batman experience. This was a small slice of a wider experience built with help from AT&T, Ericsson and Warner Bros.. It was running off a wireless HTC Vive Pro as one of the many 5G showcases at the show. You can see pretty much the entire piece in action in the video below.

    It’s a piece of, quite literally, two halves. Look to one side and you’ll see the real world, as captured through Vive Pro’s cameras. Bat-baddy Scarecrow appears in front of you and litters the environment with spiders. Then he steps over to the other side, a fully-rendered VR environment where he does battle with Batman. Nothing about the AR or VR portions was separately special. But, combined together, they made for something intriguing.

    Again, this was just a slice of the main experience and the demo conditions weren’t perfect. I couldn’t hear what was being said over the noise of the show floor and the right earphone wasn’t working. Not to mention that it was weird to see Batman and Scarecrow fighting from one angle only to turn around and see MWC carrying on with little care.

    Still, it set my mind ablaze with possibilities for true mixed reality experiences. Imagine theatrical performances where you’d see real actors interact with virtual characters or games where the consequences of the virtual world spilled out into ours. You’d need conditions far more controlled than this, but the potential is definitely there.

    This felt more like a proof of concept; a technological achievement more than a creative one. But the truth of the matter is that VR headsets aren’t that great at doing AR (yet) and AR headsets aren’t very good at VR (yet). Until the pair inevitably merge, experiences such as this will remain decisively experimental.

    Tagged with: Batman, Intel, mixed reality, USC School of Cinematic Arts

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  • HTC Teases Cloud-Based VR With New 5G Hub

    Could 5G streaming be the future of VR entertainment? With the 2019 Mobile World Congress currently underway in Barcelona, Spain, HTC has been busying themselves with a slew of exciting announcements and demonstrations ranging from a smartphone aimed at cryptocurrency fanatics, to their HTC Vive Focus Plus VR headset. Yesterday, the company used MWC’s stage

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  • Review: PlanTechtor A wave shooter whose wave is more of a ripple.
  • Microsoft Hosting Mixed Reality Dev Days For HoloLens 2 Developers
    HoloLens 2 MWC hands-on

    We’ve tried HoloLens 2 and we kind of love it. In a few months’ time, Microsoft will let even more people test it out.

    The company this week announced Mixed Reality Dev Days. Mixed reality is Microsoft’s semi-confusing term the covers everything from HoloLens to its VR headsets made with partners. Running on May 2nd and 3rd 2019, this event will welcome developers to Microsoft’s Redmond Campus. There they’ll get hands-on time with HoloLens 2 along with other MWC announcements like Azure mixed reality services, Azure Kinect Developer Kit and, in the company’s words, “more”.

    The event will be feedback-focused, Microsoft is looking for impressions on its latest offerings and ideas on how to improve them.

    Interestingly, the show takes place just a few days before Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference kicks off. We’d expect to see more MR updates at the show. We’ll also be interested to see if Microsoft has anything else to share on the MR front at GDC next month.

    Tickets to the Dev Days won’t be free but pricing hasn’t been announced just yet. You can sign up to the company’s developer program to get an alert for when the invites go out.

    HoloLens 2 is set to come out later this year. The AR headset improves upon the original device with a bigger field of view, improved interaction and better design. When I tried it at MWC this week I found one of the first AR headsets I could actually see myself using on a day-to-day basis. It’s an enterprise-level device (starting at $3,500) so not something that game developers will be looking to embrace.

    Tagged with: HoloLens 2, microsoft, mixed reality

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  • Cyan’s Upcoming Surreal Adventure ZED Receives new Trailer Ahead of Spring Release It'll support both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
  • Undead Citadel Promises Stunning VR Visuals In Latest Trailer
    Undead Citadel Promises Stunning VR Visuals In Latest Trailer

    Undead Citadel first caught our attention late last year. It’s a VR zombie-slaying game from Dark Curry (still a great name) that looks visually astonishing. That remains the case in this new minute-long clip.

    Players make their way through a gorgeous medieval setting, dismembering zombies and locking blades with skeletons. Swords and axes are at the ready as is that most trusted of VR weapons, the bow and arrow. This trailer also sees the debut of a shield and throwable explosives.

    Of course, the jury’s still out on if these visuals are truly the real deal. It all looks a little too good, doesn’t it? Plus, inside headsets, visual quality is somewhat distorted by the screen door effect.

    Combat still looks promising, though. Dark Curry says the game runs on a “hybrid physics-driven combat system.” You can see it in the hefty axe swings that cause skulls to explode and the way enemies react to arrows. We’re still looking for what will really separate this from the other 100 VR zombie games out there, though. We’ll need to get our hands on it to find out.

    There’s still a lot to learn about Undead Citadel. The previous teaser trailer suggested the game would have some sort of story-based progression. The end of this footage also confirms there are bigger, tougher enemies ahead.

    Undead Citadel is due for release on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Windows Mixed Reality later this year. No specific release window has been announced but the developer says it’ll be out “when it’s perfect”. Ambitious.

    Tagged with: Undead Citadel

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  • Tokyo Chronos’ Latest Trailer Features Protagonist Kyosuke Sakurai The mystery novel experience is still scheduled to arrive next month.
  • Kingdom Hearts VR Release Date Revealed For Europe
    Kingdom Hearts VR Release Date Revealed For Europe

    Your Kingdom Hearts adventures aren’t done yet. Well, that is if you have a PSVR headset.

    Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts VR Experience finally launches in Europe on February 28th (tomorrow!). That is according to a PlayStation Blog listing. It’s exclusive to PSVR, so don’t expect a PC release. It previously hit Japan last month. We don’t yet know if it’s also coming to the US this week, but it’s a good bet that it does. It’ll be free to download. Take a look at some gameplay we recorded below.

    Kingdom Hearts VR offers a highlight reel of the series’ history in VR. You visit some of the more memorable scenes from past games as if you were Sora himself. We tried it out in Japanese last month and it was kind of terrifying. Meeting Goofy and Donald Duck in VR isn’t as magical as you might expect when they’re speaking a language you don’t quite understand.

    Scenes are also accompanied by musical performances which are neat, if not entirely memorable. All-in-all it’s not the most astonishing use of VR but I’m sure series fans will get a kick out of it.

    The Japanese version of the app actually launched with a few levels still missing. We don’t know if this version will feature those levels or if they’re coming later down the line. In a trailer released last year we did see users wielding the Keyblade for themselves, but neither of the existing scenes let you do that. Hopefully these upcoming scenes will include that feature.

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  • MWM Immersive Brings Live VR Theatre Experience Chained: A Victorian Nightmare to New York But it's only there for one month.
  • Zed Is An Atmospheric VR Adventure Published By Cyan, Creators of Myst
    zed main title image cyan

    The creators of Myst, Riven, and VR adventure Obduction are back with a new publishing arm at their company to debut Zed.

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  • Mattel Experiments With Mixed Reality Toy Design

    Mattel uses top tech from Spatial and HoloLens to accelerate play innovation. This week thousands of people descended on Barcelona, Spain for Mobile World Congress where Microsoft has already unveiled the HoloLens 2, the next generation of Microsoft mixed reality. It features a larger field-of-view, more comfort, and industry leading value right out of the

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