Road to VR https://www.roadtovr.com Virtual Reality News Tue, 21 Jan 2020 07:25:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.13 https://www.roadtovr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/cropped-road-to-vr-logo-for-social-media-54aabc8av1_site_icon-32x32.png Road to VR https://www.roadtovr.com 32 32 ‘Iron Man VR’ for PSVR Delayed Until May 15th https://www.roadtovr.com/iron-man-vr-launch-date-psvr/ https://www.roadtovr.com/iron-man-vr-launch-date-psvr/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2020 17:05:50 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=91347
Camouflaj, the studio behind PlayStation VR exclusive Marvel’s Iron Man VR, had initially announced its high-flying super hero adventure was coming to PSVR February 28th, 2020. Now, the studio says the game is being delayed by a few months, bringing its new launch date to May 15th. Update (January 20th, 2020): Camouflaj recently tweeted that Iron […]

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Camouflaj, the studio behind PlayStation VR exclusive Marvel’s Iron Man VR, had initially announced its high-flying super hero adventure was coming to PSVR February 28th, 2020. Now, the studio says the game is being delayed by a few months, bringing its new launch date to May 15th.

Update (January 20th, 2020): Camouflaj recently tweeted that Iron Man VR will arrive on May 15th on PSVR. Here’s the studio’s full statement below:

‘In order to deliver on our vision and meet the high expectations of our amazing community, we’ve made the difficult decision to move Marvel’s Iron Man VR to a May 15, 2020 release. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding. You’ll be hearing from us again soon!”

Original Article (October 15th, 2019): The game tosses you into the boots of Tony Stark where you fend off attacks from the mysterious anti-corporate hacktivist Ghost, the game’s main nemesis who wants to dismantle Stark’s empire by using his own technology against him.

“In our game, Ghost is a great foil for Tony Stark—she not only holds a grudge against our hero, but holds a mirror up to him,” said Brendan Murphy, the game’s lead writer. “As a witness to the damage caused by Stark-made weapons years earlier, Ghost’s fight against Iron Man is both ideological and personal. Because of Ghost, our complex and fascinating hero must reconcile his troubled past, both on and off the battlefield…”

Image courtesy Sony

We’re sure to see more of Iron Man VR in the weeks leading up to its February release, although from our hands-on this summer, it’s clear there’s some serious potential for it to become an excellent VR game. Road to VR’s Ben Lang says it’s thanks to the game’s innovative flying mechanics that do a pretty remarkable job of making you feel like you’ve stepped into the iconic hero’s super suit.

Iron Man VR is already available for pre-order through the PlayStation Store, and is slated to arrive in two specific flavors:

Standard Edition: $40 USD / $50 CAD (physical & digital copy)

Digital Deluxe Edition: $50 USD / $60 CAD (digital only):

  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR Game
  • 4 Deluxe Edition Deco Armors (Golden Avenger, Black Centurion, Sun Stinger, Stealth Armor)
  • 12 Research Points – Research Points are gained by analyzing combat data from Iron Man’s performance in the field. This research and analysis allows Friday to develop new technology (weapons and augments) for the Impulse Suit. Use these Research Points to unlock some weapons and augments early and customize to play style.
  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR Digital Deluxe Soundtrack
  • Digital Deluxe Edition Iron Man PS4 Theme

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Valve Confirms ‘Left 4 Dead’ VR Game Not in Active Development https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-confirms-left-4-dead-vr-game-not-active-development/ https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-confirms-left-4-dead-vr-game-not-active-development/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:30:39 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93253
If you were buzzing about the proposition of getting a Left 4 Dead game any time soon, be it VR or otherwise, Valve says it’s definitely not working on any Left 4 Dead-related IP, and it hasn’t for years. Rumors that Valve was pursuing a VR adaptation of the Left 4 Dead franchise have been circulating since well before the […]

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If you were buzzing about the proposition of getting a Left 4 Dead game any time soon, be it VR or otherwise, Valve says it’s definitely not working on any Left 4 Dead-related IP, and it hasn’t for years.

Rumors that Valve was pursuing a VR adaptation of the Left 4 Dead franchise have been circulating since well before the company unveiled Half-Life: Alyx late last year, if only as a hypothetical next step the company might take in building out its famed three ‘full VR games’ first promised back in 2017.

As early as 2016, code relating to both Left 4 Dead and Half-Life was found in Valve-built VR demos, making the L4D franchise the next obvious choice.

IGN obtained the following statement from Valve that puts a pretty tight lid on the prospects of getting a Left 4 Dead game however—at least for now:

“We’ve seen rumors to this effect for the last couple of months,” a Valve spokesperson tells IGN. “We did briefly explore some Left 4 Dead next gen opportunities a few years ago. But we are absolutely not working on anything L4D related now, and haven’t for years.”

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The reasoning behind the public denial? HTC Vive China president Alvin Wang Graylin teased a few slides from a talk held by the company late last week in Beijing, one of which states that Half-Life: Alyx and “LFD3 (sic) will drive consumer and AAA studio interest” over the course of 2020.

Graylin dispelled the contents of the slide later that day as personal speculation, however since Valve worked closely with HTC to develop the original 2016-era Vive headset, it seemed to many as a tacit confirmation of a bonafide VR entry in the Left 4 Dead franchise, which we now know doesn’t have any merit.

Whether Valve has a Left 4 Dead VR game in its sights is another question entirely. With a supposed bank of assets from their earlier attempt at reportedly making, and subsequently scrapping Left 4 Dead 3 in 2017, there may still be some incentive to push forward with a L4D VR game, however it may take the success of Half-Life: Alyx to get the studio to fully commit.

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The 5 Best Cross-Play Multiplayer Games for PC VR & PlayStation VR https://www.roadtovr.com/best-cross-compatible-multiplayer-games-for-rift-vive-psvr/ https://www.roadtovr.com/best-cross-compatible-multiplayer-games-for-rift-vive-psvr/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:20:30 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=65535
Single-player games can immersive and rewarding, but when the campaign is done and all the AI foes have been slain, you need to know when you finally hit that ‘multiplayer’ button that can play with actual human beings. Here we take a look at multiplayers games that will let you play together—be it on PC […]

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Single-player games can immersive and rewarding, but when the campaign is done and all the AI foes have been slain, you need to know when you finally hit that ‘multiplayer’ button that can play with actual human beings. Here we take a look at multiplayers games that will let you play together—be it on PC VR headsets through Steam or Oculus, or on PlayStation VR.

VR’s overall playerbase—even across the major headsets—is still a pretty small community in contrast to console/PC gaming. So while the multiplayer lobbies won’t be busting at the seams like you’re used to in flatscreen games, you’re still bound to find a group of casuals, die-hards, and try-hards populating the servers.

Here’s what we think are the best cross-compatible games for Rift, Vive, Index, or Windows MR players on PC, and for console players on PSVR. You’ll find a longer explanation below our top 5 list detailing more about PSVR cross-play (spoiler: there’s only a few).

5 – Sparc

CCP’s 1v1 sports game Sparc was their last virtual reality title before shuttering their VR studios late last year. While CCP has basically called it quits on VR for now, there’s still plenty of reasons to pick up Sparc if you’re looking to connect up with a buddy.

Sparc is by all measures a great game, but it’s even greater that you can play mano-a-mano against any one of your VR headset owning goons you call friends. Sparc suffers from the same issue as many cross-platform VR games though, i.e. no support for friends lists outside of the platform you’re on, but you can always host a game and hope for matchmaking serendipity—the silver lining to a smaller user base means you’ll probably be able to match up with your friend easily.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store 

4 – Catan VR

Catan VR (2018) brings the best-selling board game Settlers of Catan to pretty much every VR headset out there, with dedicated community of players on PC VR headsets, PSVR, Oculus Go and Gear VR. You’re certain to meet Catan-lovers from all over the world, so who knows how your game will improve or what friends you’ll make along the way.

Although online play is the main focus of Catan VR, there’s also a single-player mode with ‘Catan AI Personalities’, which were designed with guidance from Catan creator Klaus Teuber.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store

3 – Space Junkies

Space Junkies (2019) is a team shooter from Ubisoft’s Montpellier studio that puts you into zero-g for some pretty familiar Unreal Tournament-style action. Although Ubisoft pulled the plug on development only a few months after the sci-fi arcade-style shooter was released, there’s still a sizable chunk of meat on the bones here, making it one of VR’s most finely-polished and fun team shooters out there.

Full cross-play adds some disparity in input; PSVR players could technically have a leg up on the competition due to DualShock 4 allowing for quicker target acquisition, although you may just find dual-wielding with motion controllers way easier and ultimately more satisfying.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store

2 – Star Trek: Bridge Crew

You don’t have to be a Trekkie (or Trekker) to see why sitting at the bridge of a star ship, cooperatively taking down hostile aliens is a really engrossing way to lose an entire afternoon/evening. With its 4-player multiplayer, you can go through the game’s half-dozen campaign missions, or alternatively experience an infinite number of procedurally-generated missions in the company of other PC VR and PSVR-owners.

Created by Ubisoft’s Red Storm Entertainment, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is worth it if only to say you’ve been where no man’s gone before.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store 

1 – Rec Room

Social apps are a fun way to talk and interact with people in VR, but if you don’t have something fun to do while you’re actually there, the novelty ultimately wears off. Anti Gravity’s Rec Room is a great way to experience fun activities like paintball or dodge ball, but the real meat of the game likes in their co-op ‘Quests’ and PvP battle royale game Rec Royale. Of course all of this is served up in a lovable cartoony environment while you have a chat with people from all over the world, or just your best buddies if you so choose. Did we mention it was free. Yeah, we can’t believe it either.

Rec Room isn’t only a great game, but it allows all players regardless of platforms to meet up, create friends and sally forth to take on all activities without the issues we mentioned above.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store

Healthy Playerbases, Cross-compatibility Issues

Let’s face it: there aren’t many other cross-play multiplayer titles that currently work on all three major headsets. It’s a fact we’ve been living with since the headsets launched in 2016, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better due to two very real roadblocks outside of the friends list issue a large portion of cross-platform games suffer from. While platform exclusives wall out a large percentage of would-be users, the ugly truth is studios simply aren’t going head-first into VR multiplayer games like they once were. Time after time, VR games that primarily feature multiplayer support have fallen to the wayside because of low hourly active user numbers, and perfectly fun games like Werewolves Within and Eagle Flight stand as testament to this.

If you buy a game and the servers aren’t populated with players, you probably won’t wait around too long for a match; it creates a vicious cycle that tends to spell the death of a game if a hardcore playerbase isn’t built-in due to things like active Discord servers or subreddits to keep people engaged outside of the matchmaking screen.

Thankfully for SteamVR headsets owners, Steam is a great resource for guaranteed cross-play on multiplayer titles; many games available through Steam offer VR support for Rift, Vive, Valve Index, and Windows VR pretty much on a de facto basis. Conversely, with a SteamVR headset and ReVive at your disposal, many Oculus Rift multiplayer titles are technically cross-play capable if you’re looking to hack your way in. It’s a pretty strange way of vaulting over the friends list roadblock, but entirely feasible if you’re motivated.

Update (January, 20th 2020): We’ve done a long-due overhaul of the list reflecting the latest developments in the games, and their cross-play abilities. We’ll be periodically updating this list as new games come out.

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‘Moon Rider’ is a WebVR Game That’s Quietly Amassed Thousands of Daily Players https://www.roadtovr.com/moon-rider-webvr-daily-players/ https://www.roadtovr.com/moon-rider-webvr-daily-players/#comments Sat, 18 Jan 2020 02:39:37 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93225
Moon Rider is a free VR rhythm game built on the WebVR standard which means it runs directly from a web browser rather than being downloaded and installed on a specific VR storefront. Its creators say the game has garnered thousands of daily players. Launched in May 2019, Moon Rider is a relatively simple VR […]

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Moon Rider is a free VR rhythm game built on the WebVR standard which means it runs directly from a web browser rather than being downloaded and installed on a specific VR storefront. Its creators say the game has garnered thousands of daily players.

Launched in May 2019, Moon Rider is a relatively simple VR rhythm game, but its web-based foundation makes it as easy to play as visiting a website, and just as easy to share with others.

Want to see for yourself?

  • On Oculus Quest: just launch the browser and enter moonrider.xyz, click the ‘Enter VR button’ at the bottom right.
  • On PC VR headsets: Launch a WebVR compatible browser (Firefox currently has the most frictionless support) then ready your VR headset by launching its base software (Oculus desktop software or SteamVR for most), then visit moonrider.xyz and click the ‘Enter VR’ button at the bottom right.

And… viola! You’re playing.

Photo captured by Road to VR

It’s this web-like ease of access that’s the crux of WebVR (and its forthcoming successor, WebXR), and what’s allowed Moon Rider to organically reach a surprisingly large audience, says one of the game’s creators, Diego Marcos, who is also the founder of Supermedium which built a browser specifically for leveraging WebVR content on VR headsets.

Marcos tells Road to VR that Moon Rider is seeing somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 daily active users with an average session duration of 45 to 60 minutes with 50% player retention. That makes Moon Rider likely the leading WebVR game to date by those metrics.

“It’s head and shoulders above anything else in the [WebVR/WebXR] space,” Macros says.

Moon Rider is built on A-Frame (of which Marcos is a maintainer) a framework which makes it easier for web developers to build WebVR content (and WebXR, which brings AR into the mix).

“The message we wanted to send with Moon Rider is that A-Frame and the Web are now ready to deliver compelling VR content with user reach,” he added.

Like Moon Rider, some other seriously impressive VR web content has also been built atop A-Frame, like Supercraft, a Google Blocks-like VR environment builder with seamless web sharing, and Mozilla Hubs, a web-based social VR chatroom that works across almost any headset, smartphone, or computer.

Moon Rider itself is open source, giving developers an opportunity to see how it was built and to use it as a foundation for their own web-based VR experiments.

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Quest Update Adds Digital IPD Indicator https://www.roadtovr.com/quest-digital-ipd-indicator-readout-update/ https://www.roadtovr.com/quest-digital-ipd-indicator-readout-update/#comments Sat, 18 Jan 2020 02:09:02 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=91592
Oculus Quest includes an IPD slider on the bottom of the headset which adjusts the distance between the lenses for ideal alignment with the user’s eyes, which is important for visual comfort and clarity. Since launch however, there’s been no way to know the actual width of the IPD setting, leaving users to mostly guess if […]

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Oculus Quest includes an IPD slider on the bottom of the headset which adjusts the distance between the lenses for ideal alignment with the user’s eyes, which is important for visual comfort and clarity. Since launch however, there’s been no way to know the actual width of the IPD setting, leaving users to mostly guess if they’ve set it correctly. In a recent update, Oculus added a digital indicator which shows the current IPD position.

Update (January 17th, 2020): A recent update to Quest has added a digital IPD indicator which makes it easier to adjust the distance between the lenses as needed for each user.

Now when you slide the IPD adjustment on the bottom of the headset, a small pop-up with an eye icon and a number shows the current IPD setting in millimeters.

On one headset we tested, the indicator ranged from 59mm to 71mm, just slightly off from the officially claimed 58mm to 72mm IPD range. Considering the indicator only reads to the nearest millimeter, we’d chalk the difference up to a margin of error from mechanical tolerances and measuring precision.

The hardware necessary for measuring the IPD position was built into Quest at launch but not active until the recent update.  As Oculus is steadily adding features to the headset with updates on a rolling basis, it isn’t clear exactly when the feature was added, but we’ve spotted it as of ‘Version’ 12.0.0.226.469.188362039.

The original article—which speculated about the feature and discussed the importance of an IPD indicator as well as how you can measure your own IPD—continues below.

Original Article (October 24th, 2019): It’s only been a few months since the launch of Quest, but the headset has already seen a range of improvements added via software updates. Passthrough+, for instance, recently rolled out, greatly improving the headset’s passthrough view with lower latency and more accurate visuals. The headset is soon to get both hand-tracking and PC tethering capabilities too. A future update is also likely to add an IPD indicator to make it easier to set the correct distance between lenses to maximize visual fidelity and comfort.

Quest IPD Indicator

At Oculus Connect last month during a Quest demo, I noticed that upon adjusting the IPD slider, a small pop-up appeared over my view which specified the current IPD width in millimeters. The readout updated as I moved the slider, allowing me to easily dial into my known IPD of 64mm.

A digital readout like this is common among other headsets which have hardware IPD adjustments, but it doesn’t yet exist in the consumer Quest. This week an Oculus spokesperson confirmed to Road to VR that the company is considering adding the feature, though they didn’t have any concrete information on when we might see it.

How do we know that this is likely to come via a software update rather than a hardware tweak? Looking at teardown photos of Quest shows that the headset’s IPD slider already includes the necessary electronics to measure its setting. This would make sense, as ideally the headset should be aware of the IPD setting so that it can adjust the rendered image accordingly (as an offset IPD can impact the sense of scale that comes from 3D visuals).

Why an IPD Indicator is Important

Though it’s possible to move Quest’s IPD slider, without a readout of the current setting, users are mostly left to guess if they’ve got the setting right since there’s really nothing to compare it to. Manually setting your IPD with no means of calibration is really difficult; even if you get close (say, within 5mm of your actual IPD), this can still notably effect visual fidelity and comfort.

SEE ALSO
Everything We Know (Officially) About the FOV and IPD of Rift S & Quest

On Quest it is possible to get a calibration screen, but it’s a clunky process and still not a particularly reliable way to get the correct IPD setting. Not having a reliable means of determining and replicating the correct setting is especially a pain when passing the headset around to others; not only is it difficult to guess where to put the setting for each user, you’ll ultimately need to dial it back in for yourself when you’re done. With a readout you could easily return the IPD to a known value.

Measuring Your IPD

Actually determining your own IPD measurement is still a clunky process in itself, and one that isn’t likely to get easier until eye-tracking hardware finds its way into more headsets. Short of asking for a precise measurement next time you visit the eye-doctor, you can also use a ruler and mirror to measure your own IPD, or ask a friend to hold a ruler close to your eyes and measure the distance between the center of each pupil.

SEE ALSO
Eye-tracking is a Game Changer for VR That Goes Far Beyond Foveated Rendering

In headsets of the future we could expect automatic IPD measurement and adjustment which would make this all much more seamless.

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Mojo is Making Contacts Smarter with Its Incredibly Tiny Microdisplay https://www.roadtovr.com/mojo-vision-smart-ar-contacts-lens/ https://www.roadtovr.com/mojo-vision-smart-ar-contacts-lens/#comments Fri, 17 Jan 2020 17:24:15 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93228
Mojo Vision is a company that’s working to produce smart contact lenses, which it hopes in the near future will let users have a non-obtrusive display without needing to wear a pair of smart glasses. CNET’s Scott Stein got a chance to go hands-on with a prototype at CES 2020 earlier this month, and although the […]

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Mojo Vision is a company that’s working to produce smart contact lenses, which it hopes in the near future will let users have a non-obtrusive display without needing to wear a pair of smart glasses.

CNET’s Scott Stein got a chance to go hands-on with a prototype at CES 2020 earlier this month, and although the company isn’t at the point just yet where it will insert the prototype tech into an unsuspecting journalist’s eyeballs, Mojo is adamant about heading in that direction; the team regularly wears the current smart contact lens prototype.

While Mojo maintains its contact lenses are still years away from getting squarely onto the eyeballs of consumers, Mojo is confident enough to say it’ll come sometime in this decade, something the company sees landing in the purview of optometrists so users can get their microdisplay-laden lenses tailored to fit their eyes.

Image courtesy Mojo Vision, via Fast Company

But just how ‘micro’ is that display supposed to be? Fast Company reports that Mojo’s latest and greatest squeezes 70,000 pixels into less than half a millimeter. Granted, that’s serving up a green monochrome microLED to the eye’s fovea, but it’s an impressive feat none the less.

On its way to consumers, Mojo says it’s first seeking FDA-approval for its contacts as a medical device that the company says will display text, sense objects, track eye motion, and see in the dark to some degree, which is intended to help users with degenerative eye diseases.

SEE ALSO
Microsoft is Aware of Significant Display Issues on Some HoloLens 2 Units

Fast Company reports that Mojo integrates a thin solid-state battery within the lens, which is meant to last all day and be charged via wireless conduction in something similar to an AirPods case when not in use. The farther-reaching goal however is continuous charging via a thin, necklace-like device. All of this tiny tech, which will also include a radio for smartphone tethering, will be covered with a painted iris.

Image courtesy Mojo Vision, via CNET

Mojo also maintains that its upcoming version will have eye-tracking and some amount of computer vision—two elements that separate smart glasses from augmented reality glasses.

Smart glasses overlay simple information into the user’s field of view although it doesn’t interact naturally with the environment. Augmented reality, which is designed to insert digital objects and information seamlessly into reality, requires accurate depth mapping and machine learning. That typically means more processing power, bigger batteries, more sensors, and larger optics for a wide enough field of view to be useful. Whether Mojo’s lenses will be able to do that remains to be seen, but it at least has a promising start as a basically invisible pair of smart glasses.

Whatever the case, it appear investors are pitching into Mojo Vision’s vision. It’s thus far garnered $108 million in venture capital investments, coming from the likes of Google’s Gradient Ventures, Stanford’s StartX fund, HP Tech Ventures, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, and LG.

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Facebook Surges in U.S. Patent Rankings Due to Mounting AR Strategy https://www.roadtovr.com/facebook-surges-u-s-patent-rankings-due-mounting-ar-strategy/ https://www.roadtovr.com/facebook-surges-u-s-patent-rankings-due-mounting-ar-strategy/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2020 22:39:45 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93221
An analysis of U.S. patents done by Fairview Research reveals that Facebook has made a significant surge in its year-over-year ranking for patents granted in 2019, something partly owed to its increased number of patents surrounding augmented reality. The news was first reported by Bloomberg. The social media giant is still only in 36th place for […]

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An analysis of U.S. patents done by Fairview Research reveals that Facebook has made a significant surge in its year-over-year ranking for patents granted in 2019, something partly owed to its increased number of patents surrounding augmented reality. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

The social media giant is still only in 36th place for companies granted U.S. patents, which in 2019 tallied a total of 989. This represents a 64 percent increase over the number of patents granted to the company in 2018 however, which consequently bumped the company up the rankings by an astounding 22 places.

Here’s a quick look at the top ten in comparison to Facebook, courtesy of Fairview Research:

Organization 2019 Grants 2018 Grants % Change Rank Change
1 International Business Machines Corp 9,262 9,100 2 0
2 Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 6,469 5,850 11 0
3 Canon Inc 3,548 3,056 16 0
4 Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC 3,081 2,353 31 3
5 Intel Corp 3,020 2,735 10 -1
6 LG Electronics Inc 2,805 2,474 14 -1
7 Apple Inc 2,490 2,160 15 2
8 Ford Global Technologies LLC 2,468 2,123 16 2
9 Amazon Technologies Inc 2,427 2,035 19 3
10 Huawei Technologies Co Ltd 2,418 1,680 44 6
36 Facebook Inc 989 602 64 22

 

Bloomberg notes that Facebook’s ‘Optical Elements’ category showed a nearly six-fold jump year-over-year, tallying a total of 169 patents. A majority of that growth however is said to come from the ‘Heads-Up Displays’ sub-category, which can either serve augmented or virtual reality depending on its intended use.

Of the many granted, here’s a few of the most interesting AR/VR patents we’ve found:

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Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Thinks AR/VR is a Solution to the Housing Crisis

Outside of optimal element-related patents, many of the patents granted to Facebook in 2019 dealt with things like eye-tracking, online content delivery, and machine learning, the latter of which carries with it broad implications across all computing mediums and AR alike thanks to its use in computer vision tasks.

And while patents alone don’t tell the whole story, it’s apparent Facebook is mounting up to release an AR headset at some point in the near future. A number of the company’s hardware and software-related job listings last year made a prescient mention of Facebook-built AR headset.

With a growing number of Facebook-employed AR/VR professionals and a mounting catalog of IP, it’s clear Facebook isn’t just flirting with the idea of entering into the AR space, but rather it has a definite intention of owning a significant slice of the market.

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‘Path of the Warrior’ Gets Co-op with Cross-play Between Quest & Rift https://www.roadtovr.com/path-of-the-warrior-co-op-cross-play-quest-rift/ https://www.roadtovr.com/path-of-the-warrior-co-op-cross-play-quest-rift/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2020 21:08:43 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93218
Oculus-exclusive VR beat ’em up Path of the Warrior got a new update today enabling co-op, including cross-play between Quest & Rift. Published by Oculus Studios, developer Twisted Pixel launched Path of the Warrior last month on Quest and Rift. The title reimagines beat ’em up action for VR from classics like Double Dragon (1987) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The […]

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Oculus-exclusive VR beat ’em up Path of the Warrior got a new update today enabling co-op, including cross-play between Quest & Rift.

Published by Oculus Studios, developer Twisted Pixel launched Path of the Warrior last month on Quest and Rift. The title reimagines beat ’em up action for VR from classics like Double Dragon (1987) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game (1989).

While the co-op feature was announced at launch, it wasn’t available until today. A free update added Path of the Warrior co-op multiplayer, letting you team up with a friend across all single player levels.

Better still, the game also supports cross-buy (if you buy on Rift, you can also play it on Quest and vice versa) and cross-play, which means that Quest and Rift players can play co-op together.

SEE ALSO
Where to Find All Quest & Rift Cross-buy Apps in One Place

Not segmenting players by headset is a good idea, not only because it opens more avenues for friends to play together, but also because it helps bolster the multiplayer population of a given VR game. We’d love to see more games which go even further by offering cross-platform multiplayer (like playing between Quest and Vive), but unfortunately Path of the Warrior is an Oculus exclusive which means it’s only available on select Oculus headsets.

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Oculus Go Now Permanently Priced at $150, All Supported Countries to See Similar Drop https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-go-now-permanently-priced-150-supported-countries-see-similar-drop/ https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-go-now-permanently-priced-150-supported-countries-see-similar-drop/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2020 18:31:06 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93216
Facebook slashed the price of Oculus Go for Black Friday, and kept it for the post-holiday season. Now, the company has confirmed that it’s permanently sticking with that pricing scheme, which comes to $150 for the 32GB version and $200 for the $64GB version. Residents in the Euro Zone will find both Oculus Go variants […]

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Facebook slashed the price of Oculus Go for Black Friday, and kept it for the post-holiday season. Now, the company has confirmed that it’s permanently sticking with that pricing scheme, which comes to $150 for the 32GB version and $200 for the $64GB version.

Residents in the Euro Zone will find both Oculus Go variants for €160/€220, and for £140/£190 in the UK. Regional Amazon sites and Oculus.com currently reflect the new permanent price.

Facebook confirmed the pricing scheme with UploadVR, stating that “Oculus Go is now priced at $149 USD, which is equal to a $50 price drop. We are applying comparable discounts across all countries where Go is sold. Updated pricing is rolling out to all channels.”

Launched in May 2018 for $200/$250, Oculus Go was the company’s first standalone VR headset. It’s major claim to fame was its low-friction appeal to new VR users, which gave access to a respectable library of games and experiences that were generated over the life cycle of its smartphone-driven predecessor, Samsung Gear VR.

Image courtesy Oculus

Like Gear VR, Oculus Go only has head tracking (three degrees of freedom) and comes with a single controller, which is basically targeted at casual users looking for an easy way to either consume media or play simpler games than you might find on the company’s $400/$450 positionally-tracked standalone, Oculus Quest.

Granted, you probably won’t see many new games or apps being created for Go, as it largely benefited from the company’s previous content investment for Gear VR. It is however an absolute steal if you’re looking for a dedicated media device for Netflix/Hulu/YouTube viewing and don’t mind the lack of VR’s most compelling games, which by design can only be played on either PC VR headsets such as Oculus Rift or Valve Index, or Oculus Quest.

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Retro-inspired Adventure ‘Pixel Ripped 1995’ to Launch Spring 2020 https://www.roadtovr.com/retro-inspired-adventure-pixel-ripped-1995-launch-spring-2020/ https://www.roadtovr.com/retro-inspired-adventure-pixel-ripped-1995-launch-spring-2020/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2020 14:20:12 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93213
Pixel Ripped 1995, the sequel to the nostalgia-soaked VR game Pixel Ripped 1989 (2018), is now slated to launch this spring. Created by São Paulo-based studio ARVORE, Pixel Ripped 1995 jumps six years forward into the history of gaming, leaving behind the 8-bit handhelds of the late ’80s and dipping its toes into the era of 16-bit and 32-bit […]

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Pixel Ripped 1995, the sequel to the nostalgia-soaked VR game Pixel Ripped 1989 (2018), is now slated to launch this spring.

Created by São Paulo-based studio ARVORE, Pixel Ripped 1995 jumps six years forward into the history of gaming, leaving behind the 8-bit handhelds of the late ’80s and dipping its toes into the era of 16-bit and 32-bit consoles—all of course following the same trippy game-within-a-game style that Pixel Ripped 1989 pioneered.

Arvore says we should expect to find plenty of homages to ’90s games; to the studio, Pixel Ripped 1995 focuses on the historical transition from 2D to 3D gaming, as it includes action RPGs, brawlers, 2D and 3D platformers, space shooters and racing games.

The game is said to include six levels, which the studio says should individually “feel like an entire new game.”

Pixel Ripped 1995 is slated to support Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, PSVR, and SteamVR headsets when it launches this spring. If you’re planning to play on a SteamVR headset, you can add it to your Steam wishlist in the meantime.

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Microsoft is Aware of Significant Display Issues on Some HoloLens 2 Units https://www.roadtovr.com/hololens-2-display-color-issue-microsoft-aware/ https://www.roadtovr.com/hololens-2-display-color-issue-microsoft-aware/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2020 09:49:33 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93191
Microsoft began shipping its latest AR headset, HoloLens 2 in November. After a slow initial rollout, devices are getting out into the hands of more developers and reports have surfaced that many units are exhibiting significant color-consistency issues. Microsoft has acknowledged the problems and says its working with customers to understand the cause. HoloLens 2 […]

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Microsoft began shipping its latest AR headset, HoloLens 2 in November. After a slow initial rollout, devices are getting out into the hands of more developers and reports have surfaced that many units are exhibiting significant color-consistency issues. Microsoft has acknowledged the problems and says its working with customers to understand the cause.

HoloLens 2 is Microsoft’s latest AR headset, boasting a larger field of view, greater resolution, and improved hand-tracking compared to the original HoloLens.

While the original headset wasn’t exactly know for a high level of color-consistency, several HoloLens 2 units that we’ve seen appear to be much worse off, showing an obvious rainbow-like pattern over virtual imagery displayed by the headset.

A through-the-lens view of HoloLens 2 | Image courtesy Reddit user hegemonbill

It’s unclear how widespread the issue is, but Microsoft confirmed that it’s aware of the problem and working to identify the cause. A Microsoft spokesperson shared the following with Road to VR:

“Microsoft continues to invest and innovate in the field of display technology. Microsoft HoloLens 2 contains a new type of display that more than doubles the field of view of the original HoloLens and is the result of a set of balanced display trade-offs. We are aware of reports from some developers experiencing issues with their displays and we’re working closely with them to understand the underlying cause.”

HoloLens creator Alex Kipman responded to a twitter user who posted pictures of the color-consistency issue.

In a string of tweets Kipman said that photos of the headset’s display through a camera wouldn’t look accurate because the headset incorporates eye-tracking into its display. He also encouraged those with issues to reach out to contact him:

Friends, we have a binocular system that forms an image at the back of your eyes not in front of it. Eye tracking is fully in the loop to correct comfort which also includes color.

Eye relief (the distance from lens to your pupil) changes the image quality. Further out you are, worse the image quality becomes in terms of MTF as well as color uniformity.

Taking monocle pictures from a phone (or other camera) is completely outside of our spec and not how the product is experienced.

When you look at it with both eyes, at the right eye relief (somewhere between 12-30 mm from your eyes) with eye tracking turned on, you experience something very different.

If you are having issues experiencing our product, first our apologies, second please get a hold of us (akipman@microsoft.com is your friend) and let’s engage on how we can solve your issues. Team is fully leaned in and listening.

Granted, in all five or so of the HoloLens 2 units which I’ve personally tried, it was immediately apparent that the colors across the display were highly inconsistent, which was the impetus for asking Microsoft if they were aware of the issue. With a $3,500 price tag, I can understand why developers getting headsets with this issue would be concerned.

On the plus side, HoloLens 2 seems to be everything else that Microsoft has promised with regards to improved field of view, resolution, and hand-tracking. It also seems to have exceptional ergonomics (when used with the top strap) thanks to its light weight, balanced design, and large eyebox.

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‘Darknet’ Dev Fuses Physics-based VR Combat & Turn-based Strategy in ‘Ironlights’ https://www.roadtovr.com/darknet-e-mcneill-ironlights-kickstarter/ https://www.roadtovr.com/darknet-e-mcneill-ironlights-kickstarter/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2020 14:25:06 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93198
E McNeill, the developer behind VR strategy games Darknet (2015), Tactera (2016), and Astraeus (2018), is launching a new VR title soon that aims to bring a strategic bend to the melee combat genre. Called Ironlights, the still in-development game is setting itself apart from other physics-based melee titles by offering up a dynamic ‘back-and-forth’ combat scheme, which is […]

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E McNeill, the developer behind VR strategy games Darknet (2015), Tactera (2016), and Astraeus (2018), is launching a new VR title soon that aims to bring a strategic bend to the melee combat genre.

Called Ironlightsthe still in-development game is setting itself apart from other physics-based melee titles by offering up a dynamic ‘back-and-forth’ combat scheme, which is designed to further eliminate careless controller waggling by way of a novel turn-based combat system. During a turn, only the attacker can land strikes while the defender must do their best to dodge or parry the incoming blows.

As a physics-based game, all weapons have weight and momentum. However striking an enemy automatically enters you into slow motion, forcing you move your body in slow-mo in order to maintain “optimal control” of your weapons.

In Ironlights, you’re also only allowed one hit per swing, as weapons shatter after each hit instead of bouncing off. By design, this is meant to side-step the sort of disconnect you might feel when you strike a virtual enemy and your physical controller keeps moving. McNeill says to think of it “sort of like a VR version of Street Fighter or Soul Caliber, mixed with SUPERHOT and maybe a dash of Beat Saber.”

Although Ironlights is said to be nearly finished, with launch slated for Spring 2020, the studio is searching for $15,000 in extra funding via a Kickstarter campaign, which promises a 25% discount off the full game ($20 MSRP) when it goes live later this year on Oculus Quest, Rift, and SteamVR headsets. The funds, McNeill says, will help bring to the game more armor models; backers at the $30 and above will get early access to the game.

SEE ALSO
Hands-on: Pico Neo 2 Could Be the Next Best Standalone After Quest

The game is set to include five classes at launch, which includes the Knight (two-handed greatsword), Duelist (rapier & buckler), Monk (staff), Ninja (dual katar-style daggers), and Crusader (flail & shield). And while it promises a single-player campaign, which will include duels, tournaments, and exhibition matches, the game is also targeting cross-platform multiplayer, featuring online and LAN-based modes.

Starting out in VR development is 2013, McNeill has since produced four VR games, including the early Gear VR hit Darknet. He’s been secretly working on Ironlights for some time now with Rockstar Games veteran Geoff Barber, something he calls his “biggest game yet.”

In addition to McNeill’s VR development chops and Barber’s programming expertise, much of the 3D art was built by SuperGenius, a high-caliber art studio which has worked with Blizzard, Double Fine, and Oculus. The game’s thumping soundtrack was composed by EDM artist Jordan Aguirre (aka bLiNd), who also created a few of the game’s sound effects.

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‘Beat Saber’ Takes Top Spot as PSVR’s Most Downloaded Game of 2019 https://www.roadtovr.com/beat-saber-top-psvr-download-2019/ https://www.roadtovr.com/beat-saber-top-psvr-download-2019/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2020 11:35:28 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93195
No surprises here: Beat Saber (2018) was officially the most downloaded game on PSVR in 2019, which goes for both the US and Europe. Notably, Beat Saber has continuously taken the number one spot on the US PlayStation Store since its release on PSVR in November 2018, with the exception of a two-month break in May and June 2019 […]

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No surprises here: Beat Saber (2018) was officially the most downloaded game on PSVR in 2019, which goes for both the US and Europe.

Notably, Beat Saber has continuously taken the number one spot on the US PlayStation Store since its release on PSVR in November 2018, with the exception of a two-month break in May and June 2019 when Five Nights at Freddy’s VR (2019) temporarily dethroned the block-slashing rhythm game, forcing it down to third and fourth places respectively.

Its continued success is a testament to not only the game’s general replayability, as it now includes an even harder ‘Expert+’ mode, but to its constant influx of both free and paid DLC, which has nearly tripled the number of playable tracks available at launch on the platform. Beat Games, now a Facebook game studio, has thus far added tracks from the likes of Green Day, Panic at the Disco!, Imagine Dragons, and a number of artists under the Monstercat music label.

Check out the full lists below:

PlayStation USA

  1. Beat Saber
  2. SUPERHOT VR
  3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
  4. Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted
  5. Job Simulator
  6. Creed: Rise to Glory
  7. Borderlands 2 VR
  8. Firewall Zero Hour
  9. Blood & Truth
  10. PlayStation VR Worlds
SEE ALSO
'Boneworks' Outpaces 'Beat Saber' to 100K Units, Earns an Estimated $3M in First Week

PlayStation Europe

  1. Beat Saber
  2. Blood & Truth
  3. Job Simulator
  4. SUPERHOT VR
  5. Creed: Rise to Glory
  6. ASTRO BOT RESCUE MISSION VR
  7. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
  8. Arizona Sunshine
  9. Farpoint
  10. Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality

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Index Sold Out in all 31 Regions, Valve “working hard” to Meet Demand Ahead of ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-index-sold-out-stock-half-life-alyx/ https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-index-sold-out-stock-half-life-alyx/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2020 21:14:01 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=92410
With just two months or so until the launch of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve is still struggling to meet demand for its Index VR headset. Our latest check on Valve Index stock and availability shows that nearly every package of the headset is completely sold out in all 31 regions where sold. Update (January 14th, 2019): After a comprehensive […]

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With just two months or so until the launch of Half-Life: Alyx, Valve is still struggling to meet demand for its Index VR headset. Our latest check on Valve Index stock and availability shows that nearly every package of the headset is completely sold out in all 31 regions where sold.

Update (January 14th, 2019): After a comprehensive check of Valve Index stock and availability in all 31 countries in which Index is sold, we found that the headset is sold out across the globe.

The Valve Index hardware comes in several packages:

  • Headset + Controllers + Base Stations (AKA ‘Full Kit’)
  • Headset + Controllers
  • Headset-only
  • Controllers-only
  • Base Station-only

Across all regions, except Japan, none of the packages are in stock and available for immediate purchase.

Japan is the only region where all Index packages aren’t sold out across the board; orders there are handled by Valve’s regional partner Degica which reports that the ‘Headset + Controllers’ and ‘Headset-only’ are still in stock, while ‘Full Kit’, ‘Controllers-only’, and ‘Base Station-only’ are all sold out.

In response to the demand, Valve appears to have revamped its Index page to make it easier to know when Index is back in stock. Where a simple ‘Back in Stock Soon’ message used to reside, all pages now have a ‘Notify Me’ button allowing logged-in users to sign up for an alert when stock becomes available. The message at the top of the window reads, “We’re busy catching up with demand for Valve Index!”

“We are working hard to build more units and meet the high demand,” a Valve spokesperson told Road to VR on Monday. “We are targeting to be back in stock before Half-Life: Alyx ships.”


Update (December 2nd, 2019): Just days after we spotted that Index has been sold out in some regions following the announcement of Half-Life: Alyx,  the Index ‘full kit’ now notes that “delivery before December 25th cannot be guaranteed” due to “recent high demand” on the US and Canadian Steam stores.

The other packages (headset + controllers, headset-only, and controllers-only) in the US are still out of stock with a “Back in Stock Soon” message in place of the “Add to Cart” button.

Original Article (November 27th, 2019): If Valve is counting on Half-Life: Alyx being a killer app for VR, early signs suggest they may just get their wish.

While Valve’s Index headset was backordered at launch earlier this year, a few months later it became available for ‘immediate shipping’ and stock appears to have held steady ever since… until now.

Following last week’s announcement of Half-Life: Alyx, most Index packages—the headset-only, controllers-only, and headset + controller packages—are currently listed in the US and Canadian stores as sold out with a ‘Back in Stock Soon’ message in place of the order button.

As for the ‘full kit’ package (headset + controllers + base stations) in the US, Valve is advising that anyone ordering today can “expect delivery before December 25th,” nearly a month from now.

Valve sells Index in 31 countries; so far we’ve confirmed stock shortages in the US and Canada.

Update (November 28th, 2019): Road to VR reader Immersive Computing reports that the UK version of the Steam store is showing regular 4-8 day delivery times on all Index kits. We’ve also confirmed that availability in Italy is nominal.

If you can access the Steam store in a region other than the US, UK, and Italy, please check the Index page on Steam and drop us a comment below with what kind of shipping availability you see on each kit.

SEE ALSO
'Half-Life: Alyx' Will Run on All SteamVR Headsets, Free for Index Owners

While Valve has confirmed that Half-Life: Alyx will be compatible with all PC VR headsets via Steam, the game is expected to play best on Index thanks in part to the advanced finger-tracking capabilities of the Index controllers. Valve also announced that it would be giving Half-Life: Alyx away to any owners of Index hardware (headset or controllers).

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Thinks AR/VR is a Solution to the Housing Crisis https://www.roadtovr.com/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-ar-vr-telepresence-housing-crisis/ https://www.roadtovr.com/facebook-mark-zuckerberg-ar-vr-telepresence-housing-crisis/#comments Sat, 11 Jan 2020 21:42:20 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93176
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today laid out a range of topics on which he and his company will focus over the next decade. By 2030, he says, AR and VR telepresence could allow employees to work remotely from anywhere in the world, alleviating the affordable housing crisis of increasingly populated cities. In a post on […]

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today laid out a range of topics on which he and his company will focus over the next decade. By 2030, he says, AR and VR telepresence could allow employees to work remotely from anywhere in the world, alleviating the affordable housing crisis of increasingly populated cities.

In a post on Facebook today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was taking a long-term outlook on the future, emphasizing what he believes will be important areas of focus over the next 10 years.

He reiterated his long held belief that AR and VR are the next major computing platform, and that their key capability is being able to make users feel physically present with people and places even across vast distances. That’s the crux of why his company acquired Oculus back in 2014 for some $2.4 billion.

“[…] at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology,” and when that happens, Zuckerberg said, the tech will be ripe for alleviating geographically-imposed inequality.

Augmented and virtual reality are about delivering a sense of presence — the feeling that you’re right there with another person or in another place. Instead of having devices that take us away from the people around us, the next platform will help us be more present with each other and will help the technology get out of the way. Even though some of the early devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology platforms anyone has built yet.

The ability to be “present” anywhere will also help us address some of the biggest social issues of our day — like ballooning housing costs and inequality of opportunity by geography. Today, many people feel like they have to move to cities because that’s where the jobs are. But there isn’t enough housing in many cities, so housing costs are skyrocketing while quality of living is decreasing. Imagine if you could live anywhere you chose and access any job anywhere else. If we deliver on what we’re building, this should be much closer to reality by 2030.

Of course, there’s plenty of jobs which will simply never be able to be replaced by AR and VR telepresence, but a wide swath of today’s service-based economy could be a perfect fit.

SEE ALSO
Facebook Publishes New Research on Hyper-realistic Virtual Avatars

Zuckerberg isn’t alone in his belief that AR and VR will radically alter the way that humans interact at a distance. Even today—well before the devices, platforms, apps are perfected—we’re already starting to see glimpses of the technology being used to transform work and entertainment.

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