Between the start of the fall release crunch and the increasing importance of Gamescom, we’ve had quite a news week. We already wrote about Age of Empires IV and Jurassic World Evolution, but it turns out that was just the tiniest tip of the Titanic-sinking iceberg.
Tyranny shows off its upcoming expansion, Destiny 2 unveils a premature launch trailer, Battlefront II debuts its 24-player space battles, Brink goes free-to-play, Ubisoft announces Anno 1800, KFC plans to train employees with virtual reality, and more.
Oculus has had a pretty good run for the last six months, slashing the cost of the Rift first to $599 all-inclusive (meaning both the headset and Touch controllers), then to $499—with a temporary sale price of $399 for the summer. And through all that, HTC has done…nothing.
We’ve seen quite a few virtual reality projects that are just ported from normal screens to fancy goggles—Half-Life 2 was a notable early adopter, with Superhot, ARK, Tabletop Simulator, Elite Dangerous, and more taking the same route. But a game starting in VR and then heading to normal screens? That’s a weird one.
That’s what CCP is doing with EVE Valkyrie though. Nearly a year and a half after Valkyrie’s dogfighting debuted on the Rift and Vive, a forthcoming update is set to bring it to your non-VR displays.
Rebranded as EVE Valkyrie – Warzone, the update is due to arrive on September 26 (alongside a price drop to $30), at which point you’ll be able to fight both in and out of VR—though I can’t tell from the announcement whether there will be cross-play between headset and monitor users. It seems like it would be unfair, given how much easier it is to look around the cockpit in VR.
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Watch: Virtual reality could get less awkward with Intel’s WiGig technology, which lets you shed the wires that tether you to a PC (or tangle up around your legs). We checked out a prototype at E3 2017, and you could start seeing it in retail products within a year.
When Asus unveiled its Zenfone AR way back at CES, it offered something that no other phone had: augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities. Six months later it’s finally available for purchase—and it’s still the only phone that can handle mixed realities. Now that we know the price and had an opportunity to actually use the Zenfone, it’s even more intriguing.
Apart from its prior-generation Snapdragon 821 processor, the 5.7-inch Zenfone AR boasts some serious power, with a Super AMOLED WQHD 1440 x 2560 display, Adreno 530 graphics chip, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and a 3,300mAh battery. There’s also a 23MP main camera featuring Sony’s super high-res Sony IMX318 sensor, along with laser focus and optical and electronic image stabilization. But the spec sheet doesn’t tell the whole story of the Zenfone AR.
Following news this week that the Oculus Rift headset is being bundled with its then-optional Oculus Touch controllers for $399 this summer, Oculus has now gone ahead and announced a permanent price drop for the pair. No, not $399, but when the “Summer of Rift” promotion ends in five weeks the Rift and Touch bundle will jump to $499 rather than the previous $599 price.
When Oculus announced the Rift would launch at $599—or $799 with the motion-tracked Touch controllers—the Internet-at-large rioted. Years of Palmer Luckey’s promises to hit a $350-400 price sticker with the first consumer model were undercut in an instant.
But it’s put up or shut up time for the holdouts now. Oculus announced the “Summer of Rift” this morning, slashing $200 off the cost of Rift and Touch—meaning you can now get the full bundle for that mythical $399 “for a limited time.”
With the E3 announcement of the Xbox One X, the console wars are revving up again. Microsoft’s newest console will launch on November 7, almost exactly a year after Sony began selling its 4K-capable PlayStation 4 Pro.
“I just can’t stand the wire,” is probably the most common complaint about virtual reality—at least on the hardware side. And for those people, I have exciting news: Wireless VR might be here within the next year, thanks to Intel’s WiGig technology, which we tested using the HTC Vive. No more tripping over cables, or doing that awkward kick-move to untangle your legs.
And while Intel’s WiGig add-on still has quite a ways to go before it’s ready for consumers, the remaining hurdles lie in design and manufacturing more than the underlying wireless tech. The core functionality is rock-solid.
After originally touting the powerful new Xbox One X (formerly Project Scorpio) as a VR-capable console last year, Microsoft backed way off during its formal E3 2017 launch—not even mentioning virtual reality.
To be fair, Microsoft previously signaled that virtual reality was not going to be a priority for the Xbox One X at first. Microsoft already said that it would add VR capabilities to Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One X in 2018, and then revealed to Polygon that it would not be showing off VR technology at E3.