Oculus Quest Shortage Is A Good Sign For VR

Industry insiders weigh in on the potential impact of the standalone headset.

Facebook’s standalone 6DOF headset, Oculus Quest hit retail stores on May 21st, and in just one week after launch, the VR headset was listed as sold out at many U.S. retailers such as Walmart, Amazon and Newegg, suggesting that VR is finally catching on with consumers.

So, what is about this iteration of the VR headset that is getting consumers outside of the VR industry all hyped up about VR? Devices such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and the Oculus Go all deliver a great VR experience, but neither of those devices really caught on and generated the excitement that the Oculus Quest has.

Is it a case of being in the right place at the right time? Or is it because VR has simply become easier to use and has become more affordable.

YouTuber Nathie told VRScout that – in his opinion – “the Quest shows the first glimpses of VR heading towards the tipping point of it going mainstream.”

He’s correct in that. Facebook’s Oculus Quest is shaping up to be one of the first popular VR headsets among average consumers; this is due in large part to their decision to abandon the intimidating complexities of high-end PC VR in favor of a more simplistic, but approachable experience.

Through a simple Facebook search, you’ll find multiple pages dedicated to VR, AR, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive and countless other VR and AR devices, all created by enthusiasts from all over the world, with people posting personal stories of how VR is changing their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Image Credit: Navah Berg

Douglas Dominguez, a plumber from Hampton, GA who is part of a Facebook Oculus Quest group, shared a Facebook post about a gentleman he knows who is confined to a wheelchair. In the embedded video, you can see the individual experiencing VR for the very first time, wearing Dominguez’s brand-new Oculus Quest to try an immersive experience where you are floating off into space in a weather balloon.

Dominguez writes, “His wife was so excited to see his reaction and immediately asked me for more info on the product and how to get one. She thanked me so much for introducing them to a product that will definitely improve his life.” Dominguez adds, “This is what the Quest is about, being able to offer a quality VR experience to people on the fly with no strings attached is a game changer.”

Its stories like this that seem to resonate with consumers and will ultimately help push the idea of VR as an everyday tool; whether it be in the classroom, on the job site, or in any other field.

Image Credit: Oculus

During a recent trip to my local Best Buy – where they still have a limited amount of Quests in inventory – I met a woman who was buying an Oculus Quest for her daughter as a high school graduation gift. She told me, “I just thought it would be a really cool gift for her to take to college. My daughter talks about how she’s going to miss the VR lab in her HS, and this way she can take it with her to college. But I also bought it for a selfish reason. I heard that my daughter and I can hang out in virtual reality together.” It was at that point that the woman realized she was going to have to buy a second one.

There is no doubt that 2019 is shaping up to be one of the most important years for the industry. Businesses, as well as consumers, are realizing the potential the technology has outside of the gaming world, sparking a new wave of hype, as made evident by recent sales.

As reported, if you are attempting to purchase an Oculus Quest on sites such as Amazon, Walmart or Newegg, you may be told that it could be one or two months before you a package delivered to your front door.

Image Credit: Mike McCready

Talking with VRScout, Mike McCready, Instructor in the Virtual and Augmented Reality Certification program at Lethbridge College said, “Personally, I think the shortage is a sign of the resurgence in consumer adoption of VR,” adding, “We were in a bit of a lull, but I think the Quest is going to re-energize interest and excitement in VR.”

Cas and Chary, a pair of passionate VR YouTubers, see the success of the Quest the same way as Dominguez, telling VRScout that the success is due to the price and its ease of use. You can put on the headset almost anywhere you want and start enjoying PC VR-like experiences (6DOF) right away.

Facebook Spaces pioneer and Social XR professional, Navah Berg also believes the success of the Quest with consumers stems from its ease of use. “You don’t need to know anything about VR to go from room to room!” For Berg, the appeal comes from the freedom to play anywhere without the headache of setting up; which, in her view, is the most important factor for consumers at the moment.

In an interview with VRScout, UX Researcher, Nick Dauchot said portability and content are playing big roles in the Quests success, but the most important element is its design. “I am a personal believer that when design is done right, the market follows,” said Dauchot. “Real reviews, advertisements, and general hype about the awesomeness of the Quest definitely helped build up confidence in the market.”

As for going more mainstream, Dauchot says it’s in the cards, stating that the portability and price of the device surely improve the breadth and scope of VR technology. However, we’re not totally there just yet. In Dauchot’s mind, it’s a cultural issue, stating, “Asking people to put a computer on their face is a very polarizing thing – some will enthusiastically accept it, others will never do it.”

Image Credit: Oculus

There is still a lot of work ahead, according to Dauchot. Industry professionals need to better communicate why VR is such as revolutionary technology for fields such as communication, health, gaming, design, education, etc; especially when compared to the technology they are using now. The future is dependent on how people use the Quest and what stories the technology can help tell – and therein lies the challenge.

For now, the VR industry appears to have scored a big victory with the commercial success of the Oculus Quest. It may not be selling like the Elsa doll did in 2014, but in relation to the past sales of other headsets, it’s making some big waves.

Time will tell if the Oculus Quest continues to generate hype over the coming months, including the upcoming Christmas shopping season, which is only 5 months away. Yes.. just 5 MONTHS AWAY!

The post Oculus Quest Shortage Is A Good Sign For VR appeared first on VRScout.

Here’s How Apple’s AR Headset Will Likely Be Introduced — And When

Here’s How Apple’s AR Headset Will Likely Be Introduced — And When

Apple has been working on an augmented reality headset for years. The company hasn’t explicitly confirmed the project, but between hiring AR hardware-specific personnel, filing numerous AR patents, buying AR startups, naming an AR marketing director, and teasing future steps beyond its ARKit software, iGlasses are effectively an “open secret,” just waiting to be unveiled.

Of course, no one knows exactly how and when that will happen. Apple’s black box approach to development means that the specifics are still mysterious, so its iGlasses (or Apple Glasses, or whatever they’re ultimately called) could be nearly ready for production — or a year away. Some of the earliest and best-sourced reports established a late 2019/early 2020 timetable for the rollout.

That suggests that we’re getting close to the official reveal date. It might even come at next week’s WWDC, and I’ve heard whispers that Apple was considering that possibility. As I’ll explain below, however, that would break somewhat with tradition, and it’s best not to get your hopes up for a big reveal right away. Putting the specific timing aside for a moment, here’s how the product is most likely to be introduced.

Expect a preview well ahead of its public release

If you think back to every major Apple “new category” introduction over the past dozen years — iPhone, Apple TV, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod — their common thread is a substantial gap between initial announcement and actual in-store availability. Specifically:

  • iPhone was announced January 9, 2007 and released on June 29, 2007.
  • Apple TV was previewed (as iTV) on September 12, 2006 and released March 21, 2007.
  • iPad was announced January 27, 2010 and released on April 3, 2010.
  • Apple Watch was revealed on September 9, 2014 and released on April 24, 2015.
  • HomePod was introduced June 5, 2017 (WWDC) for a promised December 2017 launch, but ultimately released February 9, 2018.

Apple needs these gaps for several reasons: to win FCC and related regulatory approvals, to finalize manufacturing and marketing plans, and to work out last-minute issues with anything from laggard components to software and distribution channels. Even former Apple CEO Steve Jobs — arguably the strongest proponent of announcements ending with “in stores now” — yielded to these realities for Apple’s first-of-kind product launches, specifically acknowledging the “sneak peek” as a way to avoid leaks that would just happen with regulatory approvals.

For that reason, you can be certain that there will be an official sneak peek of the new AR product months before it hits stores. That gap will also conveniently give everyone plenty of time to make peace with the first model’s sure-to-be-controversial limitations, such as battery life and pricing.

Will the preview happen at WWDC?

One critical question could determine when Apple reveals its AR hardware: Will it be a brand new, standalone computing platform, or just an iPhone accessory?

If the device is a standalone computing platform, akin to Microsoft’s HoloLens or Magic Leap One, Apple will need to share a ton of new information with developers to get them on board early. In theory, there’s no better place to do that than WWDC. If it’s just an iPhone accessory, the reveal could be at any time — WWDC, the inevitable iPhone event in September, or later, depending on how close the hardware is to being finished.

Note from the dates above, however, that Apple generally doesn’t unveil major new products at WWDC; HomePod was an exception. Part of that’s for historic reasons: When Jobs was boss, Apple used to offer regular January keynotes and unpredictably call the media out to one-off events at will. But in the Tim Cook era, there’s been a more predictable cadence for product announcements, placing emphasis on March, June, and September events, with the occasional exception.

In a year when there’s a lot of important OS-level news for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, such as cross-platform iOS/macOS development or a new Watch App Store, Apple might be especially unwilling to distract its developers’ attention from those initiatives. Revealing a new AR headset would be a huge distraction.

On the other hand, there’s little question that augmented reality will be a part of the WWDC presentation on the software side — that was pretty much the only new selling point for the just-announced seventh-generation iPod touch. It would also be both a natural and exciting segue for the attendees, as well as the millions of people who watch Apple’s events.

Based on recent reporting, the most likely scenario is that the headset will be an iPhone accessory, akin to the Apple Watch, which means that developers (and Apple) won’t have to do deep dives on a completely new AR-specific platform. There will still be plenty to learn about how the headset works and how developers will be able to add support for it to existing iPhone apps, but third-party support wouldn’t be as critical on day one. That makes a September unveiling, like the Apple Watch, at least as likely as WWDC, if not considerably more so.

What will the preview be like?

If the past is any guide, Apple will want to give the iGlasses a significant spotlight — probably more than the 15 minutes that HomePod received at the end of 2017’s WWDC keynote. The September 2014 Apple Watch preview took 45 minutes, and there’s every reason to think Apple would want that much time to explain and demonstrate new AR hardware, which will arguably be a harder sell than a smartwatch.

When Apple wanted to build excitement for the Watch, it structured the reveal event strategically. Coming an hour into the September event as “One More Thing,” it:

  • Started with a memorable design reveal video to get everyone intrigued,
  • Continued with Cook wearing an actual Watch onstage as he offered a big picture look at the device’s functionality and “breakthrough” user interface,
  • Moved into a Jony Ive video talking about design and features,
  • Spent a lot of time on a Kevin Lynch deeper dive software demo,
  • Used another video to discuss health and activity features, and
  • Ended with a discussion of market size and a general on-sale date (“early 2015”).

You can expect a very similar strategy for Apple’s AR headset. The company will want to show off its design chops — most notably miniaturizing the functionality into something that looks far more like regular glasses than, say, Google Glassor HoloLens — as well as explaining the big reason for the project’s existence and showing off some of the cool things it can do. There will be an on-stage demo of its functionality, accompanied by videos of how it will be useful in a range of daily and specialized situations that just might change the world.

And while there will be a general release timetable, it won’t likely be as narrow as a specific date, and there may not be any discussion of the price. It’s worth mentioning that Apple’s specific dates for sneak peek products have a tendency to slip at least a little (see: Apple TV, HomePod, and AirPower), so it tries to leave the dates ambiguous until it’s very close to actually shipping products.

If I was guessing, the iGlasses reveal will happen later this year, not next week, but anything’s possible. WWDC 2019 is going to be interesting regardless of what’s shown and held back, so tune in for our live coverage from San Jose on Monday.

This post by Jeremy Horowitz originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

Tagged with:

The post Here’s How Apple’s AR Headset Will Likely Be Introduced — And When appeared first on UploadVR.

The VR Job Hub: Funomena, Zerolight & More

Looking for a change of direction in your career or are simply so excited about the possibilities of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) that you want to join in the fun? Well then, VRFocus might just have a few jobs available to help make that yearning a reality.

Location Company Role Link
San Francisco, CA Funomena Lead Programmer Click Here to Apply
Northampton, UK Engine Creative Senior Unity/AR/VR/Game Developer Click Here to Apply
London, UK VeloCloud Senior AR/VR UI Developer Click Here to Apply
Aberdeen, UK Robert Gordon University Research Assistant – Virtual and Augmented Reality for Cultural Heritage Click Here to Apply
Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK ZeroLight Design Director Click Here to Apply
Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK ZeroLight Senior Software Engineer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK ZeroLight Tools Engineer Click Here to Apply
Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK ZeroLight Director of Business Development Click Here to Apply
Detroit, US ZeroLight Technical Project Manager Click Here to Apply

Don’t forget, if there wasn’t anything that took your fancy this week there’s always last week’s listings on The VR Job Hub to check as well.

If you are an employer looking for someone to fill an immersive technology related role – regardless of the industry – don’t forget you can send us the lowdown on the position and we’ll be sure to feature it in that following week’s feature. Details should be sent to Peter Graham (pgraham@vrfocus.com).

We’ll see you next week on VRFocus at the usual time of 3PM (UK) for another selection of jobs from around the world.

Nintendo Adds VR Support To Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The hit crossover fighting game is the latest to receive Labo VR support.

Despite enjoying playing sports myself, I’ll be the first one to admit that I was never fond of watching them on TV. Neither one of my parents regularly “put the game on,” and the only sporting events I ever attended were on camp field trips (where I would wear the colors of whatever team was expected to win). As a gamer, that lack of interest would eventually lead to watching various Twitch streams and MOBA esports events. But even those weren’t enough to satisfy my needs as an esports spectator—I wanted to play, not just watch. On May 30th, Nintendo released an update for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that changed my mind.

Update Version 3.1.0, while providing a number of new features, adds VR support to the platform’s most beloved brawler. A little more than a month old, Nintendo’s launch of the Labo VR kit subverted expectations. Taking a page out of Google’s playbook, they combined their Labo line of cardboard-based interactive products with cutting edge immersive technology. 

While the Labo VR games designed from the ground up with VR in mind work well and show off Nintendo’s unorthodox approach to play, existing titles that were updated to support VR have received mixed reviews. Though the company is clearly aware of its past history with VR, gaming outlets slammed the VR additions to the platform’s strongest titles: Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. While Super Mario Odyssey supported custom VR levels that appeared too far away from the player—due in large part to the platform’s 3DoF technology—VR support for the entire Breath Of The Wild campaign shined a light on the Switch’s rendering limitations.

Image Credit: Nintendo

That being said, the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate update got me thinking: would adding VR to esports change the viewing experience? Watching and rewatching Nintendo’s announcement video answered this question with a resounding yes. Despite using 3D models, Super Smash Bros. has always been viewed from a fixed camera angle utilizing a form of projection that provides a sense of depth. This latest update changes the game by allowing players to view the action from a variety of unique angles.

Whether it’s staring up at a looming skyscraper, watching combatants balance on the edge of a small monoplane as scenery whips by, or wincing as four heroes precariously trade blows on the top of a monumental tower, every fight in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is elevated by the sense of scale and immersion that VR provides. While it’s no question that Nintendo has a lot to work out with regard to its VR titles, they do function well as a sort of proof-of-concept for passive VR viewership of third-person games.

Image Credit: Nintendo

Since the early 2010’s, the popularity of esports has grown rapidly. Now, international teams and players are signed and traded like other professional athletes, receiving a salary with benefits and competing in major competitions for millions of dollars. Twitch streamers have become wealthy from providing viewers a window into their gaming exploits, and companies like Blizzard have begun opening dedicated esports arenas with wall-to-wall screens. 

But where does this leave the average viewer who lacks the ability to attend an event in-person? Most are forced to watch these grand battles from their phones or computers, held back from being fully immersed in the emotional rollercoaster that comes with the rivalries, showdowns, and everything else that has driven the human species to play games of skill. Even I, someone who actively avoids situations where I would be forced to watch sports, find enjoyment in attending competitive gaming events in-person. Now, VR is stepping up to provide that same feeling to those viewing remotely.

Image Credit: Nintendo

Imagine pulling up a bowl of popcorn, donning your Oculus Quest headset, and being immediately transported into an overhead view of a MOBA arena for a match-up between your two favorite teams. Four avatars float nearby, each one a member of your friend group that is viewing remotely, enjoying an instanced copy of the game that allows you to talk and jeer in a private audio channel. This would be an incredibly immersive way to enjoy your favorite game remotely in a social environment, just like going to an actual stadium.

The same could eventually be done for streaming console or computer games—developers could include a 3D camera mechanism to follow key players and provide the viewers with an immersive recording of their individual gameplay. New practices would have to be established to guide spectator attention in the same way that current esports productions do, but once made, they could open up a whole new way for people to connect with the content and competitors they love.

The immersive nature of the medium may also increase the watchability of games that are normally hard to enjoy via 2D streaming, such as certain strategy or RTS titles. Valve attempted to address this issue back in 2016 with its Dota 2 VR Spectator Mode, but since then the concept has been largely ignored. Of course, the potential use-cases don’t just stop at esports.

Image Credit: Nintendo

3D character artist and VR enthusiast Liz Edwards found a way to use applications such as OVRdrop—a tool that mirrors desktop windows and webcams over SteamVR games—to layer her onto different immersive experiences.

Whether she’s pulling directly from the inspiration around her, or just enjoying the ambiance of being in-game while she’s working, Liz shows us how productivity doesn’t need to stop just because you’re in VR (even if things do get scary sometimes).  

As pass-through functionality and new technologies like Varjo’s XR-1 dual VR/AR headset continue to advance, it will eventually be possible to bring entire rooms with you into virtual game spaces, allowing you to move around your environment uninterrupted while still enjoying your favorite content. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing Ness spam PK Fire in VR. Time to make some s’mores. 

The post Nintendo Adds VR Support To Super Smash Bros. Ultimate appeared first on VRScout.

The DeanBeat: The Building Blocks Of Better AR/VR At Augmented World Expo

The DeanBeat: The Building Blocks Of Better AR/VR At Augmented World Expo

Most of the tech at the Augmented World Expo 2019 event wasn’t about games. But it was still intriguing for me to see the technologies that are coming together that will lead to the next-generation augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality technologies.

Some people have given up on these technologies as the path toward the games of the future. But while consumer VR doesn’t have the best adoption curve, it is moving along at the same rate that society adopted color television, said Stephanie Llamas, an analyst at market researcher SuperData Research.

Above: VR is growing as fast as color TV did.

That growth rate is a lot slower than what everybody expected, during the past couple of years of overhyped mania. But it is fast enough to enable the basic technology and the companies creating it to survive and continue to the next generation.

Above: Varjo’s XR-1 headset lets you drive with AR viewing.

Image Credit: Varjo

If these technologies can find early adopter markets, the companies may be able to last long enough so that they finally deliver on the promise. At AWE, I was happy to see some of that potential as the show at the Santa Clara Convention Center was bigger than ever. Enterprises are beginning to adopt and embrace these technologies, as I saw with Volvo’s investment in AR/VR headset maker Varjo.

Above: PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

I met with Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC, the provider of the AR platform Vuforia, at AWE. He said his company’s AR revenues are about 7% of the total, and it’s growing about 90 percent a year, thanks to enterprise AR adoption for things like training and field work. That growth rate is enough to deliver 6% growth per year to the larger corporation, and it is enough to keep investing in AR.

If big companies like PTC and their big customers in the enterprise carry the torch, then we will see a market for things like Varjo’s amazing XR-1 AR technology, which the company is trying to polish so that an AR headset can be worn while driving a car. The resolution of the headset displays is much better than what is in the market today in the form of Oculus or HTC Vive VR headsets. It has two 12-megapixel cameras that can create images with a resolution of more than 4K per eye.

An enterprise might pay something like $6,000 for this kind of tech. But you can’t sell it to consumers until it costs $300. It takes a lot of spins of Moore’s Law to get to that lower cost.

A lot of companies are pivoting right now, leaving the consumer AR and VR markets and moving into enterprise, location-based entertainment, and the health, education, and industrial markets.

Above: Mojo Vision can create extremely small and dense displays.

Image Credit: Mojo Vision

But the pieces of the consumer revolution in AR, VR, and mixed reality are visible today. Varjo could no doubt benefit from the tech I saw in a hotel room with the Mojo Vision crew. Under a microscope, I could see a green monochrome image of Rick Astley singing his Never Gonna Give You Up song.

Mojo Vision claims its MicroLED displays can create the smallest and densest pixels ever. The screen makes it a candidate for ultra-small and dense augmented reality and virtual reality displays. The prototype powers tiny pixels, with a pixel density 300 times greater than current smartphone displays. Mojo Vision can put 15 pixels in a space the size of a red blood cell.

MicroLEDs use 10% of the power of current LCD displays, and they have five to 10 times higher brightness than OLEDs. That means that MicroLEDs enable comfortable viewing outdoors. Mojo Vision can create 14,000 pixels per inch, and it can place them near your eyes.

And yet, if you improve the displays so that they make the animations in AR and VR completely believable, you just kick the can down the road a little. Once you have the graphics, you need the haptics (the sense of touch), said Nicole Lazzaro, head of XEO Design and a VR game designer.

Above: Ultrahaptics and Leap Motion combined their technologies at AWE 2019.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

That’s what Ultrahaptics and its newly acquired Leap Motion company were showing at the Playground area of the expo at AWE. I was able to put on a VR headset and move into a fantasy world. I could see my fingers in VR and move them around, thanks to the Leap Motion tech. I put my hand over some animated orbs, and I felt like I was touching something. That was Ultrahaptics’ speaker technology, blowing air upward to make my hands feel the sensation of touching something.

Above: Vadim Kogan shows off the Logitech VR Ink stylus.

Image Credit: Logitech

That was a kind of magical experience. Another kind of magic came from Logitech, which figured out how to create a stylus, or ink pen, for VR. The company showed a pilot of its Logitech VR Ink, targeted at enterprises. It lets you write in both two dimensions and three dimensions in a VR space. Now you can point at something and create in VR, and hopefully get haptic feedback.

Above: Artie founders Armando Kirwin (left) and Ryan Horrigan.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Lastly, the software makers can make use of this technology. And they’re the artists who are just getting started. Ryan Horrigan and Armando Kirwin, the founders of Artie, told me that they are trying to create virtual beings, or digital humans who can be superimposed on the real world in ways that engage with people. They will start with simple smartphone AR first and then eventually get to the technologies that can deliver digital humans in a realistic fashion.

Above: SuperData’s predictions for the VR, mobile AR, and AR/mixed reality markets.

Image Credit: SuperData

And so you can see how these technologies that are not meant for games will eventually swing back and help the mixed reality, AR, and VR companies. Llamas hopes that VR will grow from $4.9 billion in 2019 to a diminished but still impressive revenue level of $13.7 billion by 2022.

Llamas believes that much of the market will be games, but other sectors will be key to the long-term growth of VR as well. I hope we get there.

Let’s just hope it happens in time to see the pioneers get their rewards for going out on the edge.

This post by Dean Takahashi originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

Tagged with:

The post The DeanBeat: The Building Blocks Of Better AR/VR At Augmented World Expo appeared first on UploadVR.

Game Of Thrones VR Experience Now Available Exclusively On Viveport Infinity

Incredible visuals, lukewarm gameplay.

Available today exclusively on HTC’s Viveport Infinity game subscription service, Beyond The Wall places you in the shoes (boots?) of a member of the Night’s Watch, a rag-tag military order tasked with guarding the Seven Kingdoms against the many threats lurking beyond the wall. While the 7-minute experience could have been an incredible opportunity for fans of the series to step further into the fictional world of Westeros, Beyond The Wall instead offers a half-baked experience that tries to hide a lack of gameplay behind a series of captivating visuals.

Accompanied by a seasoned Ranger and armed with only a broadsword, you’ll exit the safety of Castle Black and enter the unknowns of Northern Westeros for a brief tour of the hostile landscape. I say “tour” because as far as I can tell, you’re never in any real danger during the experience. At one point you’ll find yourself lost in a blinding snow flurry and forced to go toe-to-toe with an absolutely massive ice bear. And while the size and aggressive behavior of the creature was no doubt intimidating, it’s impossible for your character to die. Hit after hit and you’ll still be standing, mindlessly swinging your weapon in every direction in what can only be described as the VR equivalent of button-mashing.

Image Credit: HBO

At the end of the journey, you encounter the army of the dead. The scene is set beautifully, with hundreds of White Walkers slowly stepping out from behind the blinding flurry and surrounding you on all sides. As you grip your broadsword—which is now on fire for some reason—undead soldiers begin to advance on your position. From here on out it’s once again a series of mindless swinging as you easily cut your way through wave after wave of White Walkers. There’s no ability to block their attacks, and there’s no way for them to block yours; just a vacuous slugfest. Eventually, once enough White Walkers have surrounded you, the ice will break beneath your feet, and as you sink to the bottom of your watery grave you catch a glimpse of a dragon soaring overhead. Because, why not?

As far as an actual plot goes, there doesn’t appear to be one. There’s zero explanation as to who your character is, what you’re doing beyond the wall, or during what time period the events take place in relation to the books or show.

Image Credit: HBO

Poor storytelling and gameplay aside, Beyond the Wall is a gorgeous VR reimagining of the Game of Thrones universe. When the gate opens and the fierce cold of the North begins to fill the tunnel, you can almost feel the frigid winds blowing past you. While exploring the frozen tundra beyond the wall, the snow and blinding flurries feel real. As I dragged the tip of my sword through the mounds of snow I could see the environment respond to my actions. When faced with the towering ice bear, I felt genuinely intimidated by its massive claws and thunderous roar.

“VR is the perfect pairing for Game of Thrones fans who can now step onto the battlefield of Beyond the Wall as part of Viveport Infinity,” said Rikard Steiber, President of Viveport, in an official release. “Beyond the Wall gives you the first-hand experience of joining the Night’s Watch and protecting the realms of men with your flaming sword from the army of the dead.”

Image Credit: HBO

“Game of Thrones fans love exploring the world of Westeros and beyond, and now they can feel the rush of fighting the undead from the safety of their home in VR through Viveport,” added Sabrina Caluori, EVP of Digital and Social Marketing at HBO. “We’re committed to giving our fans unique and cutting-edge opportunities for engagement, and we think they’ll love this latest entry in our VR portfolio.”

Beyond the Wall is available now on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality via Viveport Infinity; subscriptions begin at $12.99 per month.

The post Game Of Thrones VR Experience Now Available Exclusively On Viveport Infinity appeared first on VRScout.

VR Pioneers Steam Bundle Offers Big Discounts On Groundbreaking Games

vr pioneers bundle

Some of VR’s groundbreaking developers blazing a new trail with early VR releases are providing a lower-priced bundle on Steam.

The “VR Pioneers” bundle costs around $123.94, or 20 percent off, for a set of incredible games. Normally it would cost more than $150 to get all the games included in this bundle. I-Illusions’ Space Pirate Trainer, Cloudhead’s The Gallery Episodes 1 & 2, Survios’ Raw Data and Sprint Vector and, of course, Owlchemy Lab’s Job Simulator can be purchased together in the VR Pioneers bundle on Steam starting today. If you’ve already got some of these games the 20 percent discount should still apply to the remaining titles. This should allow VR headset owners to more inexpensively complete their libraries if they’ve missed buying a couple of these games over the years.

For those unfamiliar, Space Pirate Trainer is perhaps the definitive wave shooter of VR’s first generation and a fantastic introductory arcade VR experience alongside Owlchemy’s Job Simulator. Survios Raw Data and Sprint Vector explore the range of single player and multiplayer game modes with an assortment of weapons and ways to navigate through virtual worlds explored. Cloudhead’s The Gallery, finally, is a wonderfully inventive adventure with deep world-building and engaging puzzles.

If you’re new to VR in 2019 or just looking to catch up on a few missed games, this new bundle looks like a great way to catch up on quality VR software you might’ve missed.

Facebook just released the Oculus Rift S, HP is launching the Reverb and Valve’s Index headset is due to arrive in the coming weeks to early buyers — all brand new VR headsets on which these games can be played.

Tagged with: , , , ,

The post VR Pioneers Steam Bundle Offers Big Discounts On Groundbreaking Games appeared first on UploadVR.

Bring Trover Saves The Universe Into AR With This New Snapchat Lens

Bring Trover Saves The Universe Into AR With This New Snapchat Lens

Trover Saves the Universe is out today, and we were impressed with Squanch Games’ unique brand of humor – developed alongside Rick and Morty’s Justin Roiland. If you can’t get enough of the VR experience, you’ll also be able to take Trover Saves the Universe into AR, thanks to a partnership with Snapchat.

In order to access the AR lens in Snapchat, you’ll need to get a copy of the game. Next, just open up the Snapchat app on your phone and flip to your rear-facing camera, then point it at the game case or game’s key art image. The face on the front will begin teasing you, voiced by Justin Roiland himself.

You should then instantly gain access to the Trover Saves the Universe AR lens, turning your own face into a fever dream. Your eyes will be replaced by red and blue power baby faces like the ones in the game, and the game’s title will appear above your head. You can also scan the first scene in the VR game itself for more information. That sounds a whole lot better than turning your face into a dog or making yourself look slightly older, and it’s more likely to confuse your friends and loved ones – it’s a win-win situation.

Trover Saves the Universe is out today on PlayStation VR and will be coming to PC June 4. It also has non-VR support, both on PlayStation 4 and PC. It’s best for a slightly older audience due to some vulgar jokes, but fans of Roiland’s work on Rick and Morty will undoubtedly enjoy themselves.

Tagged with: ,

The post Bring Trover Saves The Universe Into AR With This New Snapchat Lens appeared first on UploadVR.

Hack Kids In Tokyo Teaches Game Programming Using Nintendo Labo VR

Hack Kids In Tokyo Teaches Game Programming Using Nintendo Labo VR

Nintendo’s cardboard Labo creations have been an avenue for gamers to explore creativity, especially so for those of a younger age. Now, the company is utilizing its Nintendo Labo VR Kit in the Hack Kids in Tokyo special event where parents and children age 6 and up learn to program their own games using Toy-Con Garage VR.

Hack Kids in Tokyo is an event organized by Yahoo and welcomes elementary school children in third to sixth grade along with their parents. Toy-Con Garage VR is a way for Nintendo Labo VR users to take a look under the hood of over 60 games that have been created by Labo’s developers. Hack Kids will use this same program to teach kids and parents how the games are made and help them to develop their own.

The Hack Kids, , ,

The post Hack Kids In Tokyo Teaches Game Programming Using Nintendo Labo VR appeared first on UploadVR.

Pixel Ripped 1995 Is A Full Sequel To Last Year’s Nostalgia Hit

Pixel Ripped 1995 Is A Full Sequel To Last Year’s Nostalgia Hit

Ready for more VR-fuelled gaming nostalgia? A sequel to Pixel Ripped 1989 is on the way, and it’s jumping six years into the future.

Pixel Ripped 1995 will continue the series’ theme of revisiting beloved gaming eras of the past in VR. In the original game, you played through a fictional game series on virtual recreations of classic consoles. Indie developer ARVORE this time tackles the time in which the original PlayStation was just coming to market and Nintendo transitioned to the N64. It was the dawn of the era of 3D gaming.

The team is promising “innovative use of classic mechanics, gaming references, secrets and of course, the challenging gameplay of the 90s classics.” There’s no gameplay footage or images to speak of right now but you can expect to grab a virtual gamepad and play along to the latest iteration of the virtual series. We’ll be interested to see what ‘real’ world situations we’re put in, too.

“Thanks to the success of the first game we are able to dedicate more resources and have a lot more experience to create a game that is an even crazier nostalgic adventure. The setting of 1995 also gives us a lot of great classics to reference and a whole new world to explore,” says Ricardo Justus, Co-Founder of ARVORE said in a prepared statement.

Pixel Ripped 1995 is due on all major VR platforms. No specifics, but the original arrived on Rift, Vive and PSVR. We’d really love to see a Quest version, just saying.

Tagged with:

The post Pixel Ripped 1995 Is A Full Sequel To Last Year’s Nostalgia Hit appeared first on UploadVR.