virtual reality

The Daily Grind: Why are you not into virtual reality?

Massively OP reader and commenter Sally Bowls pointed us to a brief post on Axios in which a VR consultant and former Oculus employee opines on why VR isn’t catching on as well as you’d expect, and the reason isn’t money. In fact, she suggests the reason is that consumers are simply too addicted to other compelling content — specifically, smartphones and social media. While gaming and education are the platform’s chief uses, most people just don’t want to put down their damn phones long enough to become engrossed by something that takes up their full physical and mental attention.

“[VR] has to be a really compelling reason to get you to give up all that,” she explained at the Mobile Future Forward conference last week. “There aren’t just a ton of those reasons just yet.”

MOP’s audience is chiefly MMO gamers who skew toward virtual worlds already, so maybe we’re not a perfect test case, but I still wondered whether the consultant is right. If you’re not into VR, why not, specifically? Is it, as suggested, that you’d just rather be doing something more connected but also more popcorny through lighter-weight technology altogether?

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EVE Valkyrie will be getting loot boxes

There’s really no two ways about this particular tidbit of news. CCP is adding loot boxes to EVE Valkyrie, according to a recent interview. The boxes are expected to drop about every two battles on average, with each box containing random items including cosmetic items and experience boosters. If all of that sounds like exactly what you would expect from the statement “CCP is adding loot boxes EVE Valkyrie,” well, you’ve done this dance a few times.

There’s no word at this point about said boxes being added to a microtransaction store, but all things considered you can probably mark it as highly likely at the very least. You can also get at least one box for completing the in-game tutorial, so that’s added motivation to learn how to fly your craft. Those of you who went into a spontaneous rage-seizure upon seeing the term “loot boxes,” of course, can jump straight to the comments.

Gosh, you don’t think this might be tied to making the game no longer require a VR headset, could it?

Source: PCgamesN

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CCP’s VR sports game Sparc has arrived on PSVR today

Remember CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc? We first heard about it back in February, and now as planned, the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online has formally launched the game on PSVR for $29.99 as of today. It’s not really an MMO or even trying to be; the idea is that players will be sparring in a 1v1 arena playing a VR-based match of what is essentially fancy neon ping-pong/dodgeball versus friends or frenemies plucked from the matchmaker, then when that’s over, you even get to play dress-up.

MOP’s Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest. “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc,” he wrote in April. “Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition. I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

We’ve tucked the brand-new trailer down below, but we warn you: You won’t burn any calories watching it.

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Leaderboard: Do the HTC Vive’s and Oculus Rift’s price cuts change your opinion on VR pricing?

When Oculus dropped the price of the Oculus Rift down to $400 earlier this summer, supposedly temporarily (but not its first drop), analysts were torn over the decision, suggesting that Facebook’s rumored cheaper wireless Pacific device might be the impetus.

Now this week, HTC joined in the price-slashing parade, reducing the price of the Vive from $799 to $599, a fee analysts said back in January was still too pricey for the Oculus. However, the president of the Viveport marketplace rejected the idea that the new price was a response to the Rift’s panic-mode. “I think we are the leader in the market, and the plan was always that high-end VR be available to everyone,” he told Polygon. “So of course there are a couple of components that need to fall into place … in order to reach the mass market, you need to have a lower price point. That’s been the plan all along. I think it’s good that other players in the market are making similar moves.”

For this edition of Leaderboard, I thought it would be fun to take stock of our core audience’s view of the price of VR here in 2017 to see whether it differs significantly from the 2014 vs. 2016 report, which suggested that while initial high prices had shifted many gamers’ expectations for a higher price, an even greater number still wouldn’t pay over $300 for a device. To the pollmobile!

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ARK Park’s latest trailer goes in guns blazing

Welcome… to Jurassic Park!

What, that’s not this thing? Oh, sorry, our bad. Welcome… to ARK Park! At least it rhymes!

The virtual reality off-shoot of the immensely popular ARK: Survival Evolved is coming later this year. In a new teaser trailer, players can witness the tranquil delights of a dino-themed park, reject it, and then start shooting up the place. It’s all we know how to do, now that video games have raised us to be mindless killing machines.

“In teams of up to four, players enter the wild to collect resources and dinosaur genes, which they can later use to unlock blueprint to forge items,” Studio Wildcard said in a press release. “You would also have the options to raise newborn dinos to mountable full-grown adults. In a special story mode that caters only to hardcore fans, players need to protect the humankind from raging dinosaurs with weapons of their choice.”

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John Smedley talks about the game industry but is mum about his studio’s project

It has now been seven months since John Smedley shut down Pixelmage Games and took his team over to Amazon Game Studios to set up shop in San Diego. We’ve been greatly curious about what game he’s been heading — and if it is an MMO — but until recently Smed has stayed out of the spotlight to get work done.

This is why we’ve perked up to see him sit down with VentureBeat for an extended interview about his new employer and his take on the direction that the industry is heading. He has a lot of opinions on just about everything, ranging from virtual reality to Twitch integration to the rise of e-sports.

If you’re hoping that the notoriously chatty Smedley was going to reveal what game his studio is making, you’re in for disappointment. He indicates that he’s very excited about the project but is tight-lipped about specifics.

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Young adults are the prime market for virtual reality

It’s a well-known maxim in gaming circles that younger players have more time but lack disposable income while older players have the money but find themselves short on that “free time” angle. It may come as no surprise then that this spectrum extends to interest and investment in virtual reality.

Superdata published a survey — in helpful infographic form — that shows the relation of gamers’ age to their willingness to dive into VR and their ability to spend money on it. The younger set have a 74% rate of interest in the platform, but this drops to 54% by the time you get to middle-aged gamers. However, the advent of jobs in a person’s life seems to help with spending, as older gamers are willing to spend up to $47 more than their younger counterparts on VR.

The sweet spot here are 18 to 35-year-olds, of whom two-thirds are interested in VR and willing to drop $277 on such devices. It’s not mind-blowing, but it is interesting as we continue to push into this new age of technology and gaming. You can check out the full chart after the break.

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EVE: Valkyrie allows players to ditch the VR headset

This is just your weekly reminder from CCP that EVE: Valkyrie wasn’t a figment of your imagination, it still exists, and please for the love of all that is holy, buy it already. Please.

Oh, and it’s also a major announcement that Valkyrie — a multiplayer sci-fi fighter spin-off of EVE Online — is preparing to ditch the expensive requirement of a virtual reality headset. That’s right: Come September 26th, you won’t need a VR headset to play this VR game.

This is thanks to a new version of the game called EVE: Valkyrie — Warzone, which allows both VR and non-VR players to battle together on the same server. The Warzone update will also introduce a new generation of ships, add a mod-based progression system, include “ultra” abilities, trot out more maps, raise the rank cap to 60, toss in mouse-and-keyboard support, and more.

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VR is still on the table for Star Citizen

VR-centric website Road to VR has a brief quote from Cloud Imperium Games that might be good news to those of you still hoping to someday see Star Citizen in virtual reality.

“Nothing new really to report here,” CIG told the publication in response to its status request. “We do plan on having VR support for Star Citizen. But it’s just having to fit in as a technology with all the other tech that we are currently incorporating into the game. As I’m sure you know, VR technology is evolving quickly. As with anything that fits this category, we are going to spend the time to make sure it’s integrated properly for our game.”

Indeed, as one Redditor points out, the game’s latest Around the Verse, which we covered Friday, features what is basically an in-game holo-watch dubbed mobiGlas; during that segment, CIG explained that it’s kept VR in mind while designing it.

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The Daily Grind: What’s the most important feature of MMO inventory systems?

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a story on ARK Park that included the image above, which just cracked me up. I mean, I get that VR games have an extra challenge when it comes to how they’re going to display your inventory in a believable and immersive way, but I was figuring that would manifest as a bag you can virtually rifle through, or store shelves at the merchant. I didn’t figure on a 3-D view on a panel within your field of view — it seems like a step backward for immersion.

That got me thinking about what I want out of MMO inventories in general. I’m playing Guild Wars 2 right now, and I have to say that the basic inventory right out of the box with even just a few option tweaks is one of the best in the genre, full stop, thanks to good color coding, a wallet, sorting bags, a “one bag” feature, the automatic compact option, and above all else, that “deposit all materials” clicky. I have to use several mods in top-end MMOs like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online to get my character inventory to this level, and even then this is just slicker. And that’s before I get to the shared bank and crafting — for me, the ability to craft without hauling crap out of my bank or bag is the number one thing I look for when it comes to MMO inventories (and I’m so glad to see it becoming more and more common!).

How about you? What’s the most important feature of MMO inventory systems?

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Leaderboard: Is our future in virtual reality or augmented reality?

MOP reader Sally recently pointed us to a series of articles on virtual reality and augmented reality tech that when taken together make for an interesting discussion on two terms most laypeople seem to use interchangeably.

  • In January following this year’s CES, Yahoo tech columnist David Pogue rolled his eyes at “gushing” over VR and argued that augmented reality was far more interesting.
  • In April, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech suggesting that the future of VR is bright but that the equipment was a hindrance to socializing — that augmented reality, with transparent glasses, is the future.
  • Electronic Arts said basically the same exact thing just four days ago — that VR is still years away from mass-market consumers but that the company is focusing on AR in the shorter term.
  • And finally AltspaceVR, a startup that was offering a social VR chat aimed at businesses, is closing up shop, having run out of funding. Its userbase was only 35,000 people monthly, and it’s not even the only VR company to close down this year.

I have to say that I see much more utility and promise in a Shadowrun-like tech future of augmented glasses than in cumbersome game devices, but am I wrong — and are the money men wrong? Is our future in virtual reality or augmented reality?

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CCP’s VR sports game Sparc launches August 29

First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc was all set for a summer launch as of E3, and now the date is firming up: The Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online has picked August 29th for the game’s debut on PSVR. Expect it to run $29.99.

Sparc is a virtual sport, or ‘vSport’ – a unique full-body experience only possible in virtual reality, where the player’s VR equipment is their sports gear. In Sparc, players connect online to compete in fast-paced and physical one-on-one gameplay. Players use their two PlayStation®Move motion controllers to throw projectiles across the court at their opponent, while dodging, blocking or deflecting any incoming shots.”

MOP’s Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest. “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc,” he wrote in April. “Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition. I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

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OrbusVR starts up open alpha on July 28

If you’ve been longing for the chance to play an MMO in VR but haven’t yet been in the closed alpha for OrbusVR, the good news is that you’ll get your chance on Friday. The game’s closed alpha attracted roughly 450 people to test out the game, and it’s moving into open alpha on July 28th. Anyone who registers a free account on the game’s website will be able to step in and play.

Assuming you have a VR headset to handle the game, of course. So maybe not everyone will be there.

If you’ve got your headset and a burning desire to see what the game has on offer in this stage of development, there’s a helpful guide available for getting the game downloaded and installed while first exploring. Players who like what they see are encourage to shell out for the full version, of course, but it’s by no means a requirement if you want to see what the hype is about.

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