Steam used to hold a collection of games, both old and new, but with its constant updates and the ability to download the games on any internet connected PC, people love the new choices they’ve been given. This love only grows when you give them back a childhood classic, which for many are centered around the games that the Sega Mega Drive offered them, and Sega wants this to grow by supporting not just the games on Steam but also the modified versions that will be shared via Steam Workshop.
Steam Workshop is the user content sharing part of Steam, letting you add mods and tweaks that include the likes of replacing dragons with trains or a new map for your army to conquer. In this respect support for user-created content will be supported by Sega alongside the new Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub being released on Steam on April 28th.
Clearly designed for a VR generation, the hub will include the system being placed in a bedroom, much like the ones where you first encountered the games. With graphical enhancement filters, full controller and keyboard support and “spot-on emulation” listed in the release, you can replay Golden Axe, Altered Beast, Ecco and even Columns just like you did when you were younger.
GoPro is riding the virtual reality wave hard, revealing its new VR video platform, alongside its six-camera and sixteen-camera VR rigs. The GoPro VR app – available for free from today on PC, Android, and iOS – is effectively a rebranding of Kolor Eyes, the website and software inherited by GoPro following its acquisition of French VR outfit Kolor. “The platform allows users to experience the immersive world of 360˚ video and transforms users’ screens into a virtual portal, showcasing original content from GoPro and a global community of artists,” according to GoPro.
To make the most of this new VR platform, GoPro has launched two VR camera rigs; one designed to be entry-level, and another aimed at professional photographers and filmmakers. The entry-level model, the Omni (pictured above), features six GoPro HERO4 Black cameras, capable of “over-capture” at 8K resolution, stung together in the shape of a cube, to create 360˚ videos. The Omni is priced at $5,000 and is available for pre-order from today.
The Odyssey (above) – available only through GoPro’s Limited Access Program, the company’s professional-only scheme – sports sixteen HERO4 Black cameras, synchronised down to the pixel, aligned in a carousel. Images shot by the Odyssey are stitched together in Google’s cloud-based Jump Assembler software to construct 8K30, stereoscopic panoramic videos that can then be uploaded to YouTube. Priced at $15,000, the Odyssey is available to film professionals now.
As we’ve mentioned and time and time again, VR is a really VR sell unless the consumer has a chance to try it. Being told over and over again about VR without a chance to experience it as a new form of content consumption won’t sell many headsets. To combat this, Sony is planning to place their PlayStation VR headsets at many retail locations, mainly GameStop it seems. What’s more, the demo will hit the floor starting June.
Honestly, an in-store demo is pretty much expected as this point. Sony won’t be the only VR vendor as they will be sharing space with the HTC Vive demo units as well. The plan is for GameStop to provide over 500,000 experiences between June and December of this year. According to GameStop, the setup for PlayStation VR is easier, allowing for more units to be set up. This isn’t a surprise as GameStop is used to hosting console demo units while the HTC Vive will require a PC.
Finally, the reveal that PlayStation VR demos will arrive in June is a bit of a surprise. This means Sony plans to have the system all finalized and enough content created by June to start displaying it. To me, this suggests that Sony won’t have production ramped up to meet expected supply till October which is when the headset will officially launch. Given the supply issues facing the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, this is not the lease surprising.
If there is one thing we need to make sure that we keep innovating and reaching for that next step in technology, it is to get the next generation of potential scientists, engineers, and inventors interested in STEM careers. This is something that Lockheed Martin believe very firmly, with the aim of their new Generation Beyond initiative being to find exciting ways to inspire young people to want to be involved in the field. In order to do this, they have developed an experience that should give a small taste of just what our future could be like, a simulated bus ride across the surface of Mars.
The Mars Experience is an immersive virtual reality adventure that takes place entirely aboard an American school bus. The windows of the bus are covered, which allows a view of Mars’ vast and sprawling surface to be shown to those within and the movement of the bus will seem like it is really driving along the surface of the Red Planet.
To power this experience, Lockheed Martin has employed the same kinds of software used to develop the most advanced video games of today and used it to develop a VR experience not limited to a headset and capable of rendering over 200 square miles of Mars’ surface. Lockheed’s bus will be making a tour across the US to give students around the country a chance to experience it for themselves.
Generation Beyond isn’t just investing in the Mars Experience either, with the program offering a free curriculum on deep space to any middle school teacher as well as developing an app that provides real-time reports of the weather on Mars. It may seem like all fun and games, but it is great to see such an initiative attempt to engage the next generation in a manner that they can also enjoy.
Yesterday, an industrious coder released a homebrew software package that allows HTC Vive users to play the demos for Lucky’s Tale and Oculus Dreamdeck, both titles exclusive to the Oculus Rift. The an alpha build of the software – “a proof-of-concept compatibility layer between the Oculus SDK and OpenVR” – was released on GitHub by reddit user CrossVR to much buzz amongst VR users, but Oculus is understandably miffed about the matter.
“This is a hack, and we don’t condone it. Users should expect that hacked games won’t work indefinitely, as regular software updates to games, apps, and our platform are likely to break hacked software,” Oculus told GamesIndustry.biz.
While Oculus is unhappy about the “hack”, the software – named Revive – remains available on GitHub. It remains to be seen whether it will be subject to a cease and desist order, or a DMCA takedown, from the aggrieved company.
“It may work with plenty of other games, but that hasn’t been tested by myself. It’s still early days for this project, since it’s only been in development for a few weeks. In the future more games will be supported, but I’m glad to see such swift progress already,” CrossVR explained in his reddit post. Indicating a determination to continue work on the project, he added, “this is version 0.2 and there will be many more as there is still plenty of work to do.”
Due to an “unexpected component shortage”, reported last week, some early pre-orders of the Oculus Rift have had their shipping dates delayed by up to two months, with one buyer – who pre-ordered 33 minutes after the VR device was made available on 6th January – being informed that he will have to wait until the end of May, at the earliest, for his order, reports RoadtoVR.
Another customer, commenting on reddit, revealed that, despite pre-ordering within 1 hour and 40 minutes of availability on 6th January, Oculus has delayed shipping their Rift, with an estimated delivery of between 13th-23rd June.
While pre-orderers have seen their order delayed by up to two months, all subsequent orders have been put back even further, with shipping of new orders pushed back until August.
“Kickstarter Backers, we’re changing your Order History to show “TBD” instead of the date as that date was applicable to the time in which we imported the orders. We’ve already fulfilled a large number of the orders and more are being fulfilled on a regular cadence.”
Also, in response to the furore, Oculus has begun refunding shipping costs on orders placed before 2nd April.
Virtual reality has been hailed as the next ‘thing’ that will catch consumer attention and drive innovation and growth in the technology industry. While it’s easy to see why VR might play out stronger than say 3D, the size of the burgeoning market appears to be massive. According to market analysts, Strategy Analytics, the virtual reality headset market will top $895 million. For an industry that is just really getting started, this is great news.
As expected, much of the value comes from the expensive Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR which are all going to release this year. With prices of $600, $800 and $400 respectively, it’s easy to see why the market is so big. The expectation is that these high-end headsets will account for 77% of the total revenue but only 13% of shipped units. After all, around 2.2 million Sony units would be enough to match the entire market value. Cheaper headsets like those based on smartphones will continue to see more though and be the VR most likely experienced by consumers.Furthermore, Strategy Analytics expects that VR will help drive a race in display resolution, storage and GPUs. This is due to the stringent and hefty requirements necessary to run VR games. Going forward it will be interesting to see what kind of hold VR will take and whether or not it will supplant traditional forms of content interaction.
VR is one of those things where you have to experience it to know what it is all about. Without trying it, it really is hard to get a sense of how much you like or detest the whole experience. This is why it is so important to get VR headsets out into the public with demos so show them off. Starting today, HTC is doing just that, placing Vive headset demos throughout stores in the United States and Canada.
Right now, 3 Microsoft Stores already have HTC Vive demos ready for potential customers to experience. These are at New York City, Washington state (Bellevue Square) and Utah (City Creek Center). By the end of next week, 2 more will be added and peak at least at 30 by the end of the year. The other place where you can try out a Vive will at various GameStop locations. The plan is for 10 stores by the end of the month but how many there will be at the end remains to be seen.
For now, we have no idea what kind of demo the Vive will have at these locations. They should be smaller than the room scale demos at Overclockers UK but the idea is the same, to get VR out and into public view. Customers will also be able to order/pre-order the Vive at the locations. You can find out more about the Vive here.
From the ashes of Shadow Moses, the recently cancelled Metal Gear Solid fan remake in Unreal Engine 4, emerges The Fan Legacy: Metal Gear Solid, a kind of best-of collection which aims to recreate iconic moments from the Metal Gear franchise from a first-person perspective. The announcement video reveals that the “experience” will include VR support, and will feature new lines recorded by the original voice of Solid Snake (and Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater), David Hayter.
“Born from the ‘Shadow Moses’ project,” the announcement reads, “The Fan Legacy: Metal Gear Solid is a first-person experience allowing fans the opportunity to revisit some of the most emblematic MGS levels. There will be no need for stealth this time around.”
“The Fan Legacy: Metal Gear Solid will feature many pieces of amazing fan art from devoted lovers of the series and our collaborators. As an unofficial, non-profit production, the project is a gift, from the fans, but also addressed to the fans; to share our affection for the seminal franchise. “
“We are delighted to announce that the project, available for PC, will feature VR support.”
“We can also reveal that non-other than the legendary David Hayter will be involved in the project, which we are overjoyed by! The project will be released for free download in May, and we truly hope that you will enjoy the experience.”
Sometimes you don’t want to pop out, but you know you need to go grab that something. A sandwich, some food for the week or even that new game. There’s only so much you can get delivered by drone, so what about the stuff you want to see before you buy? Well if you are one of the lucky ones planning a trip to Ikea, why not see what it looks like before you’ve even left the house with Ikea’s new VR showroom.
The new program is available through Steam, with the app supporting the HTC Vive headset. In the app, you can choose from one of three rooms with the ability to change the colours of cabinets and drawers with just a swish of the Vives controller.
The app gives you the ability to explore from both a tall person’s perspective and a child’s, giving you the option of trying out a kitchen before your little one find all the bits that you regret buying two days later. The page notes that this experience is expected to last 5 minutes, with the pilot only being supported until august 2016.
In their press release Ikea state they see the “IKEA VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world”, asking for suggestions and ideas on how to use virtual reality and improve their VR kitchen. Is this the first step to a VR shop? Could we avoid the second guesses of buying something from a picture by viewing it in 3D before we’ve even left the house?
Would you ever trust an app before you buy or do you have to see and touch something in person before you buy? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
When it comes to eSports, being able to watch the techniques and strategies used by teams as they compete can be a gripping and thrilling experience. Be it at home or in a stadium, watching people play the game and knowing that in a just a few short seconds the entire game can change excites people, so what would you do if you could get closer to the action? You could soon with Valve teasing a VR spectating mode for the MOBA game, DOTA 2.
The footage was teased by Robert McGregor on twitter, showing off just some of the features. The footage shows a screen, similar to the one you would find watching the game regularly, only looking away from the suspended screen shows you details about the events and characters taking place in the match.
To either side of the screen line up the characters, showing the items they’ve all taken, while straight ahead as if on a table you have the overhead map, complete with markers to show who’s where. Compiled with team network and differences in experience gained, a single glance in any direction can reveal something you might normally miss.
While the new system looks to be made to support the HTC Vive (controllers and all), this is the first it’s been seen in action and if it’s anything to go by, VR spectating could be something that other e-sports look to create in the near future.
Buying the Oculus Rift is something that’s been stuck with its own issues recently, but I guess that is to be expected of any major hardware launch. However, it seems there’s a bit of a legal grey area buying content for the Rift, especially for those of us who live within the EU. Oculus Home, the digital store for supplying VR-ready titles, has declared that “all sales are final” when it comes to their refund policy.
So what does this mean? Well, if you buy a game, good luck getting your money back if you’re unhappy with the purchase and while for many, this won’t be an issue, it does fly in the face of laws in the EU that give consumers a right to a refund. The terms state that “All software purchases from the Oculus Store are final, and unless required by local law, no refunds will be provided.” and it’s that last part that causes problems, as the Oculus ToS section 4.11 states that “if you are located in the EU, you consent that the supply of the digital content may begin immediately following the completion of your purchase and you acknowledge that you therefore will lose any statutory rights you may have to withdraw and receive a refund.”
European Consumer Rights directives state that you have a 14-day cooling off period for any digital goods purchased, but you won’t get that right if you accept the terms of Oculus Home. Of course, Oculus aren’t the only ones doing this and even Valve walk a fine line here. However, Stream does offer a system for refunds that’s relatively in-line with the law, albeit it’s a fairly new feature to their service.
Oculus Home is already shutting out consumers from using other stores, such as Steam, to purchase their VR games, and they’re offering stricter ToS on top, not what I would call consumer-friendly at all and something we hope they improve on soon.
GTC 2016: As a special guest experience, NVIDIA enlisted Apple co-creator Steve Wozniak to take the helm in the Mars Rover.
As an person who has made it clear in the past of wanting to sign up for the one-way ticket to Mars, NVIDIA have made it possible to experience the same thing without leaving the comfort of your own couch. ‘Woz’ as part of the experience chucked a VR headset on and showed us how real the overall feel of being on Mars was.
Jen-Hsun and Wozniak joke about finally finding Matt Damon but you straight away get the feel as to how immersive the experience of Mars can be.
This was made possible from utilising the GeForce GTX Titan to give the best possible quality taking into consideration how realism is of the keypoint and this leads to IRAY VR technology.
IRAY VR utilises a pre-rendered source of light probes that is then rasterized and reconstructs the image based on what the eye expects to see as a completed composition.
GTC 2016: NVIDIA have started their keynote for GTC 2016 by explaining the benefits of VR outside of gaming. They did this by showing what was done when they took one of the world’s most valued treasures and attempted to recreate it; Mount Everest.
The geometry used reflects every aspect of the mountain through the ice and snow to the way that each individual flake separates and swirls around in the wind. This amounts to over 108 billion pixels being used to supply the very best experience for the user and this is just the start of VR outside of gaming to give the user an experience that is unparalleled.
Looking forward to other areas allows NVIDIA to focus on some of the worlds wonders and bringing it to the user as an experience that they would generally not be able to see in an average lifetime.
To see what the fuss is about, check out the video below.
By now there can’t be much doubt in anyone’s mind that 2016 will be the year that will be remembered as the year VR went mainstream. We have got 3 major players each bringing out their own VR headsets, partly they already have to early adopters, and they surely won’t be the last ones. Overclockers UK is one of the biggest gaming system builders and hardware components shops in the UK and they are also on board for this new wave of virtual reality. We’ve already seen them create dedicated HTC Vive area in their shops where customers and fans can experience the full room VR experience, so there is no doubt that they believe in this too.
Overclockers UK will also be among the 600 buyers, sellers, and developers who will attend the VR World Congress next week on April the 12th in Bristol that is being headlined by AMD and their LiquidVR. At the VRWC, you’ll find a dedicated expo hall filled to the brim with exciting and innovative companies showing the latest developments in VR.
OC UK themselves will bring their high-performance PCs, starting from the recommended VR specifications and all the way up to the 8Pack designed and built monster PC called the Asteroid. There will also be the chance to test out OCUK’s Room Scale VR Experience at their booth.
You can also be part of this yourself, if you have time and are in the area, and you can even get in for free with a little luck. Overclockers UK is giving away 2 tickets for this event and the entry is as simple as it could be. All you have to do is to visit the OCUK forums and post a reply to a thread there. You should also take the time to browse the forums a little bit while you’re there, they got some great and knowledgeable people hanging around that post a lot of interesting stuff.
Virtual reality headsets have the potential to revolutionize the way we enjoy various entertainment forms and even help train apprentices to learn new skills in a more practical manner. This year has already been significant for developing VR technology and bringing it the consumer market. However, the early adopter pricing for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are well out of the reach of most users. Despite this, VR technology allows developers to start making unique games and there should be a fantastic library when devices become more affordable. Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus raised some questions about the headset’s target audience and possible emergence of social media advertising.
The Oculus Rift’s terms and conditions contains a number of interesting clauses about user data. According to The Guardian, Facebook is able to collect:
“Information about your physical movements and dimensions when you use a virtual reality headset”,
Facebook also added:
“We use the information we collect to send you promotional messages and content and otherwise market to you on and off our Services,” “We also use this information to measure how users respond to our marketing efforts.”
This means Facebook can use location data to monitor your position and collect information on how you use the Oculus Rift. More worryingly, the terms clearly state that your personal information can be passed onto “related companies”. This refers to other parts of the Facebook brand such as WhatsApp. Consumers concerned about their privacy will find these terms rather intrusive and might be enough to deter them from making a purchase. Facebook’s ability to use the data for advertising purposes isn’t ideal and something which many people anticipated when the company took the helm. Admittedly, it’s fairly common for companies to outline similar data gathering policies but this doesn’t make it acceptable.
Are you concerned by the Oculus Rift’s terms or feel they are being blown out of proportion?
The Oculus Rift may have won the race to be the first VR headset to be available to consumers, but it hasn’t been so easy for Oculus due to the boom in interest for the VR headset. The Rift began shipping out to consumers on the 28th of March, but many preorder customers are still yet to receive any notification that their device will be shipped to them. Now Oculus VR has admitted that they have been struggling to meet demands for the Rift, with CEO Brendan Iribe taking to Twitter to state that the first batch of Rifts was “going out slower than we orig(inally) estimated.” This was backed up by an email sent out to waiting customers, citing an “unexpected shortage” as the reason that many were still waiting.
We’ve been working through an unexpected component shortage, and unfortunately, that issue has impacted the original shipping estimates for some early customers. We’re working hard to get up-to-date ship windows, and you should expect to see your order status updated on oculus.com by Tuesday, April 12th.
In order to make it up to customers who had pre-ordered one of the headsets, Oculus stated that they will be disregarding any delivery charges for all orders that have already been placed. It’s not all delays, though, with many customers having received their Rifts on time, one even being delivered by Palmer Luckey himself! Hopefully, Oculus will be able to sort out this issue before their main rival, the HTC Vive makes it to market when both sides will have a fight on their hands.
Slightly Mad Studios has released its 1.3 Oculus Rift SDK support for Project CARS this week, and with it revealed that crossplay between Oculus and HTC Vive users is not possible. While Project CARS supports both VR headsets, the HTC Vive – co-developed by Valve – is locked to Steam, while the Oculus Rift version of the game is only available from the Oculus homestore.
“Hey guys,” wrote Project CARS Director Stephen Viljoen on the game’s official forum. “Regarding MP and the various platforms, they are indeed separate platforms and we cannot support MP matchmaking between these two platforms. It’s not ideal, but that’s just how this platform separation works.”
So, while Slightly Mad Studios is certainly not to blame, its game is the first high-profile victim of the emerging VR war, which is sure to stoke the ire of gamers during the technology’s embryonic period.
Slightly Mad has been selling the VR capabilities of Project CARS hard for some time now, boasting that the game is one of the most feature-complete titles available for the new wave of headsets.
“Whenever I buy new hardware, whether that’s a new computer or console or sound system, I wanna show it off. And I want something to really test it,” Andy Tudor, the studio’s director, told iDigitalTimes. “So for those that are getting the Rift and wanna have a game that they can really dig their teeth into and pulls out all the stops both technically and graphically, Project CARS is the one for you.”
2016 may be the year of virtual reality, but Microsoft is carving its own path with its augmented reality headset, the HoloLens, which launched its Development Edition yesterday. While the HoloLens has been criticised for its small viewing area, low resolution, and limited app sizes, a developer working with the headset has warned that the most immediate concern could be how much heat the HoloLens generates.
David Dedeine, CCO for Asobo Studio, which developed the games Young Conker and Fragments for the HoloLens, has expressed his worry that Microsoft’s AR device could become too hot to wear for long periods. Unlike VR headsets, such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the unteathered HoloLens packs its processing power into the headset itself, meaning that the processor is effectively on your head, rather than in a connected PC.
“The most important thing is to really be economical […] you would never need to do this with console or PC—it’s all about consumption of energy, battery savings,” Dedeine told PC World. “Even more important, it’s heat—to not make the whole thing get too hot, as it would be uncomfortable to the user.”
Should the HoloLens breach its defined high temperature threshold, it will immediately shutdown any app that it is running, in order to protect both the headset itself and your poor head.
It should be recognised that the current iteration of the HoloLens is the Development Edition, and as such is sure to undergo many refinements before its consumer release. Augmented reality is still new territory, and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft can do the concept justice.
“I say that there is a continent of gaming, and VR is just a new peninsula on that continent,” Dedeine says. “AR is an entirely new continent.”
Gaming has been the spawn of many unique illnesses, such as trigger finger pain, bent thumbs from excessive controller use, and so much more. Now we’re moving forward and onto more modern gaming related illnesses with Oculus Face. Wearing a VR headset for extended periods of time isn’t as uncomfortable as it used to be, the headsets are lighter, more ergonomic and more comfortable in general. However, that doesn’t mean to say they’re not going to make a lasting impression; literally.
The Oculus headset started shipping into the hands of customers earlier this week and that means there are many people out there getting lost in the world of VR right now. The only downside, at least so far, is that the headset leaves temporary red marks on the face, being comically named “Oculus Face” or the even more silly “Rift Rash”, neither sound like something you would want, but they’re obviously pretty harmless anyway.
VR is cool, but it’s quite clear it doesn’t make you look too cool afterward. Hair screwed up, face all marked with red lines and sweat marks. Perhaps Google were onto something with their ergonomic and lightweight Glass designs after all. The foam padding is pretty comfortable from my own experiences, so it’s likely extended exposure that leads to these minor issues and I doubt it’ll be enough to put many of you off of a purchase any time soon.
Over the years, there has been some hardware movement from consoles to PC, with things like the Xbox controllers moving over. In what might be the biggest hardware interoperability move, Sony is considering making the PlayStation VR work with PCs. This will allow gamers to use the upcoming VR headset on not only their PS4 but also their PC if they have one.
“Since PlayStation 4 shares a lot of its components with PCs, the possibility is there. At the moment we are focused on games and we are not ready to make any announcements at this stage, but I’d say there will be an expansion into various fields.”
The PlayStation VR currently sits a bit below the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, sporting a lower resolution display. However, the Sony display is significantly cheaper than its competitors and should still allow for an enjoyable VR gaming experience. It also sports a higher refresh rate at 120Hz, more than the usual 90Hz. Furthermore, there will be synergy between the PC and PS4, with users being able to enjoy a VR experience on both platforms with a single purchase.
Furthermore, there will be synergy between the PC and PS4, with users being able to enjoy a VR experience on both platforms with a single purchase. By expanding their potential market without having to do too much extra work, Sony will be able to invest more into VR with relatively lower risk.
The founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, decided that he would deliver the very first consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR headset himself. The lucky recipient? Ross Martin, an indie developer from Anchorage, Alaska, who was the first person to pre-order the consumer Rift, which will be arriving at the houses of the remaining customers starting on Monday.
The decision by Luckey to deliver the Rift had been a move that he desired for a long time but was only able to realize at the last moment, due to the obvious issues with the founder being out of the office just days before the product’s release. “This didn’t come together until the last second, I’ve had a bunch of things that I’ve wanted to do over the years, and I was pretty adamant,” Luckey told Polygon. “I said hey guys, I’ve been working on this since 2009, we’ve been working on Oculus since 2012, I’ll be damned if some random delivery guy is going to get the satisfaction of delivering the first Rift. That’s mine.”
Meanwhile, Martin, who documented his feelings on the experience on Twitter, first posting an image of the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He continued to state that in further tweets “So grateful to Palmer Luckey and Oculus for coming all the way to Alaska,” and “You guys are super cool!” Leading up to the release, Martin had no idea that he was the first to order the Rift and when he received the call that it would be delivered early and in-person, he simply believed that all pre-orderers had gotten the same treatment. “I would never think that someone doing it by hand would be the first,” he said.
It is great to see that despite the Rift taking so long to come to market and moves that have been considered unpopular, such as their acquisition by Facebook, that Luckey and Oculus VR treat their customers well.
Starting with the next race at Long Beach, Formula E will be offering computer generated recreations of its races that fans will be able to watch from right in the action thanks to virtual reality. This is just a prelude to an even more exciting prospect too, with the sport aiming to allow races to be watched in real time through VR, which could happen sooner than we think, with it planned to be in place before the conclusion of the Formula E second season in July.
In these virtual reality experiences, watchers will be able to be a part of the action from the perspective of any of the 18 drivers or from a number of locations around the virtual track. They will also be free to explore a virtual paddock and freely view any of the courses, like a virtual circuit walk. Audio from the races will also be included in the experience and, for this season, at least, will be entirely free of charge.
The data in order to make these experiences comes thanks to a partnership with San Francisco-based company Virtually Live, who employ a number of physical trackers and advanced image recognition software in order to map the race recreation on a computer generated representation of the circuit. Virtually Live told The Verge that they had been privately testing live broadcasting since December in Uruguay, with them estimating that these real-time streams could be available as soon as the Paris race on April 23rd.
For now, the race simulations will be available in the days after the race itself through the Oculus, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR stores, although those using more budget mobile VR solutions such as Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard will be out of luck due to the limitations of their platform.
Technologies like VR are changing the way we may watch sports in future. A number of competitions already offer live streams complete with real-time metrics online, with Formula E itself having free live streams of its races available including 360-degree video replays. With racing series like Formula 1 cracking down on the number of ways that fans can watch the sport, the increasing availability of Formula E could just let its popularity grow even further.
The idea behind the software is incredibly simple, it shows your standard PC desktops as floating panels in a full 360 degree VR environment. It also includes all the features it may need to render your regular monitors obsolete, including multiple monitor support and the ability to use your own pictures to make up the 360 background around your desktop(s), which they can be set to blend with. It even supports fully immersive music visualizations and the ability to watch movies in full VR, or even on the big-screen in VR cinema! In short, it lets you do your favourite things in VR, such as watch video without waiting for every service to bring out their own VR-compatible applications.
You can also play games in Virtual Desktop, with it including support for anything that runs from Steam and many games that don’t, with the creator reporting on Reddit that he had played Heroes of the Storm in VR. It even ran smoothly despite the graphics card in use being a GTX 770, which is made possible due to Virtual Desktop being incredibly lightweight and built using DirectX so it should have minimal impact on regular non-VR games played through it.
Tools like this are the ones that will move VR from being a gaming gimmick to something that is potentially useful for everyone on an everyday basis. It may hurt those who wish to sell purpose-specific VR tools, but for anyone getting an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, Virtual Desktop could just be money well-spent, after all, it’s only $15! Although, you will have to use Windows 10 to use it to its full potential.
Overclockers UK is one of the leading stockists of PC hardware and their engineering team produces an impressive range of custom rigs to suit contrasting tastes. Whether you’re looking for a silent air-cooled build, or extreme overclocked PC with premium water cooling parts, there’s something designed for your specific requirements. Often, whenever a new game is released which sells remarkably well, consumers like to pay homage with a system based around its theme. This can be a challenge especially if the game in question doesn’t have a distinctive colour scheme. The Division is an open world third-person shooter set in a bleak vision of New York City ravaged by a smallpox pandemic. This intriguing setting and captivating multiplayer confrontations have proved to be incredibly popular! As a result, The Division became Ubisoft’s fastest selling game on record and attracted a very passionate community.
This success story has given Overclockers UK inspiration for their latest gaming PC entitled the Titan Dark Zone. The system opts for orange braided PSU extension cables and vibrant LED lighting which creates a stunning aesthetic design. Combining the orange tones with black jet black components is quite unusual and a reference to The Division’s box art. Therefore, the Titan Dark Zone is a dream come true for fans of this particular title and features a very potent specification capable of powering VR devices without any concessions. The Intel i7-6700K is professionally overclocked to 4.5GHz using the Alpenfohn Broken 2 cooler. As a result, I expect to see an impeccable performance to noise ratio which surpasses many closed-loop-coolers. On another note, the 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, factory overclocked GTX 980Ti and Samsung 250GB boot drive should be able to provide a sensational gaming experience even on high-resolution monitors. Rather surprising, Overclockers UK have decided to use a non-modular power supply which complicates cables management. On the other hand, the PSU has received a great deal of critical acclaim and showcases the careful decision-making process when designing a system’s specification.
Name: Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
Motherboard: MSI Z170A-SLI Plus
Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K Overclocked to 4.5GHz
Processor Cooler: Alpenfohn Broken 2
System Memory: Team Group Elite 16GB (8x2GB) 2400MHz CL16 RAM
Warranty: Three Year (24 Month Collect and Return plus 12 Month labour) Mainland UK and Ireland Only
Packing and Accessories
The system arrived in an extremely large box which cannot fit on my photography backdrop. This is the reason why I’ve taken a snapshot in the hallway to emphasize the package’s mammoth size. Overclockers UK always adopt such an attentive approach to packaging and employ durable materials which enhances the level of protection substantially. It’s evidently clear that the company has considered the strain delicate PCs go under during transit and taken every necessary step to dramatically reduce the probability of damage occurring.
Once the top cover has been removed, we can see an ample supply of durable cardboard inserts which holds the system firmly in position.
The Titan Dark Zone is placed in the original chassis box and secured with strong tape. Honestly, I’d be extremely surprised if you received the system with even cosmetic imperfections considering multiple layers were used for protective purposes.
There’s additional support inside the chassis box via two strong polystyrene blocks.
The system’s internal components are surrounded by three Instapak foam pieces. These are essential additions which protect the CPU mounting and prevent the graphics card from applying too much pressure on the PCI-E slot during delivery.
In terms of accessories, OCUK included a Welcome Pack and Windows 10 Home OEM DVD containing the product code. The Welcome Pack outlines the system’s specification, and warranty terms in an easy to understand manner. Personally, I love the overall presentation and solder joints design on the front cover.
Yesterday, the 23rd of March, Amazon started taking pre-orders of Sony’s new virtual reality headset, PlayStation VR at 7:01 AM PST. Within just four minutes of the pre-order going live, Amazon had already sold out of its entire allotment of launch bundles. It is unknown how many of the bundles Amazon had available for pre-order, but the bundled unit was certainly more popular than the headset alone.
The PlayStation VR launch bundle is retailing for $499, making it considerably cheaper than the PC’s VR offerings and includes not just the headset, but a number of additional items to enjoy the VR experience at launch. Some of the items in the bundle are two PlayStation Move controllers, a PlayStation 4 camera, a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds as well as all the cables required to make full use of the headset. PlayStation VR Worlds itself is a compilation of a number of top VR games that have been demoed by Sony, such as The London Heist, VR Luge, Scavengers Odyssey, & Into The Deep all on-disk.
Both the headset and the bundle are on-track for a release in November, putting it behind the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but these strong pre-sales of the headset could mean good things for the future of VR on the PlayStation. We may have to wait until the end of the year to truly tell who offers the best VR experience, but if PlayStation VR sales go the same way as the pre-orders, it may be a long while before many can get their hands on one.
PlayStation VR’s launch price is designed to provide a more affordable entry into virtual reality technology and encourage mainstream audiences to become early adopters. However, many users have criticized Sony for their marketing policy and failure to include the PlayStation Camera with the basic VR bundle. As a result, you cannot use the headset without the camera which increases the price from $400 to $460. Arguably, this hidden cost is similar to Sony’s use of proprietary memory cards on the Vita. Despite these concerns, the President of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida explained why the company decided to take this step and told Colin Moriarty and Tim Gettys on Kinda Funny’s PlayStation podcast:
“Yeah, ‘PSVR is not $400 it’s $460!’ Yeah. I saw these comments. [Laughter] Pretty early in the process, we decided to not bundle the camera because we know that many people already own the camera. Especially people who purchased the PS4 in the first year. So those people, if we bundle, as a standard, a camera — another one — you know they would be mad. You know because they can’t do anything with it because the PS4 can only accept one camera. Maybe sell it on eBay or whatever. And the same thing with Move. The camera is required, but we know many people already own it. So we don’t put it in the basic product. This week’s announcement [GDC announcement] for us is to announce the base unit. That’s consistent globally and for people we know…who already own cameras. We don’t want them to spend more money than necessary.”
Honestly, I’m not convinced by this argument because the PlayStation Camera was always an additional extra which didn’t bring anything exciting to existing games. Therefore, I’d be interested in seeing how many people actually own the camera across various regions. Whatever the case, Sony will be releasing other bundles with everything you need to get started.