Tag Archives: virtual reality

E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

Summer’s just around the corner, and gamers know exactly what that means. E3 is in town, and The Big Three console makers are ready to show off the best they have to offer. For 2016, Microsoft took a big swing by introducing loads of new hardware, including a new Xbox console debuting in August, as well as its next-gen beast due out in 2017. Sony and Nintendo, on the other hand, laser-focused on their respective games library. The PS4 is on the verge of transforming into a virtual reality conduit, and Sony packed quite the punch with its PS VR launch lineup. Nintendo, meanwhile, lifted the veil off the next game in the coveted Legend of Zelda franchise and it looks spectacular. If there’s a theme to be had here, it’s that all three companies are churning out visually splendid and heart-pounding experiences coming to systems this year and beyond. It’s a great time to be a gamer.

For the full scoop from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo at E3, jump after the break. READ MORE E3 roundup: The latest and greatest from Microsoft, Sony & Nintendo inside

Microsoft demonstrates virtual collaboration with VR/AR unifier Windows Holographic

Microsoft’s making a point with its latest glimpse into the future. Instead of choosing a side in the race to develop virtual and augmented reality technologies, the Windows maker is embracing a mixed reality, and it’s a vision that aims to break down the barriers between our physical world and the endless potential of a virtual space. Powering the company’s mixed reality is Windows Holographic, a platform embedded inside Windows 10 that enables end-users to transform the physical world around them with interactive holograms. In the video demonstration above, Microsoft promotes a collaborative experience where multiple users can virtually meet up, plan, and execute ideas in real time.

Collaboration is the key here. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the gamer featured in this clip is not wearing Microsoft’s HoloLens hardware. In fact, he’s sporting a VR headset designed by HTC called Vive. It’s one of the more popular VR devices out today, a direct competitor of Oculus’s Rift. So what is it doing here, featured in Microsoft’s mixed reality demonstration? Well, MSFT aims to bridge the gap (see a trend here?) between competing VR and AR offerings by opening up the Windows Holographic platform to partners including HTC, ASUS, Intel, Dell, HP, Lenovo and other pioneers in the PC market. Whether or not Microsoft succeeds in becoming the definitive holographic interface is a question for another day, but you must commend its forward-thinking initiative for inclusivity.

The first step in creating this future was taken in March when Microsoft began shipping out the first HoloLens units to developers. The company says that there are already hundreds of Windows Holographic-infused apps in the Windows Store today as developers continue to mine the headset and its underlying, universal platform for its potential across a multitude of industries including entertainment and education.

With the Rift and Vive out in the wild, and Sony’s PS4-powered PSVR device just around the corner, VR is about to blow up and it sure will be interesting to watch Microsoft respond with a decidedly different approach to our VR AR MR future.

[Via Microsoft] READ MORE Microsoft demonstrates virtual collaboration with VR/AR unifier Windows Holographic

Sony solidifies PlayStation VR launch details with bundles starting at $399

Virtual reality is on the cusp of going mainstream. While VR innovators Oculus and HTC are readying their headsets, Sony is prepared to attack the market with PlayStation VR. You see, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require powerful computers to run effectively, and not everybody invests in such pricey machinery. PS VR, formally known as Project Morpheus, simply requires a PlayStation 4 video game console to run, and Sony has the most potential to succeed here first because it can rely on its 36 million PS4 units sold since the console’s release in 2013. No doubt about it–advantage: Sony.

As we inch closer to fall, Sony’s finally made some key launch details known. PS VR releases this October starting at $399. At that price you’ll get the VR headset and all of the required cables plus stereo headphones. On launch day (still TBA), the PlayStation Store will offer a free copy of The Playroom VR so new owners of the headset will have an immersive game to demo when friends come over.

What doesn’t come in the $399 package is the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move motion controllers, the former a required PS4 accessory to make PS VR work. The Camera tracks your movement and the controllers bring your arms and hands into the action. The Camera ($49.78 at Amazon) and Move motion controllers ($28.85) have always been sold separately from the PS4. When PS VR comes out, however, Sony has also prepared a “launch bundle” that will include the Camera and two Move motion controllers, in addition to an exclusive title PlayStation VR Worlds. This $499 package will be available to preorder starting Tuesday, March 22 at 10AM ET at participating retailers, including Amazon. The aforementioned “core bundle,” which assumes that you at least already own the Camera, will not be available for preorder at this time. Update: Sony’s performed an about-face here and has decided to make the core bundle available for preorder on Tuesday, March 29 at 10AM ET.

Launch lineup and spec talk after the break. READ MORE Sony solidifies PlayStation VR launch details with bundles starting at $399

Harmonix & Oculus team up to bring ‘Rock Band’ to virtual reality in 2016

Rock Band just made its comeback on consoles with Rock Band 4 on Xbox One and PS4, but that wasn’t enough for developer Harmonix. The company behind the original incarnations of Guitar Hero is hard at work on bringing the Rock Band experience to virtual reality via the Oculus RiftRock Band VR–as it’s being called for now–will suitably place the gamer on stage in front of a roaring crowd ready to hear some rock and roll. Harmonix and Oculus are keeping pretty mum on the exciting project. All we’ve got to go on is this quick clip that invites Dragonforce into the fold. Any Guitar Hero fan will remember the classic (arguably hardest) track featured in Guitar Hero III, Dragonforce’s heavy metal “Through the Fire and Flames.” The VR version of the game will come with this song in tow. The video has fun with the musicians paling around with Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopulos and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. It’s the final 20 seconds, though, that’ll get your heart racing in anticipation of the VR title; the nostalgic track plays as you catch a glimpse of what it’ll be like to live our your rockstar dreams like never before. How cool would it be to look around and see your bandmates playing right alongside you, feeding off your stage presence and the crowd’s energy? Both the Rift headset and the game aren’t due out until next year, so there’s still plenty of time for Harmonix and Oculus to invent imaginative ways to bring Rock Band into the untapped world of virtual reality.

E3 2015: Sony relies on classic franchises to invigorate the PS4

Sony is second to show off its latest wares at E3 2015. Following Microsoft’s impressive lineup of first and third party games coming to Xbox One this year and beyond, was Sony about to keep up and keep the hits coming? Jump after the break for the full rundown. READ MORE E3 2015: Sony relies on classic franchises to invigorate the PS4

E3 2015: Microsoft kicks Xbox One into high gear with exciting games lineup and backwards compatibility

Microsoft kicked off E3 2015 with a media briefing that mostly included first-looks at anticipated game sequels and new IPs, and also a dash of exciting software and hardware announcements. It’s all for you after the break. READ MORE E3 2015: Microsoft kicks Xbox One into high gear with exciting games lineup and backwards compatibility

@ Super Creative: ‘Facebook aims to take virtual reality to new heights with Oculus VR, here’s how’

Editor’s note: On Monday I announced my partnership with Super Creative. Going forward, whenever I contribute a post to SC’s site, I’ll be sure to hang a link here at [experience-it-all] so you don’t miss out.

Today, Super Creative discusses Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR, an innovative company at the forefront of the virtual reality revolution, and the ways in which VR can be used beyond gaming.

Click here for more.

Sony reveals Project Morpheus, virtual reality for PS4 gamers

From Virtual Boy to true Virtual Reality–[expletive] is about to get real.

This month at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony revealed the latest piece of hardware they’re working on. No, it’s not the PS5 but rather”Project Morpheus.” That’s the code name for their attempt at virtual reality hardware. It’s something that’s straight out of the future–a sophisticated-looking head-mounted unit gets strapped to your noggin and you peer into two LCD 1080p displays (that merge into one) with a 90 degree field of view. Simply put, Morpheus is going to fully immerse you in games like never before. Or in Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida words Morpheus promises “to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play.”

Morpheus, at its core, aims to “create experiences that deliver a sense of presence – where players feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game.” Furthermore, “presence is like a window into another world that heightens the emotions gamers experience as they play.” I think you get the picture.

Morpheus is PlayStation branded hardware that is still very much in the prototype stage. A handful of details, however, managed to trickle out from GDC as a number of units were in fact playable at the conference. The VR headset works in tandem with PS4; accelerometer and gyroscope sensors inside collaborate with the PlayStation Camera to deliver VR experiences. Also, the PlayStation Move controller as well as the PS4’s standard DualShock controller assist in said experiences. For example, future gamers will strap Morpheus on and be transported to a castle with a fire-breathing dragon. Tilt and move around your head as if you are actually there to view your landscape. Whip out your PS Move controller and suddenly you wield a sword to take down the otherworldly beast.

In addition to visuals, Sony is also making Morpheus an all-encompassing virtual reality experience by incorporating 3D audio technology. Gamers will be able to hear sounds coming from all around them in real-time depending on their head orientation. For example, sounds will barrage you from above you (think helicopters flying overhead) and even below you (the pitter-patter of footsteps rushing up a flight of stairs). A stereo headset jack on the unit allows you to plug in any kind of headphones you like to fully step into a virtual world with realistic visuals and 360-degree audio.

As made clear earlier, Project Morpheus is still in its infancy state in terms of final design and function. However, Sony is eager to share the hardware and SDK with developers so that early kinks can be fixed and exciting software can be developed. At GDC, Sony had a dogfighting shooter EVE Valkyrie and stealth actioner Thief playable inside Morpheus, as well as in-house demos “The Castle” and “The Deep” demonstrating the VR headset’s basic functions. In time, more games will be made for it. I think we know what Sony will be hyping when E3 rolls around this June.

Jump after the break to watch Project Morpheus in action.

[Via Sony] READ MORE Sony reveals Project Morpheus, virtual reality for PS4 gamers

Concept: Curious Displays

Curious Displays, designed by Julia Yu Tsao, is a way-off-into-the-future conceptual idea.  Like way into the future.  Basically, hundreds of tiny blocks scatter your surroundings and bunch together to form various things.  For example, the blocks can come together to form a screen of sorts to watch a movie, or they can collectively shape into an arrow and point to the location of your missing keys.  Tsao describes the project as such:

The project explores our relationship with devices and technology by examining the multi-dimensionality of communication and the complexity of social behavior and interaction. In its essence, the project functions as a piece of design fiction, considering the fluctuating nature of our present engagement with media technology and providing futurist imaginings of other ways of being.  ..

Curious Displays is a product proposal for a new platform for display technology. Instead of a fixed form factor screen, the display surface is instead broken up into hundreds of ½ inch display blocks. Each block operates independently as a self-contained unit, and has full mobility, allowing movement across any physical surface. The blocks operate independently of one another, but are aware of the position and role relative to the rest of the system. With this awareness, the blocks are able to coordinate with the other blocks to reconfigure their positioning to form larger display surfaces and forms depending on purpose and function. In this way, the blocks become a physical embodiment of digital media, and act as a vehicle for the physical manifestation of what typically exists only in the virtual space of the screen.

It’s all a little too far out there for my tastes, but an interesting topic to undertake nonetheless.

[Via CuriousDisplays; Vimeo; BoingBoing; Gizmodo]