Earlier this month Ubisoft announced a new brand deal with haptic clothing creator OWO, which produces a thin and light shirt featuring electrode-based haptics. Strangely enough, the partnership isn’t targeted at the upcoming VR game Assassin’s Creed Nexus, but rather the non-VR game Assassin’s Creed Mirage.

OWO’s haptics provide 10 electrified zones around the user’s torso and arms, something the company says can deliver 30 sensations, with various impacts including bullet wounds, punches, machine gun recoil, wind and more. It seems like the ideal candidate for an Assassin’s Creed VR tie-in, but Ubisoft isn’t saying as much. Yet.

Image courtesy OWO

We reached out to OWO to see whether the company’s unique haptic shirt would eventually support Ubisoft’s upcoming Assassin’s Creed VR game. While the answer was non-committal, OWO says its partnership with Ubisoft doesn’t stop at Mirage.

“Currently, the only Ubisoft title announced to work with the OWO Haptic Gaming System is Assassin’s Creed Mirage,” an OWO spokesperson tells Road to VR. “As this is a long-term partnership, more Ubisoft titles will be announced in the near future.”

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Notably, OWO already supports a handful of VR titles, such as Half-Life: AlyxPistol Whip, Beat Saber, Bonelab, Until You Fall, and Arizona Sunshine. These are all PC versions that require third-party mods, however individual developers can choose to support the vest on most any device since it connects via Bluetooth, much like bHaptics’ various haptic devices.

To boot, Ubisoft says it’s supporting OWO on Assassin’s Creed Mirage versions on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC. The edition will be available initially for purchase on OWO’s official website and will be sold as a bundle with the Assassin’s Creed Mirage game available through different retailers later on, the company says. Pricing isn’t clear yet, although the haptic shirt sells direct from OWO for €500 (~$560).

Equally unclear is when the special edition OWO shirt will launch; AC Mirage itself launches October 12th this year. Still, that leaves a fair amount of time between now and then to add in OWO support for Nexus, which is launching exclusively on Quest sometime Holiday 2023.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • ViRGiN

    Wow, even Ubisoft is doing more for and with VR than Valve ever could!

  • Gonzax

    It makes zero sense to support a haptic vest in a flat game, to be honest. Even less when it does in a flat game and not in VR.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      Why not? It’s not like people cannot feel immersed in a game played on a flat monitor, and gamepads have had rumble motors to increase immersion since the introduction of the PS2 DualShock controller in 1997. Sure, games can be a lot more immersive in VR, but VR has no monopoly here.

      OWO themselves never limited the use to VR, their website lists it as compatible with “VR, Console, PC, Mobile, Tablet”. In the end it is just a device connected with Bluetooth that can be addressed by an application or game engine via an API. And its use isn’t limited to games, someone could come up with a balance training mobile app for the elderly that provides physical feedback. For more nefarious use cases I’d suggest starting by looking up the PainStation.

      And the reason to not start with Assassin’s Creed Nexus, but Mirage instead, is obviously user numbers. AC Valhalla had accumulated more than 20mn players by October 2022, about two years after lauch, across multiple platforms and services. AC Mirage will be released for PS4/5, Xbox One/Series S/X and PC, roughly a 200mn+ (active) devices base. Quest 2 sold about 20mn, active user numbers were 6.37mn in 2022-10 according to internal Meta documents/WSJ.

      How likely is it that a lot of Quest 2 users that bought their HMD for USD 299/USD 399 would add a USD 499 haptic vest that would only support the Quest 2/3 exclusive AC Nexus, compared to someone that owns one of the (more expensive) devices supported by AC Mirage that also allow it to use it with other (already modded) games like Fortnite, LoL, PUBG, CS:GO, Rocket League or Halo Infinite. Only about 1/3rd of the 22 compatible games listed are for VR, and all of these are modded PCVR games. Ubisoft could of course also support AC Nexus, as mentioned all it needs is Bluetooth, but I seriously doubt that many of the comparatively small number of Quest 2/3 users would even consider making the extra investment.

      It may in principle make less sense (but more the zero) to use a haptic vest with a flat game, but it may also may make even less sense to support a platform that may fit well, but cannot provide a sufficiently large audience willing to pay for a haptic device, leaving flat game support as the smarter option.

      • Gonzax

        Yeah, you’re probably right, I still feel it suits VR much better, at least from a player’s perspective, surely not so much from a business one but I agree, what you say makes perfect sense.

      • Dragon Marble

        While that may be true, feeling, say, a bullet hitting me when I am not even inside the world sounds very gimmicky to me.

        • Christian Schildwaechter

          You again restrict being “inside the world” to 360° VR. That may be your personal experience, but a short search for “jumpscare compilation” on YouTube should demonstrate that you can be pretty deep “inside” even on a flat screen. I’m also sure that avid readers of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter or D&D players wouldn’t consider pictures a necessity for getting fully immersed into a world they basically have to create inside their head, the description alone will be fine. They’d most likely agree with the gimmicky part, but I’m sure a lot of CS:GO players would go for virtual bullets hitting them if it was more affordable.

          • Dragon Marble

            Yes, you can get scared watching a horror movie, but I personally would reserve the word “immersion” for things that requires no imagination whatsoever, such as instinctively dodging an arrow flying toward you, which never happens on flat screens.

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            VR requires you to still imagine that you are moving your legs while pressing a joystick, that you grab an object while actually holding a piece of plastic, that those dumb NPCs are somewhat intelligent beings, that your hands have not suddenly turned into a pair of clumsy boxing gloves unusable for pretty much anything you’d usually use them for, and ignore that you don’t end up with a concussion and lots of bruises from all the contact you have with visible, but not physical present objects.

            VR requires a lot of imagination, it just helps that the brain is rather willing to fill a lot of the missing gaps, as long as enough signals are there indicating that something is happening. There has been a lot of discussion regarding immersion vs presence in the early days of consumer VR, a discussion that interestingly has died down a lot, but by now we know that a proper reaction of the world is way more important for the feeling of “real” than e.g. the quality of the graphics. So a cartoony mini golf game can feel more “real” than a scene with very realistic assets and lighting, where everything seems static and the object physics is just wrong.

            The separation from other media is very artificial, immersion is mostly a head game and depends more on the ability/willingness to get involved than the technical implementation. People allegedly ran out of the first primitive cinemas because they were afraid of getting hit by the trains shown there. VR is still very far from no longer requiring imagination whatsoever, and will remain there even if we get full body haptic suits with forced feedback and omnidirectional treadmills. You’d pretty much need a BCI that also covers senses like heat, balance, smell and taste even after we have perfect visual, auditory, touch and body position simulation.

          • Dragon Marble

            You are over analyzing. Immersion is something you either feel it, or not; there’s nothing in between.

            Granted, after a while, you lose some of those sensations even in VR — I am not afraid of heights anymore in VR, for example. The visual aspects of VR are the fastest to wear off, but the physical part has lasting power. That’s probably why the most popular VR games are the likes of Beat Saber and Gorilla Tag, beating even RE4.

            There are things that are not just better in VR; they are possible only in VR. This technology is not a gradual evolution; it’s a quantum leap — just like motion picture once was.

            I understand us enthusiasts have overestimated VR adoption and market growth. But that does not diminish the power of VR in my mind.

    • JakeDunnegan

      I don’t think they’re supporting that particular game; it’s a marketing tie-in only.

      More than likely, Ubisoft worked with the Haptic vest on the other game, and since it’s not ready, but the haptic group wanted some free marketing (or something along those lines) they offered up the Mirage bit.

      I mean, if I buy a League of Legends keyboard b/c it has neat colors, and I’ve never even played League of Legends…see how that works? And it’s not like the LoL keyboard has anything special on it, outside of the cool colors. (Not a perfect analogy, except that the tool does nothing special for the game; it’s just a marketing tie in.)

  • BananaBreadBoy

    Very odd they chose to advertise this with Mirage instead. Guessing more people would buy it?

    • ViRGiN

      No VR players expects “some level of “prep””. You are talking about wannabe-influencers. Developers are not supporting any sort of accessories in masses, over 99.9% of software does not support anything at all. And the potential titles you may find have since long broken the compatibility in one way or another.

  • I still have PTSD after my test with OWO… not sure I would like to play a game every day with it lol

  • CrusaderCaracal

    That’s a cool design but i don’t really see the use of a haptic suit in flatscreen mode. Definitely would be sick for a future assassins creed vr game