Items tagged with Virtual Reality

For anyone who is new to the world of virtual reality, the Oculus Quest starting at $399 is a sensible foray into VR. It's not crazy expensive, and it offers a wireless experience with decent all around performance. In addition, users can hook it up to a PC if they want to, and play games designed for the Rift. It's a pretty enticing headset, in other words, but what will the next version bring? Improvements all around, apparently. Before we get to that, here's a rundown of the Quest's pertinent specifications... Optics: OLED Resolution: 1440x1600 per eye Refresh Rate: 72Hz Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 RAM: 4GB Storage: 64GB or 128GB Tracking: Inside-out, six degrees of freedom (6DoF) Audio:... Read more...
Those who have been waiting for a fresh Half-Life fix can now have it, though only if they own a compatible virtual reality headset. Valve's latest addition to the Half-Life world, Half-Life: Alyx, was designed from the ground-up for VR (and getting rave reviews), so it is not a game fans of the franchise can simply fire up and play on a flat-screen monitor. For now, anyway—it is only a matter of time before modders do their thing, and Valve is aware of this. Game designer Robin Walker, best known for co-developing the Team Fortress mod for Quake before later going on to co-create several Valve games, including Half-Life: Alyx, believes it is only a matter of time before someone mods the... Read more...
Today is the big day; Half-Life: Alyx has been released. We had no idea that Valve was even working on the game until late last year, and once it was announced, the gamers around the globe lost their collective minds. Rather than being a traditional first-person shooter that is controlled using a mouse and keyboard like Half-Life and Half-Life 2 that came before it, Half-Life: Alyx leaps into the realm of virtual reality (VR). Hardware Requirements Being a VR-only game, the hardware requirements (to run the game as the devs intended it) are steep for this latest installment in the franchise, which arrives nearly 16 years after Half-Life 2 was released to the public. For starters,... Read more...
Late last week, we reported that the high-end Valve Index virtual reality (VR) headset would be back in stock this week via the Steam Store. More specially, Valve said that you would be able to order the Index on March 9th at 1PM EST. Well, the Valve Index is available to order now from the Steam Store, but just an hour after it was listed as back "in stock", shipping times are now listed at 8 weeks. Yes, you read that right: 8 weeks. Half-Life: Alyx launches on March 23rd, so even if you were to place an order today for the Index, you won't get it until May at the earliest, which is a bummer. At this point, we don't know how many Index VR headsets Valve has in stock,... Read more...
Back in November, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said had "some issues with VR," and also claimed "nobody's asking for VR." His comments were in justification of skipping the feature on the next Xbox console, which we now know is the Xbox Series X, due out at the end of this year. Spencer has not changed his position since then, though he did recently clarify his position in response to the backlash. At this point, we can assume that VR functionality is definitely not headed to the Xbox Series X. Spencer has not wavered on this. Not when he made the initial comments in November, not when he expanded on his comments later that same month (in the wake of Half-Life: Alyx, a VR-only title, being announced),... Read more...
Companies like Qualcomm are trying their best to bring the future into the present with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) experiences. This requires a convergence of hardware and software. As it applies to the former, Qualcomm today announced its new Snapdragon XR2 platform. What exactly is it? Qualcomm is billing it as the world's first 5G-supported extended reality (XR) platform. As the name implies, it's also the second-generation XR platform. Building upon the first-gen XR1 platform, Snapdragon XR2 ups the ante with more capable hardware to drive "premium quality" experiences with "next level features." "The Snapdragon XR2 platform is packed with significant... Read more...
Put the pitchforks down, folks, we are only kidding about Half Life 3. Well maybe, anyway...we can hope, right? There might actually be another Half-Life game in the wings, though. That is, if a leaked transcript of an unpublished interview citing a new virtual reality game called Half-Life: Alyx turns out to be true. We're skeptical, but also cautiously hopeful. The online document supposedly contains snippets of an interview between Game Awards creator Geoff Keighley and Valve's Robin Walker, as well an unnamed third person (the document surmises it could possibly be Gabe Newell). "These snippets were leaked by a user going by the name “Midoriyan.” Said user has been confirmed to... Read more...
Nintendo has already brought somewhat of a VR experience to its Switch console with the Labo VR kit (as shown above), but if you are hoping for a somewhat better implementation, you might be in luck. Well, maybe. A recently published patent design by Nintendo shows a design for a VR accessory that appears to slightly different than the Labo VR kit. It's also somewhat similar. Nintendo applied for the patent in February 2018, and it was published on August 22, 2019. The patent application describes a "3D image display system and 3D image display device," and there are accompanying design images. Here's a look at some... The images above depict a design whereby the user does not strap the VR accessory... Read more...
Sony is apparently in the giving mood, as some PlayStation 4 owners on Reddit can attest. How so? Apparently the electronics company has given a away a bunch free copies of Astro Bot Rescue Mission to registered PS4 owners, with "no strings" attached. The reason why, however, is not immediately clear (though we have a theory). "No catch, not strings... we're just giving you a free PlayStation VR game. Download the award-winning Astro Bot Rescue Mission... and blast off on an epic adventure to save Captain Astro's missing crew-bots. Use your exclusive voucher code at PlayStation Store now," the email reads. What makes this surprise gift so nifty is not just that it's an out-of-the-blue freebie,... Read more...
HTC has revealed some more details about its forthcoming Vive Cosmos virtual reality (VR) headset. We now know that it will have a much sharper resolution than the original Vive, along with half a dozen inside-out tracking cameras and a vented front design to increase airflow and, in theory, allow users to stay immersed in VR for longer without fatigue. The Vive Cosmos is one of two VR headsets that HTC announced earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the other being the high-end Vive Pro Eye. It is a consumer headset that initially will connect to a PC, though HTC hinted at the time that a mobile version might also be in the cards. "We found that over 85 percent of... Read more...
Valve has just launched a brand-new virtual reality (VR) system that will supersede the Vive family that was produced by HTC. Called the Valve Index, in many ways this headset is even more compelling than the HTC Vive Pro.  The full-blown Valve Index Kit will set you back $999 and includes the headset, two wireless controllers, and two Lighthouse base stations. However, Valve will also let you purchase the components piecemeal, with the Index headset itself going for $499.  Speaking of the Index, it is still a tethered setup with an included 5-meter cable that plugs directly into your gaming rig. Valve is focused on high-fidelity VR experiences and thus has included dual 1400x1600... Read more...
VR headsets haven't taken off with the boom that many game developers and publishers expected. In fact, VR headsets have proven to be more popular with companies than consumers; for instance, Walmart grabbed 17,000 Oculus Go VR headsets for employee training. Oculus also recently announced its next-gen VR headset called the Oculus Rift S. Oculus' co-founder Nate Mitchell has said on Twitter that tens of thousands of Oculus Touch controllers shipped with bizarre Easter Egg messages hidden inside on internal hardware that are privacy related. Since the messages are inside on the hardware, you won't see them when using the controllers. The messages on final production hardware say “This Space... Read more...
Valve is launching its own virtual reality headset called Index, presumably to go up against models like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (and Vive Pro). When exactly users will be able to order one has not been known, up until now—preorders for the Index will open on May 1, 2019, followed by a retail launch about a month and a half later. This is a big launch for Valve, though whether it will be successful depends on its ability to execute, pricing, and the overall interest in VR. Valve's advantage is that it fields the most popular digital distribution platform for games, a little storefront you may have heard of called Steam. However, that did not help much with Valve's failed Steam Machine... Read more...
HTC on Thursday announced an upgraded version of its standalone Vive Focus headset for virtual reality applications. Aimed at the enterprise market, the new Vive Focus Plus ups the ante with support for dual ultrasonic six degrees for freedom (6DoF) controllers so that users can interact with the virtual environment in the same manner as PC VR headsets like the Vive and Oculus Rift. The Vive Focus Plus comes with two 6DoF controllers featuring an analog trigger with pressure-sensitive input. HTC envisions developers running with the functionality to create more immersive experiences, though we will obviously have to wait and see how it actually pans out. This is a standalone headset, meaning... Read more...
When a hurricane bears down on heavily populated coast areas, rain and high winds aren't the only major concerns. Hurricanes can push water very far inland into areas that normally never see water. One of the deadliest aspects of a hurricane approaching a populated area is the storm surge. Storm surge is when the hurricane pushes water well inland, and in the case of Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolinas, The Weather Channel is predicting that the storm surge could be 13-feet or more in some areas. Meteorologists with The Weather Channel are predicting that storm surge flooding will easily reach 3-foot depths in many areas and some areas could go up to six feet or higher. The network... Read more...
Up until this point, VR headsets haven't exactly taken the gaming world by storm with respect to sales. Despite the masses not yet getting on the VR bandwagon, Sony has managed to sell quite a few PlayStation VR headsets around the world thanks in part of aggressive price discounts and a bold move last Christmas to allow some PS4 owners to order up a headset with games and pay for them only if they liked it. Sony has announced that globally it has now sold over 3 million PS VR units. Along with the 3 million headsets sold, Sony has also moved 21.9 million PS VR games and experiences. To celebrate the milestone Sony is announcing the launch of a pair of new PS VR games that will land this fall.... Read more...
We might be seeing a Magic Leap One launch before the day is over, or if not, perhaps by the end of the week. Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz has taken to Twitter with a series of tweets suggesting a launch is imminent, including more than one reference to a rocket ship. He also recent said that "Day 1" is coming soon. "I want to thank the whole Magic Leap for the endless hours everyone is putting in in [sic] this last phase before we ship," Abovitz stated a couple of weeks ago. He followed that up by saying, "And for everyone following us, we know we have to earn our place in this world. Our Day 1 is coming soon, and we are going to share with you what we have built, we will listen, we will... Read more...
There is a new open standard in the realm of virtual reality and it has the backing of some industry heavyweights. including AMD, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Oculus (owned by Facebook), and Valve. All of those companies are part of a consortium that has introduced VirtualLink, and open industry standard that enables next generation VR headsets to connect to PCs via USB Type-C. Connecting headsets via USB Type-C would replace the current method of attaching VR gear to PCs using a combination of multiple USB 3.0/2.0 and HDMI cables, plus a power cable. The consortium is pushing for a single cable to rule them all. Assuming VirtualLink sees widespread adoption, future headsets would be far less encumbered... Read more...
If you have been holding your breath waiting for Microsoft to release a VR accessory for its Xbox One console, go ahead and refill your lungs with oxygen, there is no point in turning blue in the face. Despite previous plans to embrace VR on the console side of the equation, it's not coming to the Xbox One. Instead, Microsoft is limited its VR and mixed reality focus to the PC, which it believes is "probably the best platform" for such things. Microsoft's chief marketing officer for gaming, Mike Nichols, revealed the company's stance in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, saying the focus on the Xbox One does include VR or MR. "We don't have any plans specific to Xbox consoles in virtual reality... Read more...
Virtual reality (VR) content used to be hard to procure, but that's hardly the case nowadays. VR is both growing in popularity and becoming cheaper and easier than ever to capture. The biggest problem at the moment for the end-user isn't so much the hardware, but the software. For such a young ecosystem, there's still much work to be done to make editing VR as seamless as any other type of video. To help folks who are supporting Google's VR180 format along, the company has just released a tool for macOS and Linux (Windows will surely come soon) that allows users to plug their VR180 raw content in, then convert it for use in Adobe's Premiere Pro, or Apple's Final Cut Pro. Here's the tool... Read more...
Imagine strapping on a VR headset for the first time and getting immersed in a virtual world, and then feeling nauseous. Not everyone experiences the phenomenon, but for those who do suffer from motion sickness in VR, it can be a crippling experience that ruins what could otherwise be an awesome adventure. VR developers have spent considerable time and research to reduce the effect, and interestingly enough one of the solutions has to do with artificial intelligence. AI has been around for decades, though only in recent years as it penetrated so many different market segments, everything from self-driving cars and social media schemes (like recognizing faces in uploaded photos), to smart phones... Read more...
There are many components to a fully realized virtual reality experience. The visual aspect is obviously the most important piece of the puzzle, but it's far from the only one. Accurate hand tracking is key as well. While hand tracking is pretty good in its current form on systems like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, there is room for improvement, and Oculus believes it's come up with a breakthrough of sorts. At Facebook's F8 conference this week, Maria Fernandez Guajardo, head of product management on Core Tech at Oculus, talked about a computer-vision based hand tracking system that uses a self-optimizing machine learning algorithm. According to Guajardo, this method produces hand tracking that... Read more...
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