In case you love gaming and somehow managed to miss that one of the worlds biggest gaming conventions took place this week, let me give you the run down on what happened. Gaming worlds got bigger, the Toy/Game Hybrid has arrived (again) and Virtual Reality got a refresh which is what we’re going to be taking a closer look at.
Before we delve into emerging Virtual Reality trends lets talk about the big non hardware related news that took place E3. Game worlds are going to be getting even bigger! The hardware is stepping up its game so the worlds that we get to romp around it are too. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Destiny and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain are adding more than just a few suburbs, some estimate we’re talking 1/3 size increase. While Assassin’s Creed Unity is getting a lot more dense with hundreds of characters flooding the streets of Paris and this new densely populated world is getting a more cooperative game mode. We’re seeing this model extend to driving game The Crew and Yoshi’s Woolly World as well.
If you’re an 80s child like my self I’m sure you’ve already had your dreams crushed by the realization that GiJoe, HeMan and ThunderCats were all created to sell mechandise. If you were afraid that childhood ritual was lossing it luster, think again. This Christmas look forward to having to buy a plush toy or collectors style action figure along side your video game. Nintendo launched a line of Amiibo figurines that include Mario, Donkey Kong and Pikachu. Activision is also throwing its hat in with Skylanders and Disney Infinity has Marvel superheroes.
The trend that we want to take a closer look at is Virtual Reality, Oculus Rift has been all over the news with its sale to Facebook and they weren’t with out gaming news at E3. They were showing off several gaming titles for the Rift, EVE Valkyrie, Alien Isolation, Lucky’s Tale & SuperHot. Our favorite is EVE Valkyrie is an intergalactic dogfight from CCP Games. You’re in the thick of it right in the cockpit of a spaceship capable of all kind of aerial maneuvers. This is an updated edition of Valkyrie which as stunning visuals especially when the ship is damaged, the cracked glass shouldn’t be missed. We’ve got some sample gameplay below, apparently the word over on Twitter is that this is the best representative for VR gaming so far.
A few months ago Sony also announced Project Morpheus so they actually don’t have that much to talk about three games were shown at E3 Morpheus Castle, Street Luge and The Deep where you are in an underwater cage. Sony is defiantly playing catch up with the Rift as the games don’t look or feel as polished. But you should check out Street Luge anyeays, I wouldn’t say no if it showed up in my living room.
Mark Peng attended E3 as the eyes an ears of Mobile Geeks and reported back with an interesting and relatively unknown headset maker called Cmoar, pronounced ‘See More’. They have a totally different approach to VR than the industry titans but is very similar to products like Durovis Dive and Vrase. Cmoar also consists of a case with some lenses that you pop your smartphone into after downloading an app. But here is where things get interesting, Cmoar comes with 3 different lenses or bases each enable a different experience 2D Cinema, 3D Stereoscopic Cinema and an VR or AR base. The phone talks to the headset by throwing the content over via Miracast.
The 2D Cinema base is for movie watching and is a single, fresnel lense for both eyes. The 3D base is for movies or apps that have been optimized and offers a side by side stereoscopic experience with dual fresnels. Of course there is the Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality base which are meant to have 95 degree Field of Vision.
The other stand apart feature is that Cmoar has a killer design, even if it is a little big. Rather than separate carrying cases for each of the pieces, it transforms into a shell that will turn heads.
It makes sense that we are seeing new smartphone VR solutions appear at shows like E3, since our mobile phones raw compute power and graphics capabilities are exploding. We’re not surprised that some innovating start ups are taking advantage of KickStarter to make this new area of machine human interaction more accessible.
Personally I support any technology that makes me feel like I’m in space and since NASA has jumped on the Rift bandwagon I can’t help but wonder if one day I’ll be able to be Sandra Bullock in my own private version of Gravity. Take a look at the video below and let me know if you think I’m totally off my rocker for thinking something like that!