Hands-on: The $399 Oculus Rift S kicks off the next gen of PC-based VR by appealing to the masses

Oculus isn’t giving up on PC-based virtual reality yet. It’s been three years since the original Oculus Rift launched, and you’d be forgiven for thinking Oculus’s attention was elsewhere. All we’ve heard about the past year and a half was its standalone headset, the upcoming Oculus Quest, due to release this spring.

But as it turns out, Oculus has two headsets releasing this spring. Announced this morning at GDC, the Oculus Rift S is the Quest’s PC equivalent and the Rift’s proper successor, a slightly higher-end headset at a relatively affordable price.

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from PCWorld https://ift.tt/2HJUJKo

HP’s high-res Reverb VR headset blows the screen door effect off its hinges

That dreaded low-resolution “screen door effect” that’s dogged virtual reality imaging since its inception just got blown off its hinges by HP’s Reverb VR headset.

Announced Tuesday at HP Reinvent in Houston, the Reverb boasts twice the resolution of its predecessor—2,160×2,160—plus a wider 114-degree field of view. The Reverb is the highest-resolution HMD (head-mounted display) that’s shipping among “major” makers, the company said.

That caveat of “major” HMD makers obviously excludes such smaller projects as Pimax’s 8K headset. Even so, HP’s Reverb will likely ship ahead of Pimax’s unit.

mvimg 20190305 164839 Gordon Mah Ung

The controllers don’t change for HP’s Reverb, but the company has integrated Bluetooth into the headset to improve connection issues. HP’s also improved the tracking algorithms.

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from PCWorld https://ift.tt/2Fc40bk

Touching holograms with HoloLens 2 is amazing, but phone AR is way more fun

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is a technically amazing device. In a matter of minutes, the device was comfortably strapped to my head, my eyes were scanned, and a small hummingbird was fluttering in front of my face and “landing” on my outstretched hand.

Then I looked to the right, and the hummingbird disappeared. Microsoft made a big deal of HoloLens’s two-fold increase in field of vision (FOV) over the original version’s, but it’s still small enough where I was very aware of the edges of the frame. It might look and feel like a VR headset, but it doesn’t behave like one at all. It’s not really anything like the augmented reality (AR) apps on your phone, either. But it’s definitely a bridge to something better in the not-so-distant future.

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from PCWorld https://ift.tt/2NyA8tB

Microsoft launches HoloLens 2 with a strong business bent

At $3,500 apiece, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 may not be the transformational consumer device we were all hoping to buy. But the company addressed many of the shortcomings of the original HoloLens at the Mobile World Congress launch of the second generation, holding out hope that we may one day see a more consumer-oriented product.

As Microsoft has signaled for several years now, HoloLens 2 is designed to work with its Azure cloud and business customers, complete with an intriguing new Remote Rendering technology that implies Microsoft’s using the power of its Azure cloud to boost the HoloLens headset’s image processing capabilities. Epic chief Tim Sweeney appeared on stage to endorse HoloLens and bring the Unreal engine to HoloLens beginning in May. He did not announce a HoloLens-specific game, though.

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from PCWorld https://ift.tt/2GKW8kb

Microsoft launches HoloLens 2 with a strong business bent

At $3,500 apiece, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 may not be the transformational consumer device we were all hoping to buy. But the company addressed many of the shortcomings of the original HoloLens at the Mobile World Congress launch of the second generation, holding out hope that we may one day see a more consumer-oriented product.

As Microsoft has signaled for several years now, HoloLens 2 is designed to work with its Azure cloud and business customers, complete with an intriguing new Remote Rendering technology that implies Microsoft’s using the power of its Azure cloud to boost the HoloLens headset’s image processing capabilities. Epic chief Tim Sweeney appeared on stage to endorse HoloLens and bring the Unreal engine to HoloLens beginning in May. He did not announce a HoloLens-specific game, though.

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from PCWorld https://ift.tt/2GIyWDl

This week in games: The film Groundhog Day gets a VR sequel, Creative Assembly teases a new shooter

Well they were a few days late for Groundhog Day, but the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day is getting a sequel. The weird part? It’s in virtual reality, and is being developed by Tequila Works.

That news, plus free copies of Axiom Verge, Kabal’s triumphant return to Mortal Kombat, Creative Assembly breaking free from strategy games once again, a Sekiro story trailer, Two Point Hospital gets an interiors overhaul, and more. This is gaming news for February 4 to 8.

On the verge

Looking for this week’s free game rations? It’s Axiom Verge, a Metroid-style game from a few years back. Great sci-fi look, great soundtrack, and it’s decently fun to boot. It’s part of Epic’s “Please come use our storefront” giveaway, so you’ll need to create an Epic account to take advantage. Assuming you’re okay with that? It’s yours to keep forever.

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from PCWorld http://bit.ly/2MWiX4N

HTC reveals two new VR headsets, the untethered Vive Cosmos and gaze-tracking Vive Pro Eye

A few months back we went to look at HTC’s new Vive Focus, a clunky standalone headset that stumbled through all the demos we tried. It didn’t impress us much, to say the least—and that was a shame, because HTC needs something to counter Oculus’s upcoming standalone Quest headset. Much as we love PCs here at PCWorld, the Quest’s slick wireless VR is impressive enough that we’ve already hypothesized it “could be the VR headset moving forward.”

Luckily HTC gets a second try. At CES, HTC hosted a small press conference that revealed multiple new pieces of hardware: The Vive Cosmos and Vive Pro Eye. Details on both were skimpy, but perhaps HTC’s finally landed upon a proper Oculus Quest competitor.

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from PCWorld http://bit.ly/2H07Ybi

What the ambitious Mad Box console implies about the future of gaming

“The most powerful console ever built.” No, I’m not talking about Microsoft’s Xbox One X. That’s old news at this point. We’re looking towards the future now, to the so-called Mad Box, a new console announced by Project CARS developer Slightly Mad Studios this week. CEO Ian Bell promises the Mad Box will run games at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second, with full support for the major virtual reality headsets—thus the “most powerful console” comment.

And he promises it will ship in three-ish years, for a price comparable to other next-gen consoles—which raises the question, what will those next-gen consoles look like? What does the Mad Box tell us, if anything, about the PlayStation 5 and whatever Microsoft’s next Xbox is named? What features will be important? And, in turn, what effect will that have on the PC?

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from PCWorld http://bit.ly/2Fg4hN5