It’s time to meet yet another new member of the HTC Vive family. Say hello to the Vive Focus Plus. Announced today ahead of next week’s Mobile World Congress, Vive Focus Plus is the next entry in HTC’s enterprise-level standalone headset series. It’s got everything you need to jump straight into VR, just like the original Vive Focus. You don’t need a phone, PC or even external sensors thanks to inside-out six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking. The biggest additions here, though, are the new 6DOF controllers. The original Vive Focus came with one 3DOF controller that allowed you to point in VR. This pair of new controllers, first announced last year, let you reach into virtual worlds just like on the original HTC Vive. Unlike the first Vive, though, Focus Plus uses ultrasonic technology for tracking. The controllers also sport triggers, grip buttons, a trackpad and home and menu buttons. Like the newly-redesigned Oculus Touch controllers for Oculus Quest, the tracking ring runs over the top of the kit. We went hands-on with the controllers last year and came away impressed. HTC introduced these controllers as a developer kit for the original Focus. They shipped out to studios with a mount you needed to fit to your headset for tracking. However, HTC told UploadVR that it currently has no plans to bring the controllers to original Vive Focus owners. “At this time, the new 6Dof controllers are not compatible with the Vive Focus,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “In working with our partners, they’ve expressed the need for both devices and we’re thrilled to offer a portfolio of standalone products which cater to different developer and company needs.” The Vive Focus first arrived in China in 2017 but only released in the west in November 2018. That leaves just a three-month gap between Focus’ release and the announcement of this upgraded model. Vive Focus Plus also improves comfort though you wouldn’t know by looking at it. At a glance it looks identical to the old model. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset powers the kit. That’s the same as the one seen in the original Focus. It’s also got a 3K display, which is what the original included, though HTC also says it has improved optics. It runs on HTC’s Vive Wave platform. Vive Focus Plus will be launching in 25 countries in the second quarter of 2019. We don’t know how much it will cost yet. That said, the original Vive Focus cost $599 when it launched three months ago. Expect it to be higher than that. Elsewhere, HTC is also set to release the Vive Pro Eye in Q2. Like the Focus Plus, it’s an upgrade to the original enterprise-level model that won’t replace it. Finally, the Vive Cosmos is also on the way this year. That’s a new consumer headset with 6DOF tracking of its own. We still have a lot to learn about it. Tagged with: 6dof controllers, htc, HTC Vive Focus, HTC Vive Focus Plus, standalone .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post HTC Vive Focus Plus Is A New Standalone Headset With 6DOF Controls And Improved Comfort appeared first on UploadVR.

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UK-based Ultrahaptics thinks it has the key to haptic feedback in VR. This week you can try it out for yourself. The company partnered with Fallen Planet Studios to integrate its mid-air haptics technology into VR horror title, Affected: The Visit. The experience is showing at the ImmotionVR center in Cabot Circus, Bristol until the end of February. It’s the first UK showing for the demo, which has previously done tours in the US. Check it out in the trailer below. Ultrahatpics’ solution uses ultrasound to apply feedback to the user’s hands. It’s previously been showcased as means of controlling other devices, but it could take on new meaning inside VR. Imagine paying a visit to Affected’s virtual house of horrors and not just seeing every jump scare but feeling it too. Or, y’know, something not as massively terrifying. Haptics is a crucial area of R&D for VR right now. Current systems bring our hands into VR with full control, but they don’t help you feel the experience. Hands float through walls and surfaces and there’s no resistance to, say, pushing a button. Ultrahaptics solution is one of many potential methods to solve this problem, though all of them seem far off. Currently, you have to hold your hand over a platform laid on a surface in front of you. It’s a little similar to early versions of Leap Motion before it started integrating itself into headsets. We’re not sure when Ultrahaptics might be ready for consumer-level VR (if ever), but the studio did raise $23 million in funding in early 2017. It’s a very promising concept. Tagged with: Affected: The Visit, Ultrahaptics .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post This VR Demo Uses Mid-Air Haptics To Make Affected More Immersive appeared first on UploadVR.

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It’s been a while since we’ve heard from UK-based Cooperative Innovations. Today, though, it’s got plenty of news to share. First up, it’s raised some cash. The team today revealed it had raised £500,000 (about $653,000) in a round of seed funding. Investors include Craig Fletcher, Ascension Ventures and Trend Investment Group. Cooperative Innovations says it will use this money to expand its team (it’s now hiring), but also launch something a little different. Cooperative Innovations is also announcing pilot licensing for its VR/AR avatar mapping system, Ikabod. It’s designed to more accurately represent a user’s physical movements through their virtual bodies. Like other animation systems, it does this using the position of the headset and controllers. But the developer claims Ikabod also uses real-time animation corrections to deliver more realistic results. that hopefully means no more elbows suddenly shooting off in weird angles. It’s currently available as a plug-in for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. Speaking to Upload, studio CEO Simon Barratt said that Ikabod was focused on that engine for now but the team would look at bringing its tools to other platforms in the long term. We should see Ikabod in use in the studio’s upcoming game, Raiders of Erda.We’ve been excited about Erda for some time. It’s a fantasy action game with co-op support. Players will take on quests, raiding dungeons with swords and arrows. In a preview back in 2017, we said it was like a dream come true for dungeon crawling fans. No word yet on when it might release and on what platforms, but we’ll keep an eye out. Elsewhere, the studio says it’s also working on another unannounced multiplayer VR title. Tagged with: Cooperative Innovations, Kiabod, motion capture, Raiders of Erda .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post Raiders of Erda Dev Reveals Investment, Ikabod For Accurate VR Avatars appeared first on UploadVR.

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Facebook's annual conference promises "new features and updates" for Oculus. Many expect the Oculus Quest headset to be released at the event. The post Facebook’s F8 2019 Conference Promises ‘New Features And Updates’ For Oculus appeared first on UploadVR.

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Shadow Legend is getting a little bit of extra time in the oven and has been delayed an extra week to February 28th to iron out a lingering bug. The post Shadow Legend Delayed An Extra Week To Feb. 28th Due To Lingering Bug appeared first on UploadVR.

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Object Theory is one of the oldest Mixed Reality companies around, having launched in June 2015, before the HoloLens had even started shipping. In many ways they’re your typical tech company – my demos are delivered in the familiar blueprint of a trendy open-plan office with exposed brick walls, which sits above a sushi restaurant – but it’s got a different vibe from a lot of similar start-ups. For starters, they’re based in Oregon as opposed to Silicon Valley. And while Portland is by no means a backwater, it’s still not a major tech or immersive content hub like LA or San Francisco either. For another, its founders Raven Zachary and Michael Hoffman (who left Microsoft to start the company) operate a very profitable business (employing about a dozen people between full timers and contractors) with no investment capital. In spite of the fact we’re joking around and playing Angry Birds on Magic Leap, the whole thing feels very grown up, in the sense that these guys are in this for the long haul, and so, they reckon, is the business of making Mixed Reality. A key enabler for Object Theory’s success has been Microsoft’s strategy for marketing, supporting, and developing Mixed Reality content for the HoloLens, which is why Zachary and Hoffman are enthusiastic in their praise for the company, and in particular of the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella. By pivoting toward the enterprise market early on, Microsoft managed to create strong and sustained demand for Mixed Reality tools among companies looking to solve real business needs. That, in turn, allowed their partner developers to secure key contracts as they figured their way around the new technology. “It’s curious how the HoloLens originated with the Xbox team (its inventor Alex Kipman was also responsible for the Kinect) so there was this idea that it would be mainly a consumer product,” recalls Hoffman. “It was really interesting to see them pivot in that way and go mainstream towards enterprise and I think it was absolutely the right move for them to make.” The other significant pivot Microsoft made in recent years, adds Zachary, was to move away from being hardware-centered to focusing on the cloud, marketing Azure’s ability to enable what they call ‘The Intelligent Edge’: “Microsoft is the only one of the large players that has actively decided to be a multi-platform company. They are actively embracing everything that’s relevant out there, and that makes sense, because they’re making cloud consumption more valuable if it works with everything that’s out there. Because of that we hope – and it would make sense – if they adopt an OEM for their Mixed Reality technology. Microsoft has this great patent portfolio and it would be great to take that amazing secret sauce of the HoloLens and license it out to their existing OEM partners like Dell or Samsung.” Since the launch of Magic Leap One earlier this year, Object Theory has also started exploring the possibilities that the other platform brings, such as better eye [...] The post Magic Leap Versus HoloLens — Which Is Going To Win Over Developers? appeared first on UploadVR.

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Late last week rumors popped up suggesting Nintendo is getting into VR in 2019. Reports didn’t reveal much other than that the company could release a headset compatible with its Switch console as part of its Labo line. Past patents and a little data mining support the idea that the Switch could go VR, despite the company’s long-voiced skepticism. We’re still taking the reports with a pinch of salt, but they do paint an interesting picture. On paper, it’s an exciting premise. Zelda, Metroid, Mario Kart and more in VR? Where do we sign up? Anyone with even passing knowledge of how headsets work will have some questions, though. Everyone knows that the best VR requires a high-resolution display, six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking and beefy processing power to work. The Switch, with its 720p onboard screen, 3DOF motion controllers and Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, doesn’t tick any of those boxes. It’s possible that any VR headset peripheral could include a better screen, more horsepower and 6DOF inside-out tracking, but it seems like a tall order. But maybe Nintendo doesn’t need to push for high-end VR, at least not yet. Maybe it’s got more modest plans for its VR beginnings. I see Nintendo’s first VR outing as potentially more of an accessory than a platform. It may be similar in concept to Google Daydream or Gear VR but with more manageable ambitions. Instead of aiming to sell millions of units and pave the path for the future of Nintendo, we might be talking about something closer to, say, the Switch’s Poke-Ball Plus or the Wii Fit balance board. Heck, even the GameCube’s Donkey Konga bongos are an apt comparison. It’s the possible inclusion in the Labo line that’s key here. Launched last year, Labo is a range of accessories built out of cardboard that let you play different minigames. You can assemble a makeshift fishing rod and sit out by the lake, for example, or build a motorbike handle and lean from side-to-side as you perfect lap times. I can see any VR efforts fitting in with these design principles quite nicely. Nintendo’s fears about VR are well-documented and inform whatever decisions they’re making about it. It seems unlikely, to me at least, that Nintendo would risk making a VR game that could make you sick (they already went down that road). I would highly doubt, for example, that the company is working on a VR-conversion of Super Mario Odyssey that lets you run, jump and fall in VR. But a stationary fishing game? One where you need to simply flick your Joy-Con up and down to haul in a catch? Something kids could play and is design to be experienced in short bursts? That seems far better suited to the Nintendo I know. It’s also less demanding on the processor and side-steps any fledgling concerns of VR violence. I see Switch VR being less of a platform and more of a peripheral. Something self-contained that has its own collection of much smaller experiences. That doesn’t mean [...] The post Why The Low-End Might Be The Right Start For Nintendo’s VR Offerings appeared first on UploadVR.

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Following the conclusion of Dreams’ Creator Beta, developer Media Molecule today revealed a release window for the anticipated PS4 exclusive. Well, sort of. Dreams will launch in Early Access this spring. That’s right, Early Access. Studio Director Siobhan Reddy took to the PlayStation Blog to explain. This release will again be aimed at creators first and foremost. Reddy assured that “100%” of the tools the studio uses to make levels will be included, but some features will still be missing. “If you participated in the beta and felt like Dreams wasn’t fully featured enough for you yet, or you wanted more Media Molecule game content, then Early Access might not be for you,” Reddy wrote. “We’re working on all those things during this period so that you have everything you need on your first day in the Dreamiverse.” We’ve reached out to Sony to ask if the long-promised PSVR support will be included in Early Access. We haven’t heard back yet but we wouldn’t hold our breath; the Beta didn’t support VR either. Media Molecule has said the game will support VR from day one in the past, but is this really day one? In PSVR, players will be able to create and play levels specifically tailored to the headset. But Dreams’ incredibly accessible toolset, which allows players to build entire games, could make this a hub for an exciting swathe of VR experiences. The Early Access build will also be a “limited release”, which suggests Media Molecule will only sell a certain amount of digital copies. It’s set to be priced at $29.99, though it’s not clear if buying into the pre-release nets you the full game too. Either way we’re excited to see Dreams finally rolling out on a wider scale. Tagged with: dreams, media molecule, PSVR .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post Dreams Early Access Launch Coming This Spring, PSVR Support TBA appeared first on UploadVR.

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The new book The History Of The Future is out in hardcover, ebook and audiobook. The narrative written by Console Wars author Blake Harris charts the 2012 founding of Oculus. Along the way there is an accounting of the $3 billion acquisition by Facebook and $500 million jury decision. The story ends after the 2017 exit of Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey. Along the way is Chapter 23, titled NINE STORIES. The chapter focuses on developers in April 2013 receiving the first Rift development kit — known as DK1. 56,334 of the headsets would eventually ship to 114 countries. The nine stories provide an intimate look into how some lives changed with the arrival of that VR headset. Last week, we published a remarkable email referenced in the book originally sent by John Carmack in 2015 to Oculus leaders. The document assesses the group’s strengths and weaknesses with extraordinary detail. This week, we are printing excerpts from Chapter 23. Below are the last five of the nine stories. Also be sure to check yesterday’s excerpt of the first four stories from  Chapter 23 of The History Of The Future. 5. CHRIS GALLIZZI Los Angeles, California Like many gamers in 2013, Chris Gallizzi was obsessed with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After all, what could possibly be better than playing as Dragonborn, training with the Greybeards, and battling Alduin in an epic, open-world civil war? Well, actually, Gallizzi thought, there was one thing that could make Skyrim even better: actually becoming Dragonborn. As the head of R&D for Hyperkin—a hardware manufacturer best known for cloning retro consoles—Gallizzi wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. So he used an open-source 3-D driver called Vireio Perception and began modding a version of Skyrim that would work on his DK1. When the mod was in a semiplayable state, Gallizzi called up the head of Hyperkin to tell him how incredible it felt to be immersed inside his favorite game. “I want you to see,” Gallizzi said, and then took in his PC and devkit for everyone in the office to see. Unfortunately, Gallizzi’s initial demo didn’t go so well—leading several of his colleagues to feel nauseated—but that only inspired him to make his mod better. To perfect the warping and stabilize the experience, which he did during his off-hours over the next two weeks before demoing it all again. This time, the reaction was totally different; this time he actually made believers out of a few people. And now that his colleagues were starting to see VR through rosier-colored eyes, Gallizzi made his move. “I think we should get into VR,” Gallizzi told the head of Hyperkin: CEO Steven Mar. “That’s a nice idea,” Mar replied. “But we’re solely focused on retro-gaming.” This was true, of course. The company’s claim to fame was their RetroN 2, which was a two-in-one console that could play cartridges for both the NES and SNES systems. Getting into VR wasn’t exactly a lateral move. “But,” Gallizzi explained, “when Hyperkin first started, retro was a small niche market. And now it’s kind of [...] The post Excerpt: Five Stories From Blake Harris Book The History Of The Future appeared first on UploadVR.

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Read our full and final review of Xing: The Land Beyond on PSVR to see how it lives up to the legacy of its Myst-like adventure roots. The post Xing: The Land Beyond PSVR Review: Brief Bits Of VR Adventure Magic appeared first on UploadVR.

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For the past few years VR broadcasting app NextVR has largely focused on sports. But, with its latest partnership, the company is setting its sights on music lovers. NextVR this week announced a collaboration with Central Station Records. The pair have just launched a suite of new musical VR experiences focused on electronic music. The videos will take viewers on a global tour of the genre, visiting artists and venues alike. You’ll travel to Tokyo to learn about the captial’s underground music scene and get whisked away to London’s Ministry of Sound club. Australian DJ Brooke Evers and musical group Killer Hertz are two of the artists you’ll find in the collection of videos. Check it out in the trailer below. 🚨🎶 #VR Music Announcement NextVR Studios and @CentralStnAUS have partnered to bring you first-of-its-kind immersive music experiences! ft. @Brookeevers @KillerHertzDNB @A_Hudge + more NOW in the NextVR app 🔥#VirtualReality https://t.co/dlmdboHfK4 pic.twitter.com/eSC4VNo76t — NextVR (@nextvr) February 19, 2019 The move pits NextVR against another major VR music service, MelodyVR. That said, the concept behind MelodyVR is quite different. That app gathers a selection of live performances in 360 degrees. This is the second major partnership NextVR has announced since holding significant layoffs in January 2019. At the time CEO David Cole told UploadVR that this was the result of being built for a bigger VR market. Since then, NextVR also revealed a collaboration with the NHL. All content was shot in 3D and can be seen now inside the NextVR app. That’s on Oculus Rift, Go, PSVR, Vive, Vive Focus, Gear VR, Daydream, Windows VR and even Pimax. Whew! Tagged with: Central Station Records, MelodyVR, nextVR .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post NextVR Takes On MelodyVR With Launch Of Music Channel appeared first on UploadVR.

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Forget Jedi training and duels with Darth Vader; the most important Star Wars AR app just released. That’s right, Project Porg is now available for Magic Leap One. Wait, what’s Project Porg? I’m glad you asked! A few years back we reported that Magic Leap had partnered with ILMxLAB, a division of Lucasfilm. Then, at last year’s LeapCon, the pair announced Project Porg. It’s like an AR Tamagotchi starring the cute little critters that you either loved or hated in The Last Jedi. Sort of like the film itself! This week the app launched for Magic Leap One owners. You can see the trailer for it below. In the game, C-3PO instructs you to look after a Porg. The idea, ILMxLAB explains, was to build a relationship akin to owning a dog or a cat. You’ll go through a Porg’s lifecycle, playing with it and caring for it. You can even raise a family of the little guys. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with their adorable little faces? Those abyssal eyes and miserable frowns? Okay so it might not be the ultimate Star Wars adventure but it looks like a fun experiment. Real talk, though: did anyone else think that Hoth demo teased at the start of the trailer looked really cool? We’d like to get our hands on that too, please. Project Porg is available to download for free. Elsewhere, ILMxLAB is still working on Star Wars: Vader Immortal. It’s an interactive VR series which will pit players against the iconic villain. Expect the first episode to debut on Oculus Quest later this year. Tagged with: Magic Leap, Magic Leap One, Star Wars: Project Porg .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post Star Wars: Project Porg Is Like A Tamagotchi For Magic Leap, Out Now appeared first on UploadVR.

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The new book The History Of The Future is out today in hardcover, ebook and audiobook. The narrative written by Console Wars author Blake Harris charts the 2012 founding of Oculus. Along the way there is an accounting of the $3 billion acquisition by Facebook and $500 million jury decision. The story ends after the 2017 exit of Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey. Along the way is Chapter 23, titled NINE STORIES. The chapter focuses on developers in April 2013 receiving the first Rift development kit — known as DK1. 56,334 of the headsets would eventually ship out to 114 countries. The nine stories provide an intimate look into how some lives changed with the arrival of that VR headset. Last week, we published a remarkable email referenced in the book originally sent by John Carmack in 2015 to Oculus leaders. The document assesses the group’s strengths and weaknesses with extraordinary detail. This week, we are printing excerpts from Chapter 23. Below are the first four of the nine stories. Check back tomorrow when we excerpt the remaining five stories from Chapter 23 of The History Of The Future. FOUR STORIES April 2013 “Check this out,” Luckey said, showing Dycus an eBay web page littered with results. Skimming the items, Dycus couldn’t help but grin: Oculus’s $300 devkits were in such high demand that some were going for over a thousand bucks. By this point, the first week of April, it was now clear that the launch of DK1 had been an unmitigated success. Secondhand units were selling for three times their price; tech journalists were publishing glowing reviews; and Luckey’s in-box was flooded with affection and admiration—comments like this one, from a Korean fan, proclaiming that Luckey was “going to be a historic human in 21c.” But as cool as all that was, none of it compared to the fact that developers all over the world were starting to receive their devkits in the mail; and over the next few months, these devs would get to work and begin building incredible things . . . 1. JUSTIN MORAVETZ Santa Monica, California In seventh grade, Justin Moravetz and his classmates were asked to give a presentation about “The Future.” So Moravetz decided to talk about the technology that excited him most—virtual reality!—and even cobbled together a makeshift headset using a VGA monitor and two Game Boy Screen Magnifiers. For the next two decades, he waited for VR to finally arrive in all that glory he had imagined as a boy. But year after year yielded disappointment after disappointment. From Forte’s VFX1 to eMagin’s latest Z800 3-DVisor, Justin Moravetz had seen it all. From his experience as a 3-D animator at Sony Computer Entertainment, Moravetz had insight into what a powerhouse was doing with virtual reality. And, well, it wasn’t much. He came to believe that the only way virtual reality could ever really take of would be for a small, scrappy outside force to come in—resurrect the technology from the ashes of its failures—and force big companies (like the one he worked for) to [...] The post Excerpt: Four Stories From Blake Harris Book The History Of The Future appeared first on UploadVR.

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Development studio Schell Games is announcing its upcoming sword fighting VR game Until You Fall. The studio is focusing on delivering satisfying melee combat in the “magic-infused” title. Until You Fall launches on VR headsets sometime in 2019. From the game’s official description: “Players will be masters of their own martial style and battle corrupted humanoids, monstrous creatures, and unknown horrors.” CEO Jesse Schell said Until You Fall is focused on single player at first and the game works by showing players where to block incoming attacks. That essentially gives the player the mind of an expert sword fighter. Until You Fall is an upcoming VR title from Schell Games. “We’re blending various styles of sword fighting to create an intense, real-time combat experience that hasn’t been seen before with VR,” said Schell in a prepared statement. “Using our deep knowledge of these platforms, we believe this game will push boundaries and leave players with the immersive melee fighting experience they’ve been craving.” We talked to Schell recently and the game design professor, author and developer said he thought Facebook could sell more than 1 million Oculus Quest headsets in 2019. The studio’s spy-themed I Expect You To Die is one of VR’s bigger success stories. The game crossed $3 million in total revenue late last year. Schell Games hasn’t announced what, if anything, it’s developing for Quest. Hopefully Until You Fall is coming to it, though.  Schell believes the standalone $400 Oculus Quest headset marks a major step forward in VR headset usability. It is “going to have way lower barrier of entry than any other headset,” he told us. Tagged with: Jesse Schell, Schell Games, Until You Fall .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post Until You Fall Is A VR Sword Fighter From I Expect You To Die Studio appeared first on UploadVR.

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Beat Saber is arguably VR’s biggest phenomenon, taking PC VR and PSVR platforms by storm. But it’s also a game that lives and dies by its music, which helps players get in the flow. For deaf VR fans, that’s a big barrier to cross. But Beat Games and Subpac are working to break it down. Beat Games CEO Jaroslav Beck this week posted a video outlining the partnership. Beck traveled to Ravensbourne University in London to see how Subpac and Beat Saber combined was helping deaf players get into VR. Subpac offers a backpack-like subwoofer. In Beck’s own words, it lets you feel the bass of music as if you were in a nightclub. For Beat Saber, this sensation could be a vital way to communicate the rhythm of a son. “I feel like being in a different world,” one player in the video says. “The main vision behind this is that, in the future and especially in the esports, with platforms like virtual reality we can simply erase all the boundaries,” Beck says. He later adds: “Me personally I will be interested if the retention will be the same. Because our retention is almost 50% of people who bought the game are playing it even after three months which is kind of crazy.” He envisions getting people in the disabled community onto the game’s leaderboards and competing in tournaments. It would indeed be fantastic to see that happen. One of VR’s best aspects is that it can be for almost anyone. Beat Saber shouldn’t be an exception to that rule. And, just in case you came here hoping for Beat Saber DLC news, Beck adds that news will be coming “very soon”. Stay tuned. Tagged with: Beat Games, Beat Saber, Subpac .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore The post Beat Saber And Subpac Are Helping Deaf Fans Play The Game appeared first on UploadVR.

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