Gaming news summary for August 11, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, the lawsuit between ZeniMax and Facebook over Oculus-related trade secrets continues, Bungie reveals why one Destiny actor has been replaced, Rockstar permanently bans some game modders, and a developer files for bankruptcy after finishing a Kickstarter project
Final consumer-ready VR headset to include Xbox One controller
Oculus has finally uncovered the consumer version of its virtual reality headset, along with other accessories aimed with helping enhance the VR experience. The Rift headset has received some alterations compared to the version used by developers to make it more suitable for consumers, and an unexpected partnership with Microsoft to allow it to work natively with Windows 10 devices as well as for streaming games from the Xbox One into the headset.
Consumer Oculus Rift hardware to require Geforce GTX 970 or equivalent GPU
The consumer version of the Oculus Rift will require a high-powered PC when it is finally released. Oculus VR has advised of PC specifications recommended for the "full Rift experience," and though it includes some fairly standard components for a gaming PC, including 8GB of RAM and an Intel Core i5-4590 processor, it will also need a graphics card that is at least the equivalent of an Nvidia Geforce GTX 970 or an AMD 290.
First Oculus VR release for consumers will be tweaked version of Crescent Bay prototype
The team behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has confirmed a consumer-grade version is on the way, though it will not arrive this year. The Facebook-owned company will be shipping the first consumer edition of the head-mounted display in the first quarter of 2016, with pre-orders for the long-awaited device set to begin sometime later this year.
Input device issue is largest barrier for Oculus Rift commercial release
A consumer edition of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset could arrive sooner than expected, the Oculus VR CEO claims. Speaking at Web Summit 2014 in Dublin, Brendan Iribe advised that the VR headset is "close," and the third Crescent Bay model of the popular head-mounted display is said to be "largely finalized for a consumer product."
Facebook looks to build a business from virtual reality, betting on long term
During the earnings call for third quarter financial results, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave further information on the expectations of the Oculus Rift, including the path he sees Oculus traveling in the future. While no exact information was stated about a consumer release, Zuckerberg said it could take years for the technology to be "meaningful."
360-degree head tracking, positional audio implemented in new hardware
Today at the Oculus Connect conference, Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell not only showed the third version of the Oculus Rift, the "Crescent Bay," but also revealed that the nascent platform is now a Unity 5 build target, opening up the device to a wide range of developers and potentially additional host platforms beyond Windows and OS X. Additionally, the company announced that it has licensed the RealSpace3D audio technology for future versions of the hardware and software.
First generation of technology now available for tinkerers, coders
At this weekend's Oculus Connect conference, the virtual reality company Oculus Rift has made the original Oculus Rift DK1 peripheral's code as well as engineering schematics open source and available for download. The release allows programmers of all stripes to tinker with the code, and potentially develop compatible clone hardware for the peripheral.
Price for Samsungs' VR headset divulged at press event Friday night
Earlier this week in Samsung's press event, it unveiled the Galaxy Gear VR headset -- a peripheral for the also-revealed Galaxy Note 4. At the time, pricing was unknown - but a Samsung spokesperson, speaking with the press has since divulged the price for the headset: $199, without the required Galaxy Note 4.
Hardware specifications are set, improvements will be coming to CD1 model
During GamesCom, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and Vice President of Products Nate Mitchell spoke to Eurogamer, giving some clues on the future of the virtual reality (VR) headset. While neither party had anything to say about a potential release date, new information was given on the price and improvements of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift.
Gear VR photo shows Oculus Rift-inspired design of Samsung headset
A photograph of Samsung's upcoming virtual reality headset has leaked. The image of the headset, codenamed "Project Moonlight" but appearing in a previous leak under the "Gear VR" name, appears to depict a device which combines aspects of the Oculus Rift design with that of Google Cardboard, into a VR headset which reuses an existing smartphone.
Enables development of Oculus-compatible Mac apps
Facebook-owned Oculus VR has released v0.41 of its beta SDK. Mostly a maintenance release, it is however the first to support OS X, which should allow developers to add Oculus Rift support to games and other Mac software. Since Macs are lacking an appropriate display driver, support currently relies on the Extend Desktop mode.
Controllers track hand and body movements, could upset other device developers
Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift headset, is reportedly developing its own motion controllers to accompany the virtual reality (VR) headset. CNet reports that people familiar with situation indicate Oculus is creating a controller in-house that would track hand and body movements for a more immersive VR experience.
Two-day conference aims to share and collaborate in the interest of virtual reality
On top of the RakNet acquisition news today, Oculus VR shared information on the launch of its first developer conference. Oculus Connect offers a two-day conference for developers and creators that aims to aid in the creation of the "best virtual reality experiences possible."
Oculus used RakNet internally, decided to open source under modified BSD license
Oculus VR announced another acquisition today, this time picking up RakNet for its multiplayer middleware. RakNet is featured in a number of games across multiple platforms due to its comprehensive engine. In the same announcement, Oculus stated that it is open-sourcing the technology.
Oculus Rift intended for developers, not for resale at a profit
The Oculus Rift has managed to achieve over 100,000 developer kit sales, but not without some issues. The Facebook-owned company, Oculus VR, has been forced to suspend sales of the virtual reality headset to Chinese customers, with many orders to the country canceled under the suspicion that Oculus Rift headsets are being resold at a profit, instead of being used by developers as the company intended.
Second developer kit for Oculus Rift on the way to developers
Developers who pre-ordered the second version of the Oculus Rift developer kit will soon start to receive their orders. The Facebook-owned company is advising that it will be shipping approximately 10,000 units of Developer Kit 2 (DK2) from the factory, with the first batches expected to start reaching developers from July 14th onwards.
Design team, Oculus working together for a nearly year on unannounced projects
Facebook's acquisition of Oculus VR has allowed the team behind the virtual reality headset to be aggressive in expanding its team. Today, the company announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire Carbon Design. The Seattle-based studio is responsible for the design of a number of products in the electronic world, including the original Kinect, the Xbox 360 controller and several Microsoft mice.
Facebook not expecting mass adoption of version one of the product
Executive interviews at E3 have spelled out exactly what the Facebook expects from the early stages of its Oculus Rift VR headset release. Oculus CEO Brendan Irebe pointed out some areas that he was expecting the device to improve on before release, and revealed that he is expecting "north of a million" device sales of the first consumer version of the headset, which may sell at cost to help improve adoption.
Crash Bandicoot director to head first-party game development for company
Oculus VR announced yesterday that they have welcomed a game console veteran to the company. Jason Rubin, a co-founder of the Sony studio Naughty Dog, has number of big-name franchises under his belt, including Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. Rubin left Naughty Dog in 2004 before joining THQ as president in 2012.
Our imagined future is getting closer everyday with VR and 3D audio
Electronista has had the opportunity to go hands-on with the Oculus Rift VR headset, courtesy of AMD in order to the capabilities of AMD's new TrueAudio digital signal processing that comes built-in on some of its newest GPU and APU cores. What is particularly special about the demo we experienced with AMD at Computex Taipei is they way it has worked with partner GenAudio AstoundSound, using its 3D sound localization cue technology, to make the Oculus Rift experience even more incredible and immersive. We have also embedded a video below to give you a sense of this amazing technology works.
Japan release date set as August 14 for Dynasty Warrior style game
A release date for Tecmo Koei's Hyrule Warriors has been published, according to Siliconera. The Wii U game takes characters from classic Nintendo series The Legend of Zelda and puts them in combat series that mimics the Dynasty Warriors franchise. Information regarding the story and characters were released in a magazine, on top of the August 14 release date for Japan.
Suit seeks recompense in the wake of Facebook buyout deal
Parent company of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, and its founder Palmer Luckey, are being sued by ZeniMax. The suit codifies previous complaints by ZeniMax that Luckey and Oculus Chief Technology Officer John Carmack used ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology to build the Oculus Rift headset, and infringed ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks doing so.
Ticket blaster experience gets VR upgrade as company looks at new technologies
Cutting-edge virtual reality may not be something that comes to mind when someone thinks about children's restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese, but it soon might be. The popular birthday hub is teaming up with Reel FX and Oculus VR to bring a new gaming experience to its patrons. An old favorite, the Ticket Blaster, will get a new look for kids that are taking part in birthday parties with the "Chuck E. Cheese's Virtual Ticket Blaster Experience."
Ivy Ross leads Google Glass effort, Adrian Wong leaves for Oculus VR
The leadership of Googles Glass has changed, with the tech giant hiring a fashion executive to head up the team. Ivy Ross, formerly of a string of high-profile companies, joins Google at the same time as news that lead electrical engineer Adrian Wong has left the project and Google in favor of Facebook and recent-acquisition Oculus VR.
Upcoming Parrot Skycontroller will connect with VR headsets
Parrot has unveiled its latest remote-controlled drone, one which can take advantage of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The Bebop Drone follows on from the earlier AR.Drone releases by being a compact quadricopter with a camera, except this time the company is offering accessories that can boost the range and the usability of the flying machine.
ZeniMax claims John Carmack misappropriated company VR IP upon departure
The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset may be about to fall victim to a patent lawsuit. Game developer ZeniMax Media, previous employer of John Carmack, Oculus' chief technology officer, is claiming that Carmack appropriated ZeniMax's intellectual property related to virtual reality and took it with him to Oculus. Zenimax is claiming that the IP theft allowed Oculus to grow quickly, and take advantage of Facebook's $2 billion dollar buyout offer, which has yet to close.
Atlantis Productions announces upcoming wildlife documentary to be created for Oculus Rift headset
Atlantic Productions has announced its plan to create wildlife programming for virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift. Sir David Attenborough is said to be fronting the production, entitled Conquest of the Skies. Currently filming in Borneo, Conquest of the Skies could potentially be the first major wildlife production made available for the new tech gear, offering a 360-degree visual experience. Atlantic has already created natural history productions through its Sky 3D joint venture firm Colossus Productions, with the upcoming project for use with Oculus Rift being treated as an opportunity for pursuing a new film medium.
Coding legend feels VR is ultimately 'The Final Platform'
The driving force behind game developer and distributor Valve's virtual reality effort has left the company. Michael Abrash has taken a job at post-Facebook acquisition Oculus, as chief scientist. In a post announcing the shift (and defending the acquisition), Abrash claims that "Facebook's acquisition of Oculus means that VR is going to happen in all its glory."
Purchase by Facebook follows 75,000 Oculus Rift orders
Facebook has announced it will be acquiring Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The agreement, worth approximately $2 billion, is split down between $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock currently worth $1.6 billion, with an extra $300 million cash and stock earn-out on top for achieving certain milestones.
Blurring reduced, resolution increased in updated Oculus Rift VR headset
Oculus VR has revealed the latest iteration of its Oculus Rift developer kit at the Game Developers Conference, and is now accepting pre-orders for the upgraded virtual reality headset. Development Kit 2 (DK2) is based on the updated Crystal Cove prototype the company demonstrated at CES in January, and introduces a number of new features for developers to take advantage of.
ITA to promote VR and to collaborate on Virtual Reality technologies
A collective of companies working on virtual reality technologies is rebranding itself in time for the Game Developers Conference. The Stereoscopic 3D Gaming Alliance is now calling itself the Immersive Technology Alliance (ITA) and will continue to "foster a vibrant and diverse industry that content makers can support on a wide scale."
Extra capital to finalize design, start production of Oculus Rift
Oculus VR has raised another $75 million in funding, in order to bring the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to consumers. The extra funding, following an earlier $16 million round in June and the original $2.4 million raised through its Kickstarter campaign, will be used to finalize the design of the consumer version, as well as to help it finally enter production.
Video game legend turns focus to headset gaming
John Carmack, creator of the Doom video game, has left id Gaming, a company he helped found, in order to focus on developing the Oculus Rift gaming headset. Carmack works as the Chief Technology Officer for Oculus, and departing id will allow the gaming legend to put more effort to into the immersive game devices. The Oculus project made a splash last year when its Kickstarter campaign pulled in more than $2.4 million, far surpassing its original goal of $250,000.
Carmack will still hold his position at id Software while CTO
Gaming legend John Carmack, best known for his work with Id Software, is officially joining the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset team as its new Chief Technology Officer. In a release announcing the hire, Carmack is praised by the company as one of the "very few people in the world" that can contribute to the Oculus Rift and the future of virtual reality.
Cost of virtual reality headset could be offset by games, content
The CEO of Oculus hopes to offer its virtual reality headset to customers in the future as close to free as possible. Brendan Iribe suggests that the Kickstarter-backed Oculus Rift could end up being given to users at no charge in the distant future, with the possibility of games on the device eventually subsidizing the cost of the headset itself.
Oculus VR parent company to use funds for commercialization of device
Oculus VR, Inc., a virtual-reality headset manufacturer, today announced that it has closed a deal for $16 million in funding. The round was co-led by Spark Capital and Matrix Partners. Santo Politi, Spark founder and general partner; and Antonio Rodriguez, entrepreneur and general partner at Matrix, have joined the company's board of directors. The funds will be used to accelerate the development of virtual reality hardware, software and services, ultimately creating commercially-available virtual reality platforms.
Kickstarter headset simple to disassemble, replace parts
The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is reportedly easy to fix, after a recent teardown. The score of 9 out of 10 from iFixit, though preliminary due to being a beta product designed for developers and not an item designed for end-users, with the speedy 10-minute teardown and relatively simple construction marred by cables kept together by tape and two "annoying" foam adhesive pads holding the LCD screen in place.
Virtual reality display endorsed by gaming luminaries
A Kickstarter drive for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset reached its $250,000 goal within hours of starting. The headset, endorsed by gaming legends John Carmack and Cliff Bleszinski, boasts a 110 degree diagonal and 90 degree horizontal field of view, a resolution of 1280x800 split into 640x800 per eye, and 6 degrees of freedom with a claimed "ultra-low" latency, a problem that has plagued VR systems in the past.