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Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform Commercially Debuts in Oculus Quest 2

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, is powering better-than-ever virtual reality (VR) gameplay and experiences with the launch of Oculus Quest 2, the first-to-launch VR device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform. Oculus Quest 2 is a culmination of years of collaboration between Qualcomm Technologies and Facebook to create the most advanced and immersive gaming VR experiences for consumers to-date.

Purpose-built for extended reality (XR), the Snapdragon XR2 Platform unlocks staggering improvements including twice the CPU and GPU performance compared to its predecessor which powers the original Oculus Quest headset. The Snapdragon XR2 Platform delivers significant performance enhancements in Oculus Quest 2 including:

Logitech G Unveils Two Audio Solutions for New Oculus Quest 2

Logitech G, a brand of Logitech, and leading innovator of gaming technologies and gear, today announced new Oculus Ready immersive audio solutions for Oculus Quest 2 gamers. The new Logitech G333 VR Gaming Earphones and the Logitech G PRO Gaming Headset for Oculus Quest 2.

"The teams at Oculus and Logitech G share the same passion for gaming, and the same ambition to push innovation, design and technology to new heights. We are proud to be partnering with Oculus to deliver a next gen Oculus Ready VR audio experience," said Vadim Kogan, head of business development for VR and AR at Logitech. "The Logitech G333 VR Gaming Earphones and the PRO Gaming Headset have both been thoughtfully designed to support VR set up and to provide the most immersive and refined audio experience possible."

Oculus Quest 2 Set To Feature Snapdragon XR2 Processor

In a recent video accidentally published on the Facebook Blueprint developer site and officially confirmed by the vice president of Facebook Labs details all the new features and changes found on the Oculus Quest 2. The leak confirms many of the existing rumors about the upcoming headset which is set to be announced later this week at Facebook Connect. The Oculus Quest 2 will feature the Snapdragon XR2 processor which has been specifically designed for AR/VR devices and should provide a significant performance increase over the Snapdragon 835 found in the original quest.

The Oculus Quest 2 will feature "nearly 2K Resolution per eye" which would put the total resolution at just under 4K possibly 3,840 x 2,160. The video did not mention if the display refresh rate would be increased from the 72Hz found on the original Quest but the XR2 platform can support up to 90Hz screens. The ram has been increased to 6 GB from the 4 GB found on the original and max storage has been expanded to 256 GB.

Facebook Technologies Stops Sales of Oculus VR Headset in Germany

Facebook Technologies, a subsidiary of Facebook Inc. and owner of Oculus, has today "temporarily" suspended sales of Oculus VR headsets in Germany. The news is coming today after Oculus announced that all of the new Oculus accounts have to move to the Facebook login system before January 1, 2023, when all of the current Oculus accounts will be suspended. The German data protection law is extremely suspicious of Facebook's behavior and how they handle user data in general, so Oculus has potentially decided to stop the sales to avoid any possible antitrust regulations from the German government. The exact reason is unknown, and it is yet to be revealed, however, the suspicions laid out here may be part of the reason.

Have Some Facebook With Your VR: Facebook and Oculus Integration to Become Mandatory

Back in 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion, then Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey said that the acquisition was made with respect for the Oculus ecosystem as a whole, and that its management would be akin to that of a private entity that just so happened to be under Facebook's umbrella. Fast forward to 2020, though, and that seems to no longer be the case. Facebook has announced that Oculus accounts will be phased out; come this fall, all new Oculus accounts will have to go through a Facebook one - if you are one of the holdouts from that particular social network, you'll just have to bit the bullet.

The transition will be gradual; starting this October, new accounts will have to be linked through Facebook. Existing standalone Oculus accounts will still be supported; however, they will only be grandfathered until 2023. According to Facebook, they'll still allow users to run their content on these accounts; but any new apps and content that's acquired for the system after then will not be available for usage in such scenarios. Facebook further said that some content might stop working by then, due to integration of some applications' backends with Facebook-bound accounts, capabilities and servers. And thus, Facebook will finally be fully integrated with Oculus, ensuring a new ecosystem of users, and thus, new data on which to base their publicity and marketing efforts. It's all about the value a user brings; and perhaps some social network integration with your VR environments. Because nothing makes more sense than creating Facebook-bound communities in the VR space, and seeing a Like emote pop up on your most recent spaceflight maneuver.

Potential Oculus Quest Successor Leaked

The Oculus Quest is a standalone VR headset released in May 2019, the headset features a Snapdragon 835 and inside-out tracking. The headset has received various software updates bringing features such as hand-tracking and SteamVR tether support which have proved to be a hit with consumers. A leaked image of a potential Oculus Quest successor was posted on Twitter by @h0x0d which shows an iterative upgrade to the original headset.

The leaked image shows updated Oculus Touch controllers and general ergonomic improvements however, most improvements are likely to be internal with speculation of a faster screen and updated processor. This seems like a logical move for Oculus which recently discontinued their budget Oculus Go headset and announced their intentions to focus on Oculus Quest going forwards.

Oculus Discontinues the Content Consumption Focused Oculus Go headset

Since we launched Oculus Go two years ago, VR technology has improved at an incredible pace. Oculus Go's success first proved that the all-in-one form factor can deliver highly immersive experiences. A year later, Oculus Quest redefined the category, with full head and hand movement powered by our Insight tracking system. Quest enabled incredible VR games like Beat Saber, Dance Central, and The Climb with the freedom of an untethered experience, plus access to high-powered PC games like Asgard's Wrath and Stormland through Oculus Link. Just past the one-year anniversary of Quest, we're humbled by its continued success. The community response has been overwhelmingly positive, and you've told us loud and clear that 6DOF feels like the future of VR. That's why we're going all-in, and we won't be shipping any more 3DOF VR products. We'll end sales of Oculus Go headsets this year as we double down on improving our offerings for Quest and Rift.

New "Oculus Jedi" Controllers Leak in Oculus Quest Firmware Update

In a recent driver update for the Oculus Quest references to the upcoming "Oculus Jedi" controllers were discovered by Gerald McAlister. The "Oculus Jedi" controllers are expected to complement the next-generation "Del Mar" standalone VR headset. In an analysis of the drivers UploadVR discovered several key changes in the new design.

When the new "Oculus Jedi" drivers are compared to the existing Oculus Touch controller firmware it is revealed that new controllers will retain the original inputs and layout of the Touch controllers with a thumbstick, index trigger, grip trigger, A/X button, B/Y button, and a system/menu button. The Jedi controller may receive a tracking update with faster controller polling and a new ICM-426-series TDK chip. The updated IMU should greatly reduce noise and improve resolution of tracking to allow more precise positioning of the controller. Other improvements may include updated an updated haptics driver and analog finger sensing like what is found on the Valve Index.

Oculus Connect 7 to be Held as a Digital Event Later This Year

Every year, Oculus Connect brings together developers, content creators, marketers, and more to celebrate the VR industry's momentum and growth. In light of the evolving public health risks related to COVID-19, we've decided to shift Oculus Connect 7 to a digital format later this year.

This was a tough decision to make, but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees, and everyone involved in OC7. Oculus Connect gives us an unprecedented opportunity to connect with our global developer community. OC7 will be no exception, and we look forward to sharing more details about the digital event in the coming months.

3dRudder Introduces a Wireless Bridge for the 3dRudder Foot Motion Controller

As standalone wireless headsets such as the Oculus Quest grow strongly in popularity, 3dRudder is preparing full support of the wireless experience. The new 3dRudder Wireless Bridge adds wireless supports to the 3dRudder foot motion controller for PC. This new module enables developers and businesses to create games and applications for wireless headsets that integrate native 3dRudder support, providing users with a natural motion experience. It is especially of great importance as hand tracking becomes the main interaction method.

The release of wireless headsets such as the Oculus Quest paves the way for a massive adoption of VR by consumers and businesses. The objective is an out-of-the-box ready experience, where users do not need powerful PCs and do not have to juggle with complex command schemes found in hand controllers. The hands suddenly become free of controllers and the user can interact naturally with the VR worlds, either bear hands or with gloves offering haptic and force feedback. The feet are used for what they are best at: moving. The 3dRudder foot motion controller is used to handle effortless and hyper intuitive movements at the feet, offering 4 axes that can be combined together to move in the 3 dimensions seamlessly (forward/backward, left/right stafe, left/right turn, up/down) as shown in this video.

Valve Confirms First-Party VR Headset Titled Valve Index, Launches May 2019

PAX East 2019 brought with it some exciting news, and the world of virtual reality no doubt sees this news as the biggest in quite some time. Valve has finally made good on their promises from yesteryear, bringing in personnel to work on both the hardware and software side of the VR market. We first saw a hint of this via a prototype VR HMD late last year, with leaked specs confirming it was Valve's own design going beyond the established competition at the time from HTC Vive and Oculus. Since then, the Vive Pro has come out with an even higher-end version using eye-tracking to target prosumers initially, and also showcasing foveated rendering that will no doubt herald VR getting more mainstream and allowing for a higher graphical fidelity as well.

The so-called Valve Index has been listed on Steam now, with no other information to see than from the image below. We know it is coming in a couple of months, perhaps even during Computex although it is unlikely. It certainly looks similar to the prototype HMD, and presumably retains the 135° field-of-view and 2,880 x 1,600 total resolution. No mention of the Steam Knuckles controller here, but that is no surprise for a teaser. What we can tell is the headset has a physical slider, presumably to assist with pupillary distance calibration, as well as fairly large lenses that extend outwards which may assist with IR-based tracking. There is no mention of HTC anywhere here, and it would be right up Valve's alley to introduce this at a relatively affordable price point to then make up on software and distribution (savings via Steam) instead. Perhaps we will see the long-rumored Half Life VR as a launch title? Time will tell, and this may well be the big boost to gaming VR that is sorely needed.

Oculus Announces the Rift S Headset for $399, Developed in Partnership With Lenovo

Oculus today announced an improvement to their original Rift headset, the Oculus Rift S. The new headset from oculus builds upon advances in their view of a VR experience, as well as from learnings acquired through the development of the original Rift, the smartphone-only Oculus Go, and the standalone Oculus Quest, to deliver the new, ultimate VR experience in the Oculus field.

The Oculus S features improved panels with a 2560x1440 resolution (just like the Oculus GO), offering 40% more pixels and improving the pixel subsystem with groupings of three instead of two. It also features Oculus Quest's Inside-Out tracking capabilities, with five cameras instead of the Quests' four, alongside redesigned controllers.

2018 Was the Year of VR Headsets - Except it Wasn't, According to Steam Hardware Survey

Steam, being the most widely used games platform for the PC ecosystem, has proven weight on current hardware employed by gamers. While not wholly representative, let's just say it caters to enough of the PC gaming population that we can infer some broad strokes of the current state of the market. And for all the hailing for a newcoming of VR in 2018, it would seem that happened, with a doubling of the attachment rate for VR headsets on Steam's hardware surveys. If we're only speaking relatively, that is.

More interesting and important than the "doubling" in VR headset attachment rate to Steam's user's is the fact that this only increased said attachment rate to around 0.8% of Steam's user base. Of these 0.8%, 0.37% of Steam users who took part in the December survey carry an Oculus Rift, with HTC Vive close behind at 0.33%. The overall increase in usage for each of these headsets was 85% and 65% throughout 2018, respectively - still definitely a far cry from the kind of market penetration that was expected of this latest generation of VR. As for Windows Mixed Reality products? They make-up 0.07% of the Steam survey's results.

The ZeniMax-Oculus Odyssey is Over - Facebook Settles the Dispute For Undisclosed Sum

Remember the lawsuit ZeniMax threw Oculus' way? Well, that seems to be settled now, after a back and forward that always saw Oculus (even after the Facebook acquisition) having to pay damages to ZeniMax - at first, $500 million, which was then reduced to $250 million.

Now, the litigation seems to have come to an end, as CNBC reports that ZeniMax's CEO has acknowledged that a settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement were undisclosed (and so was the sum that Facebook definitely had to pay ZeniMax), but CNBC got a statement from the ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman that read: "We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome. While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties." While ZeniMax says they are fully satisfied with the outcome, it's certainly a far cry from the original up to $4 billion and Oculus sales being blocked that the company was after in the initial terms of the lawsuit.

Valve Seemingly Preparing Their Own VR Headset; Hints Point to Half Life VR Bundle

In June 2016 Valve announced 'Destinations', a Steam workshop not easy to find anymore, that allowed the end user to enter real and fictitious scenarios through the magic of virtual reality. The idea was intriguing, but the media was not completely sold and judged Valve's proposal as both "the best and the worst of VR". From all this, however, came a singular discovery: those who reverse-engineered its code discovered in it the HLVR acronym, which initiated a wide debate about the potential appearance of a Half Life VR (HLVR) version specifically developed for VR headsets.

Lending further credence to this hypothesis was Gabe Newell's announcement in February 2017 that Valve was preparing three big titles for virtual reality- two of them based on Source 2, and one of them based on Unity. More such signs appeared in the summer of 2018, and everything was pointing towards this project being indeed real, that it would likely be based on Source 2, and that it would offer a full-fledged blockbuster title that this generation of VR has been desperately seeking. We now have more data courtesy a "leaked email" to Reddit user 2flock that suggests Valve's work is apparently going beyond just VR game development, as images of a prototype device seen below confirm that Valve is also working on its own VR head-mounted display (HMD), one whose development would also be more advanced than initially suspected.

Brendan Iribe Oculus VR Co-Founder Leaves Company

Brendan Iribe, a co-founder of Oculus VR, has announced that he will be leaving the company today in a Facebook post. Having been with the company since its inception in July of 2012, he is now moving on after in his own words "six incredible years." Having been a part of the initial VR push with the Oculus Rift, he has left an indelible mark on an industry that is still growing into its own today.

Calling his tenure at Oculus and Facebook a "transformative experience" Iribe was thankful to the people around him including his team that has been a part of his journey thus far. However, after 20 years he considers now a good time to take a break and "to recharge, reflect and be creative." Even so, it will be interesting to see what he does next, considering he has already co-founded a previous company, Scaleform that was bought by Autodesk in 2011 and then worked for Gaikai before the Sony acquisition in 2012. With a track record in tech that spans multiple industries, it likely won't be long before Iribe is working on the next big thing.

CCP Says They Expected the VR Market to Boom Much Sooner

CCP, makers of the legendary EVE Online, made quite a substantial push for VR in the coming of age of Oculus' Rift and HTC's Vive products in the form of EVE: Valkyrie. The game was fully developed by CCP's Newcastle studio with VR systems in mind (including the PS4's), but failed to... sound off quite as much as the developer wanted it to. During last weekend's EVE Vegas FanFest, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson told Destructoid that the company expected VR to become bigger, faster, than it ever did, with utilization rates being way below the marketed attachment rates and sales of VR headsets.

"We expected VR to be two to three times as big as it was, period. You can't build a business on that.", said Hilmar Veigar Pétursson "If it does take off, and I mean if, we'll re-assess. The important thing is we need to see the metrics for active users of VR. A lot of people bought headsets just to try it out. How many of those people are active? We found that in terms of our data, a lot of users weren't. May of last year (2017) is when we started to figure it out. Was it a surprise? Maybe. But the picture was filling in that there would not be a way to continue with VR as heavily as we were. No regrets. It was right to stop, and it was right to start. I remain a long-term believer of VR." Perhaps things will turn around with subsequent generations of more affordable VR headsets, such as Oculus' Quest, but... It might take some time and slow iteration.

A New Standalone VR Headset in Town: Oculus Quest Will Cost $399, Arrives In Spring 2019

Standalones headsets are the new flavor of the VR town this side of 2018. They bring a sorely needed dimension to this segment, allowing users to enjoy some VR experiences that are near what the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive offer, but with a much more palatable price and format. The ability to not be tethered also means being able to experience room-scale VR without having your lizard brain worry about tripping on cables either. This brings us to the Oculus Quest that was launched this week at the Oculus Connect 5 developer conference, just a couple of years after the debut of Project Santa Cruz that has finally culminated in a retail product.

The new wireless, standalone headset goes beyond what Oculus Go went to when announced earlier this year. Based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (Oculus Go was based on a Snapdragon 821) and offering 64 GB of integrated storage, the Oculus Quest offers 1600x1440 resolution per eye and has full six degrees of freedom (6DOF) support versus the three degrees on the Oculus Go. The headset will be available in spring of next year for $399, and more details can be seen past the break.

IDC - Despite Sharp Decline in VR Headset Shipments in Q2 2018, Market Outlook Remains Positive

Worldwide shipments of virtual reality (VR) headsets were down 33.7% year over year in the second quarter of 2018 (2Q18), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Augmented and Virtual Reality Headset Tracker. IDC expects this to be a temporary setback as the VR market finds its legs. The arrival of new products, such as the Oculus Go and HTC Vive Pro, and new brands, combined with the need for greater headset fidelity all point to a positive outlook for the quarters ahead.

Screenless viewers brought a lot of attention to VR in the early days as the entire market was artificially propped up by brands like Samsung, Alcatel, and Google that bundled the headsets with smartphones. However, since then, the screenless viewer category has declined substantially, shrinking from 1 million headsets in 2Q17 to 409,000 in 2Q18. This category was the largest contributor to the decline in shipments for the overall VR headset market.

Raja Hires Larrabee Architect Tom Forsyth to Help With Intel GPU

A few months ago we reported that Raja Koduri has left AMD to work at Intel on their new discrete GPU project. Looks like he's building a strong team, with the most recent addition being Tom Forsyth who is the father of Larrabee, which was Intel's first attempt at making an x86-based graphics processor. While Larrabee did not achieve its goal and is considered a failure by many, it brought some interesting improvements to the world, for example AVX512, and is now sold under the Xeon Phi brand.

Tom, who has previously worked at Oculus, Valve, and 3DLabs posted on Twitter that he's joining Intel in Raja's group, but he's "Not entirely sure what he'll be working on just yet." At Oculus and Valve he worked on Virtual Reality projects, for example he wrote big chunks of the Team Fortress 2 VR support for the Oculus Rift. Taking a look at Tom's papers suggests that he might join the Intel team as lead for VR-related projects, as that's without a doubt one of Raja's favorite topics to talk about.

Oculus Go VR Headset Now Available Starting at $199

Facebook has announced that their Oculus Go portable VR headset is now available in 23 different countries at oculus.com, Amazon, Best Buy, and Newegg. The headset features a cordless design which means that it doesn't need to be connected to a PC or smartphone to function. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, the Oculus Go boasts a fast-switch LCD display with a 2560 x 1440 WQHD resolution and a pixel density of 538 ppi. The headset is designed to be worn by consumers with or without glasses. However, consumers can purchase compatible VirtuClear prescription lenses and insert them directly into the Oculus Go. The headset also comes with built-in spatial audio and an integrated microphone for communication. The unit is shipped with over 1000 VR games, social applications, and 360° experiences for users to experience. The Oculus Go starts at $199 USD for the 32 GB model and $249 USD for the 64 GB model.

Party with Your PC and PSVR Buddies in SportsBar VR 2.0

VR development specialists Perilous Orbit and Cherry Pop Games announced today that a huge new update for SportsBar VR is now available for download. SportsBar VR 2.0 offers cross-play support for Steam, Oculus Home, and Sony's PlayStationVR platforms, along with new features and gameplay modes. Pool, darts, air hockey and more are all part of the experience, along with some "less than standard" games, like epic trick shots, bottle throwing contests, and other sorts of unique VR-themed fun in an environment where nobody gets hurt and nobody has to clean up!

Sports Bar VR was the first VR title to reach Steam's Global Top 10, reach Sony's top ten PSVR sellers list, score an unprecedented 97% rating on Steam, and 2.0 is going to bring even more of what those fans loved! To celebrate the launch, Sports Bar VR 2.0 is on sale on for a limited time on PC platforms and is a free update to existing users on all platforms.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.11.4 Drivers

AMD today put out its fourth Radeon Software release of the month, the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.11.4 Beta. These drivers come with optimization for "Doom" VFR, and Oculus Dash Open Beta. The drivers fix an issue with certain levels of HBCC size adjustments causing system instability on machines with Radeon RX Vega series graphics cards. It also fixes a system hang noticed when switching display modes on "Star Wars Battlefront II" on CrossFire machines. Also fixed, are incorrect clock and power values being reported on some machines with RX Vega series graphics cards. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.11.4

Latest LG Patent Reveals UltraGear VR Headset Splitting in Two

LG demonstrated their prototype VR headset at the Game Developer Conference earlier this year. It was widely known as the LG VR HMD, since it lacked a proper name at the time. Mobiel Kopen, a very popular Dutch publication, later discovered a LG filed patent revealing the device's name to be the UltraGear. LG's UltraGear headset, just like the HTC Vive, employs Valve's SteamVR tracking technology. Both headsets even share a similar controller design. However, LG has implemented two 3.64" OLED displays into the UltraGear, which features a 1440 x 1280 resolution and an impressive 90 Hz refresh rate to beat out both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets. But LG's innovative flip-up design is the real differentiating factor here. The concept is to give users the option to lift the front of the headset when they want to exit the VR world.

Sparc Coming Later This Month to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive

CCP Games today announced that Sparc, the energetic competitive virtual reality game currently available on PlayStationVR, is coming to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets on PC on November 16th. Sparc's unique full-body experience is only possible in virtual reality, where players' VR equipment becomes their sports gear.

Players on PlayStation 4 and PCs will be able to compete against each other seamlessly. In Sparc, players connect online to compete in fast-paced and physical one-on-one gameplay, using motion controllers to throw projectiles across the court at their opponent while dodging, blocking or deflecting incoming shots.
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