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Nina Takes On An Alien Invasion In Crowe: The Drowned Armory

Rogue Initiative’s Crowe: The Drowned Armory has impressed since its debut last year, so VRFocus‘ Nina decided to dive in and see what she’d been missing. Available now for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, Crowe: The Drowned Armory is an action-adventure videogame designed specifically for VR, and Nina lets us know what she thinks in the video below.

Crowe: The Drowned Armory takes place as aliens invade a once-peaceful society, and the protagonist, Crowe, a young village boy, must solve puzzles and uncover the mysteries of an ancient temple in order to save his race and his culture.

Pete Blumel, Crowe: The Drowned Armory’s Creative Director and studio co-founder, wants players to know this is something different; “This is not a game, ‘Crowe‘ is a cinematic interactive experience that combines puzzle solving, character interaction and combat with an epic ending built in a virtual reality world.”

Originally launched in May 2017, Crowe: The Drowned Armory has since benefitted from numerous updates. The lastest, in October 2017, saw the addition of a brand new gameplay mode: Survival Arena.

“We listened to the community feedback. Now continue the fight against a slew of updated enemy types in Crowe: Survival Arena features new environments and new enemy types! Fighting high above the valley floor, you must defend your lofty platform or teleport to another before it’s destroyed beneath your feet. In “Survival Arena”, switch between weapon types and teleport between platforms strategically while battling various enemy types,” reads the description of the update on the official Steam Store page for Crowe: The Drowned Armory.

Crowe: The Drowned Armory is available now on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with PlayStation VR support planned for the future. To see what Nina thinks watch the video below, and for all of the latest VR news, stay on VRFocus. Source:

2018 Asia VR&AR Fair & Summit Reveals List Of Attendees To Date

It may be the middle of January, and the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) may already be disappear back over our shoulder as we move into 2018, but even with CES 2018 over the events calendar is already filling up. Of course, we at VRFocus have our own event, our Post-CES XR Review which we’ll be hosting at the end of January. There we’ll be featuring a line-up of demonstrations, speaker sessions and discussion panels for those in the UK XR communuty who were unable to attend the event in Las Vegas. 

You can also catch up with all the news relating to CES 2018 here.

Elsewhere in the UK we recently gave you an update yesterday both on what’s happening with the London based Future Tech and Virtual Reality Show, coming to the UK’s capital at the beginning of April and back in Las Vegas at the end of next month is Amusement Expo International 2018 which has announced its own virtual reality (VR) pavilion and themed day of events.

All of these events, expos and conferences in Europe and America don’t mean though that there hasn’t been some VR and augmented reality (AR) show news for Asia. That comes to us today from the 2018 Asia VR&AR Fair & Summit aka VR&AR Fair 2018. VRFocus readers may recall that we brought you news on last year’s event including a report from Kevin Williams (who featured on a panel at the Fair) via his guest column The Virtual Arena.

The VR&AR Fair, which will also be taking place at the beginning of April across the 3rd to the 5th, has just announced a list of the Chinese companies already signed up for the symposium – and it is already quite the list.

Names confirmed to date are: NINED, Super Captain, FuninVR, Movie Power, Longcheng, Shenlinqijing, LekeVR, Deepoon, Pico, 3Glasses, Jamma, VRway, Xiechuang, VR Creative Vision, 9DVR, Gold Hunter, JMDM and REALIS with more to come.

It promises to be, once again, a very important show for the Chinese market and both VR and AR in Asia as a whole and VRFocus will be bringing you further updates and news regarding it as soon as we can. Source:

VR vs. Nostradamus (2018 Edition) – Part One

Well, here we are again everybody. It’s the beginning of the year, or at the very least the middle of January and it’s time once again for me to make some degree of predictions. Now, I think it’s actually more difficult to do this than this time last year. Then there were some logical degree of progression and I could sort of see which way the wind was blowing. As it turned out, what I actually predicted was over 50% correct which I call a humongous win. This year I’m going to deliberately have some more riskier and out there picks just to freshen things up. I actually see a little bit of a changing of the guard here and there. We might have standalone and wireless coming along but I still think we’re going to get some new players here and there. Some of these are follow ups to last year. Some of these might come across as a bit negative but I do feel like this’ll be a year where we’ll say an equal-ish number of hellos and goodbyes.

As with last year it’ll be a multi-part VR vs. For a number of reasons, mostly because I’ll probably have a lot ot say on a number of these to explain my stance and due circumstances beyond my control at the time of writing, frankly, I’m the only one even here at the moment and my attention is needed elsewhere.

So let’s look back at the list I started writing down in… I think late September last year.

1) Magic Leap Finally Say Something

Yes our old friends at Magic Le- Wait, what’s that?

They’ve actually now gone ahead and have? Oh, for goodness sake! I was relying on that one! Couldn’t they have waited for a few weeks? Didn’t stop them before. Oh well. Whether or not we’ll actually see it in action properly and whether or not it was worth the wait is obviously something I believe still very much up for debate. We’ll have to skip ahead to the next one. Hopefully that’s not got any problems.

Magic Leap One Reveal

1a) Welcome To AR, Amazon (I Said W-AR, Huh, Goo-gle God, Y’all)

Now I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t we just have a story not that long ago about how Amazon had patented an augmented reality (AR) mirror, or something along those lines? Well, yes we did. But this isn’t a situation where that uniquely disqualifies my second, er, first choice right off the bat. Firstly, that wasn’t the only AR stry in recent months there was also the Amazon AR View which, notably uses Apple’s ARKit as opposed to Google’s ARCore – more on that in a moment. And also back in July they patented some other items related to AR. Items with computer, camera and projector connotations. Plus they’ve just teamed up with smart glasses developers Vuzix to bring Alexa to their product. There’s no denying that Amazon are most definately involved in AR. Probably a lot more than many of you remember.

Thankfully, at least for me, that’s not what this prediction is about. Well, it was partly going to be an announcement by Amazon through their actions that they are taking AR seriously. I think that’s a definite now. The main part though was about how this was going to relate to Google.  As I mentioned above, that Amazon chose ARKit is not a big surprise as, for the last eighteen months relations between the two companies have not exactly been jolly.  Indeed, the two have been squaring up over a number of matters. Amazon weren’t selling Google’s Chromecast and Google Home so Google blocked access to YouTube from Amazon devices.  It’s been pointed out that Amazon are one of the few companies that could pose a threat to Google, and the matter probably wasn’t helped by Google making deals and partnerships in an effort to combat Amazon’s services.

My point is if we’re going to have a new tech heavyweight war it’s these two. Google is used to having everyone follow it Pied Piper style, dancing to their tune. Amazon doesn’t have to. And if Amazon is so inclined it could go directly against Google in one of its other fields of interest – and to me, considering those patents and other interests AR sounds like a good fit.  Expect some more stepping on toes from both sides, with Google’s assistant going to a Vuzix rival quite possibly to start things, before Amazon’s decide to spent a lot more attention on AR. Wherever Google are enjoying success basically.

2) Welcome To Immersion, Elon Musk

It must be so sad being Elon Musk.  So lonely. When you’ve got over 20 Billion (USD) in the bank what on earth do you do with yourself day after day? I mean it’s not like the American business guru has done anything recently. Let me see, he’s only trying to solve America’s traffic problems by starting his own tunnel digging company. Won a $50 Million (USD) bet about providing a the largest ever lithium-ion battery for South Australia. Speaking of power, specifically electricity he’s the head of Tesla and one of the people dragging the electric car kicking and screaming into feasibility. He’s looking to open access artificial intelligence with his company OpenAI – and integrate it with the human brain in another company he owns called Neuralink.  Then there’s his involvement in trying to develop super-fast transport with the hyperloop system thanks to his company, Hyperloop One. Is there anything else? Let me see…. oh yes, he’s trying to make freaking space travel viable!

Seriously, is there nothing this man isn’t doing? He’s like a modern-day Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  Well, as a matter of fact there is, solar power! He’s not doing anyth-… oh he is doing solar power? SolarCity you say? Oh.

Well, since taking on yet another big project isn’t beyond the possibilities of Elon Musk, one thing he isn’t currently involved with is immersive technologies – and considering a lot of his other businesses getting on board with either VR or AR would be a very interesting fit. Both would work well for integration into the hyperloop experience for passengers, or The Boring Company (yes, it is actually called that) for their engineers. AR would be interesting to develop with SpaceX in mind, and wasn’t Palmer Luckey working to develop VR beamed into your brains, or your nervous system or something like that? If you’ve got a company looking to combine the brain with AI that sounds like a conversation you may want to have together at some point.

And speaking of Palmer Luckey…

3) The Prodigal Son Returns… To Oculus Connect, Anyway

This year well have our fifth Oculus Connect event, so expect it to be called OCV nearer the time. It’s amazing how things have moved so quickly.  The first part of last year was obviously the ongoing saga of Luckey’s departure from Oculus and the ramifications of that. Now he’s back in the game with a Tolkien referencing company, and two conventions is probably just the right amount of time for people for enough water to pass under the needed bridges and for people to let things go enough that he make an appearance. To be clear, attendance is all I’m predicting here but I frankly wouldn’t put it past Luckey even making an on-stage appearance to perhaps discuss his work at the other company or as part of a panel debating something.  After all, he’s been on stage for HTC Vive, so that might be a sign to Oculus that it would not be okay for that to happen.

Palmer Luckey, Founder at Oculus

4) Bye Bye OSVR

Does anyone actually use the OSVR? I’ve got one. It’s currently sitting on top of a wardrobe in my bedroom after its installer tried to eat my new computer I’d just shelled out two grand on. But its place in the pecking order of VR PC head mounted displays (HMDs) has now been usurped by the Windows Mixed Reality headset, I rarely see support listed for it on steam items and…  frankly I don’t actually see a point in it anymore. What’s it being used for? Research and education probably. And whilst that’s (soemwhat) its present that should be its permanent future. Have existing headsets move into the education system and have the OSVR become the first headset college kids can easily get hands on to en masse and properly experiment with.

I just don’t see where it fits any more, and I have to wonder if Razer also think that. Either we get another upgrade, which I think is unlikely, or it’s time to pack up the tent, sell off the elephants and see if there’s anything on the patents side that could be useful. If we say farewell to anyone this year from the hardware side my bet is on Razer and the OSVR project.

osvr-headerThat’s enough for this week. I’ll be back next week for part two, which looking at my list will be very console VR related. I’ll see you then at the usual time. Have a good rest of the week. Source:

Localisation At The Heart Of The Matter As “Final” Lone Echo Patch Goes Live

2017 was quite the year for a number of videogames in the virtual reality (VR) space. There was the continued success of Resident Evil VII biohazard, which continues to pull in numbers to VR and not that long ago received a ‘Gold Edition’ release. There’s the Bethesda VR trinity of titles that took VR by storm at the end of the year, with Fallout 4 VR, DOOM VFR and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR all taking plaudits. There was L.A. Noire’s new lease of life and the creation of The VR Case Files by Activision too. 

Lone Echo

Flying the flag in its own way however has been Ready At Dawn with their Oculus Rift titles Lone Echo and multiplayer spinoff Echo Arena. It was the latter (alongside The Unspoken) that was the centre-point of VR’s first real eSports tournament The VR Challenge League which will complete its inaugural season at the beginning of March at the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Event in Katowice, Poland. Echo Combat, which continues broadening the Echo universe and is set to be a big expansion to Echo Arena is also due out this year.

This doesn’t mean Lone Echo has been forgotten in the proceedings though, and a new patch – referred to in the email VRFocus received about it as “Lone Echo‘s final patch” – has just been released. a triple hit of updates bundled together under the banner of the Atlas Patch.  Predominantly these revolve around a combination of additional localisation and new features which have been added to increase the amount of physics related play available in the game. This has been added by Ready At Dawn as they look to take more of an advantage when using the capabilities of higher end CPUs and which can be now found in the videogame settings under ‘CPU Intensive Features’.

Lone Echo
For non-English speakers, or for whom English is not their first language French, German and Spanish have now been added to the title – both audio and text. You can find patch notes relating to the other additions below:

High-Density Set Dressing
You’ll find higher concentration of floating props in various areas of the Station Interior and the Mining Facility. This change will be most noticeable on the Kronos II Bridge, in the Activation Bay, and at both the Primary and Depleted Dig Sites.

Attractor Gun
This unique physics toy sucks in small props while you’re pressing the trigger, shooting them out at high speed upon release. There are two available in the game—look for them in the Activation Bay and at the Primary Dig Site.

Ragdoll Jack Husks
Normally, rigid, inanimate husks of Jack are left behind to mark your death locations. Now, these bodies can gain full ragdoll physics, so you can throw them around the environment with full limb mobility. Note that Jack Husks created by touching Bio Threat challenges will remain static objects attached to the Bio Threat.

Discussing the update on the Oculus Blog, Game Director Dana Jan explained why it was important that this update take place for the studio. “We know that language plays such an important role in our ability to connect to each other and the world around us—the same holds true for the virtual characters and virtual world that we’ve created in Lone Echo. It’s why conversation is one of our core mechanics. We’re happy to announce this localisation update so that more players can enjoy this experience. Thanks for your patience and support.”

A new trailer for the patch has also been released, and you can view that below. VRFocus will be bringing you all the news that relates to the upcoming updates to the Echo universe of titles, and more in the weeks ahead. Source:

4 Most Important Stories From CES and What They Mean for VR in 2018

CES 2018 has come and gone, and with it, a pace has been set for what we can expect to see in VR in the next six months or so. If you weren’t following the day-to-day news, here’s a look at the top stories and what they mean going forward.

HTC Vive Pro

Photo by Road to VR

Perhaps the biggest reveal at CES 2018 was HTC’s Vive Pro. The new VR headset is essentially a complete redesign, notably with an improved screen (upgraded to 2,880 × 1,600 from 2,160 × 1,200), but a number of other enhancements as well. Check out our hands-on for a breakdown of everything the headset has to offer.

Set to be offered initially as a headset-only upgrade to existing Vive users in Q1, a complete package offering new controllers and base stations compatible with SteamVR Tracking 2.0 will be launched later in the year. The Vive Pro and original Vive are planned to be sold alongside one another. As a side note, HTC confirmed to us that the Vive Pro won’t ship with Valve’s ‘Knuckles’ controllers, a bummer for those hoping to finally get their hands on the anticipated controllers which were first revealed back in mid-2017.

HTC also announced an official, optional Vive Wireless Adapter which is planned for availability in Q3 with support for both the Vive Pro and the original Vive. See our hands-on here.

Pricing for the Vive Pro and Vive Wireless Adapter hasn’t yet been announced.

What It Means

The lack of pricing information leaves a big question mark over the impact that the Vive Pro and Vive Wireless Adapter will have in 2018.

The Vive Pro is a clear upgrade over the original Vive, with greater comfort and better visuals. Undoubtedly it stands to put pressure on Oculus who have suggested on a number of occasions that they don’t plan to release a successor to the Rift in 2018. While the Rift debuted back in 2016 with many of the conveniences that now come default with the Vive Pro (notably the rigid head strap with built-in audio), the Pro now has an unignorable lead in visual clarity thanks to its higher resolution screen.

My best guess is that the complete Vive Pro system (headset, base stations, and controllers) will debut at the $800 price point that the Vive had originally launched with back in 2016. If that’s the case, the headset may be in a difference price class entirely compared to the $400 Rift, which means the Rift would still be primarily competing against the Vive rather than the Vive Pro.

But when it comes to commercial and enterprise usage, the Vive Pro (assuming an $800 price point) now appears the obvious choice, especially thanks to SteamVR Tracking 2.0 which can track up to 33 × 33 feet volumes with four base stations. In these sectors, HTC is already believed to have a strong lead over Oculus, and the Vive Pro could cement that throughout 2018.

The big question is whether or not Oculus will introduce their own ‘Rift 1.5’ with an upgraded resolution to match the Vive Pro. With the original Rift and Vive believed to the using the same Samsung-made OLED displays, it seems likely that the new displays being used in the Vive Pro (also believed to be from Samsung) could be installed into the Rift without a major redesign, but, without a better understanding of the internals of the Vive Pro, it’s hard to say.

Lenovo Mirage Solo

Image courtesy Lenovo

At CES 2018, Lenovo debuted the first of the Google-inspired standalone VR headsets based on the Daydream ecosystem, the Mirage Solo. As a standalone headset, the Mirage Solo has everything built inside for a VR experience (display, battery, processing, etc), which means it doesn’t rely on a snap-in smartphone or external computer/console.

It’s also the first Daydream headset to debut with inside-out positional tracking (6DOF), though the controller retains 6DOF.

The Mirage Solo is set to hit shelves in Q2, though Lenovo is being cagey about the price. The company says it’ll be priced “under $400;” and while we’d usually assume they just mean $399, they told us “We’re working on driving down the price so that it’s accessible to more people, and we believe we can reach a more mainstream price point than the prices we shared.”

What It Means

From a performance standpoint, the Mirage Solo is definitely an upgrade over pretty much every mobile VR headset currently on the market. The addition of 6DOF tracking makes for a much better experience which feels much closer to high-end VR headset. There’s also a lot of advantages that come with a standalone design, like improved battery life (which isn’t shared with your smartphone), potential for much better thermal design (resulting in greater performance with less overheating), and more.

However, with the controller having only 3DOF (rotation only) tracking, input is going to be a bit awkward and limiting compared to what would be possible with a fully 6DOF standalone like Oculus’ Santa Cruz prototype which we saw late last year. It’s also unclear how many developers will develop games and experience which take full advantage of 6DOF tracking when the vast majority of mobile headsets currently in existence are only 3DOF. The 6DOF/3DOF split could create undesirable capability fragmentation, at least until the bulk of mobile VR headsets have 6DOF (which they hopefully will sooner rather than later).

Another major question is the price of the Mirage Solo and what it will mean for traction. Mobile VR is all about ‘causal’ and ‘convenient’, but $400 (or even $350) is a significant purchase for a dedicated gaming device. When serious gamers can pick up a 1TB Xbox One or PS4 for $280, the question must be asked—exactly what kind of casual gamer will be dropping $400 on a VR headset? And if they aren’t casual, they probably already own a PS4 or modern gaming PC, which means for about the same price they could easily nab a Rift or PSVR.

Oculus, on the other hand, plans to debut their standalone ‘Go’ headset soon with a much more ‘casual’ $200 price point. And while means the exclusion of 6DOF tracking, it may make more sense for the casual VR niche than a $400 headset like the Mirage Solo which has more features but still fundamentally provides a mobile VR experience.

Continued on Page 2: Xiaomi-branded Oculus Go & Pimax 8K »

The post 4 Most Important Stories From CES and What They Mean for VR in 2018 appeared first on Road to VR. Source:

Clever Fox’s Latest Project Coming To Slamdance Film Festival

Throughout 2017 we saw an increase once again in the use of immersive technology being used to tell a story. After a 2016 which saw a combination of both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) – but mostly VR in this instance – being incorporated into various festivals as special attractions, 2017 saw the technology much more firmly entrenched in proceedings. With a number of festivals dishing out specific awards for VR related projects and elsewhere VR projects gaining critical acclaim and recognition with a number of high profile awards for storytelling and more.

Slamdance Film Festival - DIG

And while it is still only mid-January. the march towards a number of film festivals has already begun with the likes of the Raindance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and more already coming into view on the horizon. One of the first film festivals of the year is the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival. Which this year will run from January 19th to January 25th in Park City, Utah. It just so happens that one of the studios involved in the first time Slamdance hosted submissions for immersive film that has announced a submission for this week’s event.

Immersive entertainment studio Clever Fox was one of the studios, along with the likes of Littlstar, that encouraged production houses in 2016 to submit in the immersive category. Over the years on VRFocus we’ve covered a number of their projects including last year’s The Summoning, 2016’s Broadcast and 2015’s Warp Chase. This time they’ve teamed up with ARwall to present a new AR experience called What We Leave Behind.

An exercise in curating social experiences, What We Leave Behind takes people into a fantastical other world and, using AR to conceal their identities, encourages them to tell personal stories, thoughts and opinions which they would not neccessarily do if their identity was known.

As Clever Fox explains – “We curate our digital life and hide behind it like a mask; a wall that separate us from each other. As we balance on the edge of a tipping point between a brave new world and social, economic and environmental disaster we invite you to enter an alternate reality where you’re free to share your hopes and fears for the future. We give you a new face and the freedom to say the things you can’t. What We Leave Behind is a collaborative storytelling experience using AR technology. Your story is collected online to inspire others.”

“ARwall is thrilled to participate in this ground breaking project at Slamdance. We are always looking for new collaborations that blur the lines between filmmaking, VFX, and augmented reality.” Says Eric Navarrette, CEO of ARwall. “What We Leave Behind will show festival goers first-hand how AR can be used by filmmakers to create visually stunning content in ways that have never before been attempted. We truly believe AR will play a strong part in the future of filmmaking and we’re immensely proud that Slamdance attendees will be among the first group of people to see our pioneering new technology.”

What We Leave BehindThe idea was conceived by artist Dekker Dreyer who worked on a number of the projects previously mentioned. “This is such an important project to me. We feel so isolated sometimes. We’re afraid to express ourselves because of what the comments will say or what we imagine our colleagues or friends will think of us. Creating this alternate reality / identity where we can tell our stories in a visually powerful environment is liberating. I’m humbled to be able to help bring this experience to the Slamdance Film Festival. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a project being created during a festival with the participation of both audiences and filmmakers. Slamdance is an incredible creative community and I can’t wait to see how they bring this project to life.”

What We Leave Behind will be featured daily at the festival and VRFocus will bring you more news from it as we get it. Source:

How Do Two Live One Life? VR Playhouse Introduces The Surrogate

As we’ve seen with increasing regularity the idea of using virtual reality (VR) to tell a different kind of immersive story is becoming more and more common place. Sometimes these come in the form of a videogame such as Artifact 5’s intreguing title Anamorphine which is due to come out in the near future. We’ve also seen creatives turn to VR to help craft their messages in more cinematic experiences and we’ve seen many times on the site all manner of topic covered in pieces for the likes of the Sundance Film Festival and Raindance Film Festival.

The Surrogate - ScreenshotToday’s news comes from Los Angeles, California. Home of VR Playhouse, a full-service production company and creative studio that specialises in creating new worlds in immersive media – both VR and augmented reality (AR). Founded by Christina Heller and Ian Forester, the latter of whom recently discussed his ideas for which industries will drive VR’s growth in 2018. The company have produced a broad range of prodjects, some of which we have previously featured on Everything from music videos to commercial tie-ups with the likes of Toyota.

Today the team announce a brand new VR experience by Creator and Director Peter Flaherty and Producer
Logan Brown which fuses 360 degree video with a CG environment to produce a look into how technology affects our everyday inter-personal relationships. Produced in a way that, according to the studio, channels the same attitude to contemporary storytelling as popular series Black Mirror.

Called The Surrogate, viewers enter the life of Juliana Bach who after being immersed in a world now overflowing with VR and AR experiences has now started suffering from anxiety from it all. The player takes on the role of a surrogate who Bach has hired to live her ‘physical’ life for her, and now she guides the player as they explore an old house Bach once shared with her former husband. Where you go in the twisting maze of rooms beyond the facade of a modern home is up to you – but how are two people supposed to live one life without living it together?

The Surrogate - Screenshot
“I wanted to take a different approach to how we are dealing with this kind of immersive technology as a storytelling tool by offering the viewer a story that combines cinematic live action with an interactive environment,” explains Flaherty. “The technology inspired me to tell a story that looks ahead to what our shared cultural future may hold in the coming years. I wanted to communicate how powerful this exciting new technology is, but how overwhelming it could be to live in a world proliferated with layered media.”

You can find a preview of the work on the Oculus Store, VRFocus will have more about the work being done by VR Playhouse and other creative studios with the VR medium very soon. Source:

VR’s The Star As Amusement Expo International Returns Next Month

Regular readers of VRFocus will know that we often dip into how virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and even mixed reality (MR) are being utilised in the world of arcades and amusements – or to use the umbrella term with other similar ventures, Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment (DOE), in our regular series The Virtual Arena by guest writer Kevin Williams. (The most recent two part column of which you can find here and here.)

The DOE industry is always a busy one with things changing all the time, and the addition of immersive technologies hasn’t done anything to slow things down. In fact there are a number of events already on the way in 2018, in the UK alone this week is the EAG and Visitor Attraction Expo; taking place at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London from tomorrow, January 16th through to January 18th 2018.

At the end of next month however, the DOE industry’s attention will switch back to Las Vegas, Nevada (just after we’ve finished there for everything with CES 2018) for the upcoming Amusement Expo International at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There, for the very first time there’ll be an entire day of panels and seminars all dedicated to VR as well as a dedicated pavilion for VR related exhibitors.

“Arcades will continue to be the locations where most people will first experience VR”, says Bob Cooney who acted as curator for the Amusement Expo International’s ‘Virtual Reality Education’ programme of events. “Billions of dollars have been invested in virtual reality startups based on the expectation that the consumer market was poised to explode. However, with consumer adoption emerging slowly, companies are now flocking to location-based entertainment as a means to showcase their products and build the consumer awareness they hope will lead to greater adoption.”

The current event list is scheduled as follows, with all events taking place in Pavilion 4 at The Westgate Hotel on Tuesday, February 27th:

9:15 AM – 10:15 AM – Introduction: Virtual Reality – History and Trends of Consumer and LBE VR

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – SWOT Analysis for the LBE Market

12:45 PM – 1:30 PM – Moderated Panel: Marketing and Positioning your VR Attraction for Maximum Reach and ROI

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM – Moderated Panel: Why and How VR Attractions Require a Different Operations Mindset

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – How to Select the Right Content and Equipment for your Audience

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM – Thinking Outside the Box

VRFocus will bring you more information about the activities at the event as they are revealed. Source:

Lone Echo’ Gets Final Update as Studio Turns Focus Toward ‘Echo Combat’

Lone Echo (2017), one of the Rift’s most critically acclaimed titles (including one of our 2017 Game of the Year winners), has received a new update today which improves visuals for those playing on high-end hardware and offers up dubbing and menu conversion for three additional languages: French, German, and Spanish.

Lone Echo stands as one of VR’s most highly produced titles to date. Suitably, the game was also the fastest to reach $1 million in revenue on the Oculus store as of October. So it’s good to see that developer Ready at Dawn has continued to tweak and polish the title now almost six months after its July release; the studio says this will be the game’s final update.

Today Ready at Dawn deployed the new ‘Atlas’ patch. Those with high-end hardware (Intel i7 -7700k or above suggested) will now be able to enable three new features in the game’s settings to enhance its look and feel, the game’s development blog explains:

Enhanced Set Dressing

You’ll find higher concentration of floating props in various areas of the Station Interior and the Mining Facility. This change will be most noticeable on the Kronos II Bridge, in the Activation Bay, and at both the Primary and Depleted Dig Sites.

Tractor Device

This unique physics toy sucks in small props while you’re pressing the trigger, shooting them out at high speed upon release. There are two available in the game — look for them in the Activation Bay and at the Primary Dig Site.

Ragdoll Jack Husks

Normally, rigid, inanimate husks of Jack are left behind to mark your death locations. Now, these bodies can gain full ragdoll physics, so you can throw them around the environment with full limb mobility. Note that Jack Husks created by touching Bio Threat challenges will remain static objects attached to the Bio Threat.

Voiceover and Text in French, German, and Spanish

Speakers of French, German, and Spanish can now enjoy Lone Echo with a complete voice and menu text conversion in addition to the game’s native English composition.

– – — – –

These rather late (but welcomed) additions to Lone Echo suggest that Ready at Dawn is very much continuing their work in the VR sector; as the development blog notes, “This is just the beginning of our continued investment in the Echo Games universe.” Some of the new features we’re seeing patched into Lone Echo may even be experiments derived from ongoing development work for Echo Combat—the studio’s forthcoming FPS combat game based in the Echo universe—you can imagine how ragdoll physics and the Tractor Device could be useful in a first person shooter!

Ready at Dawn also teased last year that the story of Liv and Jack, first portrayed in Lone Echo, will continue.

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Sony to Launch ‘Lost in Music’ VR Campaign with Khalid

Sony Corporation has announced the second instalment of its brand campaign, called ‘Lost in Music’. The brand campaign consists of live music events and a virtual reality (VR) music video for PlayStation VR, both featuring Grammy Award nominee singer and songwriter, Khalid.

Sony Corporation Lost In Music

The Lost in Music campaign will roll out with a two-day live event, kicking off with Khalid in Los Angeles, CA, on 19th January 2018, held at the LA Hangar in Los Angeles. Upon arriving at the event, attendees will discover what it is like to be enveloped in sound as they walk through a specially designed entrance tunnel called the Acoustic Vessel ‘Odyssey.’ The experience will feature 576 speakers, which create an experience where sound field synthesis technology allows guests to follow various sounds as they move around them in the Odyssey. Once they have travelled through Odyssey they will arrive at ‘Dreamscape,’ a performance space designed specifically for Khalid and some special guests.

There will also be an event to launch a Lost in Music video series in New York in February 2018, and the Odyssey and Dreamscape experiences will travel to South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas, from 15th – 16th March 2018.

The new VR music video from Khalid will debut on 15th March 2018, at SXSW. The video will then be available on the PlayStation Store from spring 2018 to be enjoyed on PlayStation VR. No specific release date or pricing details have yet been made available.

“I am so excited to be featured in Sony’s Lost in Music campaign for 2018. I can’t wait for the events in LA and Austin, it’s going to be so awesome to connect with my fans through an experience unlike anything I’ve done before. Plus, I get to show them an awesome new VR music video,” said Khalid.

Khalid photo

“Lost in Music aims to deliver unique experiences combining technologies and music as only Sony can,” said Midori Tomita, VP in charge of UX Business Development, Brand Strategy of Sony Corporation. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with Khalid, who was recently nominated for five Grammy Awards, including best new artist. His unique talents are truly highlighted in this latest instalment of our Lost in Music brand campaign, and we are confident that music fans who experience either the concert events or the VR music video will be wowed.”

You can find out more about the campaign at the official Lost in Music website, and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest VR music videos heading to PlayStation VR. Source: