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Launching Tomorrow, Sony Reveals How Farpoint’s PS VR Aim Controller Came to Life

Farpoint, one of the most anticipated titles for PlayStation VR, hits stores tomorrow along with the new VR device it was designed alongside, the PSVR Aim Controller. Sony has published details of the design decisions that drove development of one of the oddest looking gaming peripherals ever built. In the realm of VR gaming, triple-A games for any of of the available platforms are not exactly plentiful. The niche sizing of the fledgling market presents a huge risk for companies looking to back titles which require the high level of funding to meet today’s gamer’s expectations of what a flagship title should look like, especially one that requires the consumer to shell out for a VR headset to play. It’s remarkable…

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HTC Says Vive 2 Will Come When It Can Offer “really meaningful innovation”

In a recent interview, HTC Vive General Manager Daniel O’Brien provided a carefully-worded answer when asked specifically about a ‘Vive 2’. HTC’s current VR headset is now over year old; PC VR hardware cycles are anticipated to last somewhere between 1 and 3 years. “We’re always continuing to listen to developers, what they think is the most beneficial next-generation improvements and that’s how we’re solving the next headset and when that will come to market”, O’Brien said in response to a question about when the company would introduce a second iteration of the headset, during an interview with Digital Trends. “It’s not about picking a production cycle and timeline, it’s about bringing really meaningful innovation that helps the developer community…

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Microsoft is Building VR MMO for Xbox and PC, Job Listing Indicates

A job listing for a Senior Design Manager position on Microsoft’s “Xbox Mixed Reality team” says that the company is “looking to build a massively social gaming and entertainment experience for both the PC and the console.” Starting with the HoloLens AR headset and moving toward Windows VR headsets coming soon from PC hardware makers, Microsoft has been laying the groundwork for a broad AR/VR play (which the company collectively calls “Mixed Reality”) over the last few years. This week at Microsoft’s annual Build conference we saw more about how the company is making Mixed Reality part of Windows, and how they plan to allow AR and VR devices to work together seamlessly on the platform. We’ve known since E3…

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Microsoft: “Holiday 2017 is Going to be Phenomenal”, E3 to See More Mixed Reality Announcements

Microsoft Technical Fellow and chief inventor of HoloLens, Alex Kipman, took the stage today at Microsoft Build 2017 to show off a number of upcoming mixed reality hardware and software streaming out of the company and its partners. Among the announcements—including pre-orders of Windows Holographic Headsets from Acer and HP and a new VR hand controller—was a teaser for more to come at E3 in June. “Holiday 2017 is going to be phenomenal,” said Kipman. “We have a product lineup that customers really want. I hope you tune in to E3 to learn more about Windows Mixed Reality content story for this holiday.” Many of the headsets taking part in the Windows Holographic program including Asus, Dell, 3Glasses and Lenovo have yet to receive…

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Valve and Pixvana Bring High-quality Adaptive VR Video to Steam, Beta Launches Today

Pixvana, makers of the cloud-based 360 video creation studio SPIN, today announced that their software services—integrated at the core of Valve’s own Steam 360 Video Player—will be launching today into beta. This effectively lets SPIN users publish their VR videos directly to the Steam Store, but more importantly means VR headset owners will be able to browse and watch high-quality streaming content (up to 12K) directly in Steam using their Steam VR-supported headset. First announced at last year’s Steam Dev Days, Valve’s partnership with Pixvana and cloud computing company Akamai set out to create a VR video player that would let you watch adaptive, high-quality 360 video with the idea of only consuming a fraction of the bandwidth you might normally use. To do this,…

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This Pulsating ‘Haptic Skin’ is Somewhat Creepy, Mostly Awesome

Omnipulse is a new haptic technology out of Cornell’s Organic Robotics Lab which uses an array of embedded pneumatic actuators to create haptic feedback which feels quite ‘organic’ compared to the more ‘mechanical’ of many other haptic technologies out there. With the ability to form the flexible Omnipulse skin into arbitrary shapes, the technology could be integrated into VR controllers, gloves, or potentially even haptic VR suits. Showing off their technology at GTC 2017 this week, the Organic Robotics Lab has been collaborating with NVIDIA to create compelling haptic feedback with a version of the Omnipulse skin which was adapted to a Vive controller. Running inside of Nvidia’s VR Funhouse demo, the lab showed the haptic system being used to convey…

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VirZOOM Partners With AMD to Bring VR Fitness Bikes to Locations Across the Globe

Pedaling a stationary bike is kind of a sad metaphor for life: try as you may, you’re never going anywhere. But thanks to virtual reality, there might be an exercise machine coming to your local gym or arcade that promises to gamify what many people not only find to be an existential commentary on their personal failings, but also a painfully boring experience. VirZOOM, makers of VR arcade exercise games and the VirZOOM Bike Controller, recently announced a partnership with AMD that promises to provide the graphical horsepower to drive VirZOOM experiences in gyms and arcades, bringing their collection of VR games to gym-quality upright and recumbent bikes around the world. VirZOOM (pronounced ver-ZOOM) has created a collection of VR sports games designed to…

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The Future of ‘Facebook Spaces’: Opening the Door to Third-party Developers

Facebook launched their first social VR app Spaces last month to much acclaim. It’s a polished experience that does a few things very well, and has the major benefit of tapping into Facebook’s existing dominance of the social graph. But to become truly compelling it needs to do much more than it does today. Facebook knows this, and is looking to third-party developers to expand and enhance Spaces. Spaces, available today as a beta on the Oculus Rift (and playable on Vive with a hack), demonstrates a few key concepts of socializing in VR: Social VR doesn’t necessarily require virtual exploration of a virtual environment. Many other social VR apps place users in a world space and ask them to move about. Spaces puts…

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Watch: SuperChem VR is a Cool Virtual Lab for Fun and Immersive Learning

Schell Games have released a trailer for their latest project SuperChem VR, an incredibly fun looking way to teach chemistry and perhaps a glimpse into the potential future for VR in education. We’ve seen a lot of application attempt to capture some of the potential VR enthusiasts of immersive computing know VR can deliver. But Jessie Schell’s studio, responsible for the ingenious Bond-esque VR puzzle title I Expect You to Die, seem to really be onto something with their latest title SuperChem, and I think it may be one to watch. SuperChem’s concept is simple; Utilise the immersive properties of virtual reality to provide students with both a safe and fun environment in which to learn about chemistry. Doing this in VR…

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Why the Closure of Oculus Story Studio is Good News for VR Filmmakers

Oculus just officially announced that they’d be winding down Story Studio, the company’s internal VR film studio which produced first-party VR shorts like Lost, Henry, and Dear Angelica. Along with the closure, the company also says they’re earmarking $50 million to invest in non-gaming experiential VR content, and in doing so reveals a major reason why the company opted to shutter the studio. Oculus announced the internal Story Studio at the start of 2015, saying that its mission would be to explore VR film and inspire the world to see VR as a medium for narrative and storytelling. At the start of 2015, that made a lot of sense. The creative community at the time was still largely wrapping its head around…