The VR Job Hub: Video Content Producer at VRFocus

It’s a good job you’re here, as VRFocus has an exciting new opportunity for someone reading this very page! The team is looking to expand with a new Video Content Producer covering all aspects of our video work: presenting, interviews, editing, channel management and more! Think you’ve got what it takes to work in the super fast-paced world of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) video reporting?

As one of the leading AR and VR publications in the world, VRFocus operates to a very demanding schedule. There’s always something happening, somewhere, and the right candidate can keep on top of anything that’s breaking whilst still ensuring that long form content is delivered to schedule. You’ll be part producer, part presenter and part evangelist as you travel the world to bring the latest and greatest in AR and VR to our audience. The hours are long but exciting, the work is hard but rewarding; VRFocus is looking for a new addition to the team that can take all this onboard and make it their own!

What you’ll do

– Video presenting: Writing and presenting to-camera pieces discussing the latest trends and biggest hits in AR/VR.
– Interviews: Conducting interviews with developers and notable industry figures in the AR/VR scene.
– Video editing: In addition to the above original content, we need to take our footage and meme-fy it. We need our podcast recordings to have a video version. We need our social media content to include video. We need video!


– Competitive salary
– Extensive global travel
– Work alongside rockstar talent with big ambitions and actions that match
– Part of an international team (we have offices in SF too)
– Be part of one of the fastest growing company in the space (from 4 to 17 employees in 1 year) backed by renowned investors like Speedinvest or FounderFactory.

The ideal candidate

– Our team is small enough that we need to work with self starters. You will not be micromanaged, which means you need to be good at reverse-engineering results.

Want to help build a unicorn? Send your CV and relevant examples of your work now!

Review: Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – VR Missions

The long awaited, frequently delayed Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown has finally launched, bringing with it a selection of PlayStation VR exclusive challenges. Known as the ‘VR Missions’, this gameplay feature has been a hot topic of discussion amongst the virtual reality (VR) community for several months, and now we can finally say that the quality of the experience delivered has been worth the wait.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown screenshot

It would be remiss not to begin by adding a significant caveat to the opening statement in that while the gameplay is indeed top notch, it is very short lived. The rather diminutive VR campaign – engrossing as it is – will likely take just a single evening to complete for the first time. Additional playthroughs are of course encouraged by way of the ranking system, but nonetheless Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown’s VR element is most certainly an addition to the core videogame, opposed to feeling complete in its own right.

The VR Missions are structured very similarly to that of the core campaign, as you might expect, but aren’t necessarily intended to follow after. The opening mission presents enough hints in its gentle introduction that players could very well jump straight into the VR Missions without needing to head through the basic tutorial, though doing so may see a few downed planes or ally bases being caught unawares. The increase in difficulty is harsher than that of the non-VR campaign due to its brevity, but the core Ace Combat audience will undoubtedly revel in having a new way to experience a real challenge.

Using the DualShock 4 controller the standard non-VR gameplay offers two control schemes aimed at casual players and ‘experts’, but in the VR Missions segment of the package only the latter is available. It may seem like a strange design decision but is undoubtedly due to the first-person default, more immersive nature of the VR gameplay. Of course, there’s always the option of utilising Thrustmaster’s T.Flight Hotas 4 flight control stick, but VRFocus will save jumping in-depth on this for another day.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown screenshot

It’s that added level of immersion that the VR Missions capitalise upon. All of the cockpits you will enter have been specifically redesigned from the ground-up to make full use of the PlayStation VR; simulating aspects of flight control that would otherwise be impossible on a videogame console. The attention to detail is simply phenomenal, and certain encounters will undoubtedly get your heart racing at times; collisions with enemy craft or the first time you experience cloud bursting.

In addition to the missions themselves, which are offered at three difficulty settings, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown includes two other VR modes unlockable through continued play: Free Flight and Air Show. These are simple additions that present further gameplay opportunities but lack the depth of the core experience. Worthwhile as contenders for showcasing VR to aeronautical enthusiast friends and relatives, these gameplay modes remain unlikely to hold your attention for too long beyond the basic assortment of missions. Inherent to the package, then, the VR Missions are most definitely an add-on opposed to a core principle of the videogame.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown screenshot

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is a wonderful addition to the PlayStation VR’s software catalogue, but is undeniably limited. Those who had already decided to purchase this latest edition of the beloved series will find the VR Missions a perfect accompaniment to their non-VR experience; however, it would be extremely hard to recommend that anyone purchase Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown based on the strength of the VR element alone.

  • Verdict

Fight for Your Right to Eat Pizza in Counter Fight 3

Tricol Co. Ltd. today continues its popular series of virtual reality (VR) time management videogames with the launch of Counter Fight 3, now available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality head-mounted displays (HMDs). Counter Fight 3 will push your pizza-topping skills to the max, as well as introducing some you characters to your business operations.

Counter Fight 3 screenshot

Set in an Italian takeaway restaurant in the US, Counter Fight 3 challenges players to create several kinds of pizza, pasta, fries and soft drinks to order. All the ingredients are laid out in front of you and your kitchen is well prepared for an influx of new customers, but the key to any successful business is to keep those people happy, regardless of how demanding they may be.

‘Demanding’ is the key here, as in typical Counter Fight fashion, armed robbers may well decide to take your profits from you by force. Players will have to fight back their armed adversaries in order to keep control of their customers and their cash. However, new to Counter Fight 3, things can get even worse when an infestation of the undead arrives.

Counter Fight 3 features two gameplay modes; Endless Challenge and Time Attack. Endless Mode sees the player tasked with preparing the requested dishes as quick as possible while ensuring the delivery is correct. Add a wrong topping or spill a drink and you’ll make your customers angry, incurring an ‘anger gauge’ point. Once five points have been accumulated it’s game over. Time Attack mode is based around high scores, in which the player has just five minutes to acquire as many points as possible.

Taking a little inspiration from the hugely popular Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, Counter Fight 3 is packed with Easter Eggs and teases designed to have the player experimenting with their environment. Everything you can reach can be touched and interacted with, and there are numerous hidden gimmicks and weapons available to repel robbers and zombies when the need arises.

Counter Fight 3 screenshot

Counter Fight 3 is now available via Steam for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality HMDs, priced at £11.39 GBP. A launch promotion, which runs until 26th December 2018, sees the price discounted to £10.25. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on the Counter Fight series and further VR titles from Tricol Co. Ltd.

Borderlands 2 VR: The Rights and the Wrongs

2K Games’ efforts in virtual reality (VR) have been limited but are undoubtedly a good sign of things to come. Having bigger publishers pushing the VR agenda can only be a welcome thing for the youthful medium, and bringing heavy-weight videogame franchises into the fray is most certainly a good strategy for increasing adoption amongst existing fanbases. Borderlands 2 VR – essentially a revision of the already re-released Borderlands 2 – is 2K Games’ challenger for 2018, and it’s proving divisive amongst the VR early adopters.

Borderlands 2 VR

There’s no denying that 2K Games is a fantastic VR experience, as demonstrated in VRFocusBorderlands 2 VR review, however, there’s more going on under the hood that’s worth paying attention to. It’s not a straight-forward case of ‘Borderlands 2 in VR’ as the frantic pace of the action simply wouldn’t work. Instead, developer Gearbox Software has invested significant effort in ensuring that Borderlands 2 VR has been carefully adapted for VR play. That in itself brings with it a number of design decisions that might prove hard to swallow for some.

First-Person Control in VR

Borderlands 2 VR’s control systems have been designed to incorporate a plethora of options adjustable to suit anyone’s taste. Full locomotion is included as standard on the DualShock 4 controller as a testament to the demands of more experienced VR gamers, however, PlayStation Move control is limited to a somewhat frustratingly implemented teleportation-only scheme. It’s a real shame that Gearbox Software haven’t seen fit to follow the path of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR’s PlayStation Move design, but not as disappointing as…

Borderlands 2 VR Does Not Support PlayStation Aim Controllers

Exactly why the decision was made not to offer support for the PlayStation Aim controller is baffling. Borderlands 2 VR could have easily integrated the peripheral in a similar fashion to Firewall: Zero Hour or Arizona Sunshine, but instead the design team has completely ignored the device. Could it be that including support for a peripheral that only works with another peripheral was considered too niche for Gearbox Software’s time investment? VRFocus has hopes that support may be offered via a patch down the line.

Borderlands VR - Screenshot

Bad Ass Mega Fun Time

One of Borderlands 2 VR’s biggest new additions is Bad Ass Mega Fun Time (B.A.M.F. Time) which is both an interesting ability combined with a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. Essentially the player (regardless of chosen character class) is able to slow time to the point of almost pausing the videogame to allow them to line-up some headshots or outwit the enemies. However, it’s a pretty thin veil dressed over the fact that it is obviously also intended to fix any mid-game issues incurred by the hardware; teleporting against a wall and being shot from behind, enemies too far in the distance being marred by the low resolution of the PlayStation VR. B.A.M.F. Time is undoubtedly welcome, but also feels a little cheap at times.

Combat Mechanics

So, while B.A.M.F Time has been brought in to address certain issues, another change that has been made is a significant reduction in the speed of the combat. Enemies will still outnumber the player at almost all times, but the pressure is now more on prioritising your targets over our maneuvering your adversaries. Some enemies will still be crackshots taking to your head from long range, others will still incessantly charge towards you in a panic-driven fury; however all of this can be taken in your stride as Borderlands 2 VR allows a few additional moments of respite before any potential death may befall you. Whether or not you think this is a good thing will largely depend on your level of experience with first-person shooters (FPS’) in VR, but odds-on that most players will welcome the change of pace.

Borderlands 2 VR

Borderlands 2 VR Multiplayer

Or rather, the lack thereof. Every bloodline Borderlands videogame has always been designed as a multiplayer experience, so it comes as something of a shock that Borderlands 2 VR omits this aspect entirely. Of course, it’s still a hugely enjoyable FPS experience regardless, but much of the franchise’s fanbase might question whether or not it will hold-up when going it alone. Of course, as with all VR, the proof can’t be seen in videos or articles such as this, but rather in experiencing it for yourself.

Borderlands 2 VR DLC

And again, the omission of it. Borderlands 2 VR does not include any of the downloadable content (DLC) made for previous editions of the videogame: it is an adaptation of Borderlands 2. It’s not a ‘Game of the Year’ edition or a port to a new console. It’s quite simply a recreation of the original PlayStation 3 release in VR. It is a massive videogame in its own right, but as with Fallout 4 VR, one has to wonder what plans may lay ahead. Do 2K Games intend on offering the DLC at a later date? Will it be free, or carry a premium price tag? No details have yet been made available regarding this, but you can bet that much of the decision making process will depend on Borderlands 2 VR’s sales numbers come the new year.

Borderlands VR - Screenshot

A Mixed Bag? Still fun though.

So yes, Boderlands 2 VR isn’t without flaws. It’s a videogame that has been designed to offer something new to something old, and with that it makes for a wonderful, engrossing VR experience in its own right. However, when directly compared to the original editions of the videogame – something which a core VR audience may not often wish to do – there are still some cracks that need to be filled rather than simply painted over. Despite the issues Borderlands 2 VR is still an easy recommendation for any VR gamer, and a good sign that 2K Games is taking the medium seriously.

Supermassive Games Launch Daydream Exclusive Shattered State

UK based Supermassive Games has made a name for itself in the field of virtual reality (VR), debuting with two titles for the PlayStation VR launch, Tumble VR and Until Dawn: A Rush of Blood, and subsequently doubling their output in 2018 with The Inpatient and Bravo Team. Today, the development studio moves onto a new platform, Google Daydream, with the release of Shattered State.

Shattered State screenshot

Shattered State: Leading A Brave New World

Shattered State is a story led adventure videogame, in which the player takes on the role of a new government body, the National Intelligence Agency, during a time of unrest. The fictional country has been torn apart by civil war, with the north and south at political and economical odds. The people in each of the new democracies feel they haven’t been treated fairly by the other side, and so when a terrorist attack hits your capital city it’s up to you to determine who is responsible, and how to deal with the fallout during a state of emergency.

“We give you the role of the director of the National Intelligence Agency, which is a fictitious federal security organization in a fictitious country,” states Steve Goss, Director of Design and Technology at Supermassive Games, in an interview with VRFocus. “It’s a country driven by political disagreement; it’s a country with nationalism and liberalism, and minorities. It reflects a super view of what the world – of what countries – can feel like.

“We put you into a political situation of this country’s worst ever day, and we ask you to make decisions on the fate of the nation.”

Developing for Google Daydream

Developing Shattered State for mobile VR after having spent years working on high-end PlayStation 4 projects was certainly a challenge, Supermassive Games readily admits. “We’ve worked with very high-end platforms, very popular platforms, like Sony’s VR platform, and doing something on a mobile VR platform is a big challenge. Bringing our production values into that space; that’s been something we wanted to try and do,” says Goss. “We wanted to make a story – an experience – that could be consumed on a mobile device.

“For lots of creative reasons and technical reasons, it was a challenge we really felt wanted to go for, and we came up with a story and an idea which I think sits well on the platform.”

Shattered State screenshot

Shattered State Now Available for Google Daydream

Shattered State is now available for Google Daydream compatible devices exclusively, downloadable via the Google Play Store. The videogame is priced at £7.99 GBP, and you can watch the full interview with Goss in the video below. Stay right here with VRFocus for more on Shattered State coming soon.

Review: Borderlands 2 VR

Gearbox Software’s Borderlands franchise was hailed as one of the best new IPs on the previous generation of consoles, offering three bloodline outings on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The most popular of these has received something of a revamp for 2018, with Borderlands 2 now hitting PlayStation 4 as a PlayStation VR exclusive title under the guise of Borderlands 2 VR.

Borderlands 2 VR

As you might be expecting from the title, Borderlands 2 VR isn’t an overhaul of the original title as much as it is a remodel designed specifically for virtual reality (VR). The storyline, locations, characters, enemies and near-everything else is exactly the same as the original title. However, much like last year’s hugely popular The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, the new medium breathes life into a well worn, previously re-released shell. Borderlands 2 VR, like Bethesda’s reworks before it, is a brand new way to experience a hugely popular videogame, and for that Gearbox Software can’t be faulted.

For the uninitiated, Borderlands 2 VR is a first-person shooter experience that is less about reaching the endgame than it is the journey. Players can simply run through the mission objectives and complete the core plot should they wish, but to do so would be to miss the finer points of the loot hunting extravaganza that Gearbox Software has created. Finding new weapons and items is common, and trying different combinations of armaments and ammo types always makes for fresh and interest assaults. Choosing the place and time to make such an aggression is also part of the openness that Borderlands 2 VR offers; willing players will regularly find themselves distracted for hours at a time by roaming enemies of interesting dwelling finds before remembering precisely what their actual objective is. And alongside all of this comes a deep character progression system (with four very different character classes available) which allows players to either patch over the cracks in their playstyle or amp-up their inherent advantages as a walking dealer of death.

While the core of Borderlands 2 VR takes place in a large-scale central hub world, players will frequently travel to different locations and experience a wide range of environments along their journey. In order to navigate such a huge and varied series of environments while in VR Gearbox Software has created a series of control schemes adaptable to your personal taste (and for the protection from possible simulation sickness, which Claptrap himself makes light of at the very start of the videogame). Borderlands 2 VR is playable with either a DualShock 4 controller or two PlayStation Move controllers, and works very well on either. The brief tutorial at the very start of the videogame introduces teleportation first, though free locomotion is also available from the start without the need to toggle any menu options: the development team has obviously paid attention to the debate that has been waging for over a year now, and has presented the two most widely accepted control methods as standard with further customisation available in the menu system. Given the attention paid to this movement with blinkered views and snap turns as default, Borderlands 2 VR couldn’t be better positioned to please every VR gamer’s movement and control preferences.

Borderlands VR - Screenshot

One new addition to the action worthy of note is the B.A.M.F. Time (Bad Ass Mega Fun Time), which allows the player to slowdown time for a few seconds. This feature is available soon after beginning the videogame regardless of which class you choose, and while it has a cooldown period (like the skills which are restricted by character class) it’s very handy for not only getting you out of sticky situations, but also amping up the aggression when needed. Furthermore, it’s useful when navigating if caught unawares; while the ever-present mini-map does show enemy locations, during those intense moments when gunfire reigns down upon you and you’re unable to locate the enemy B.A.M.F. Time will allow the player to negotiate between the snap turn control system and the viewpoint to find the critter causing them damage.

The visual quality of Borderlands 2 VR isn’t necessarily what would be expected of a modern PlayStation 4 title, but given the necessity to run at a locked 90fps while rendering the image twice for stereoscopic 3D, there’s certainly nothing to complain about. In-game furniture such as health and the aforementioned mini-map are displayed on-screen at all times, though the menus do suffer the same clipping issues with environmental objects that existed in the original release. Outside of this, Borderlands 2 VR looks just as good as its PlayStation 3 predecessor and performs well with detail effect and multiple on-screen enemies without any of the dreaded simulation sickness-inducing framerate drops. Borderlands 2 VR is in fact one of the best looking titles currently available for PlayStation VR, which becomes most evident after some progression through the videogame’s varied landscapes.

Borderlands 2 VR

Gearbox Software’s desire to create VR content has been known for some time, and while it was expected that one of their franchises would eventually make its way to head-mounted displays (HMDs) it’s somewhat of a surprise that Borderlands was the first AAA the studio decided to go with. A pleasant surprise, that is, as Borderlands 2 VR is most certainly a highlight of this year’s VR releases and one of the best titles yet to hit PlayStation VR. Its still Borderlands 2, sure, but you’ve never played Borderlands 2 like this before.

  • Verdict10

Review: Arca’s Path

The videogames industry falls in-and-out of love with virtual reality (VR) on a near-weekly basis, but there are certain properties that have committed whole heartedly to the medium. Dream Reality Interactive (dRi) are most certainly one of them, launching their first consumer VR title across a multitude of head-mounted displays (HMDs) whilst eschewing the given norms of appealing to the audience that currently exist there.

Arca's Path - Screenshot (E3 2018)

Arca’s Path is a puzzle videogame that takes a bit of a nostalgia trip, inspiring memories of marble-based videogames from the mid-90s. The player takes control of a young girl after she morphs into a ball via the use of a special mask – the storyline is nothing short of bizarre, but is delivered in an effortlessly interesting manner by way of graphic novel style 2D panels – which the ultimate goal being to reach the end of each level. This starts off very simply; a range of wide spaces and corridors with a generous no-fail boundary. However as the player progresses through the videogame’s 25 levels they’ll be tasked with navigating deadends, solving block puzzles and traveling at speed down huge slaloms with broken, twisting pathways.

Designed for a wide variety of HMDs, Arca’s Path has opted for a control system that can be mirrored across all hardware; high-end PC based systems and mobile devices. There’s no need for a controller of any kind, instead the single input in the videogame is gaze based. The player simply looks in the direction they wish the ball to move, and returns the centre of their view under the ball to bring it to a complete stop. Anyone with an understanding of traditional videogame controllers will immediately understand the direct translation from analog stick to gaze control, able to control acceleration and momentum, and perform turns on a dime.

The signposting of the player’s effect on the ball is subtle but perfectly pitched. A semi-translucent arrow denotes direction, and the distance from the ball indicates speed. Though the player can move their view to a point where the ball is no longer visible, there is little need as top speed can always be achieved while it remains within. It’s a system that may have been devised with low-end devices in mind, but has obviously benefited from significant investment of time and QA to ensure that it delivers across all HMDs.

Arca's Path - Screenshot (E3 2018)

The visual quality of Arca’s Path won’t astound anyone, but the attention to detail and variety of environments is certainly respectable. The player will find themselves moving through many unique areas as they progress through the videogame, moving from lush green pastures through colder stone surroundings to dark and grimy tracks. The soundtrack follows a similar path; interesting enough to hold your attention without distracting from the task at hand.

Arca’s Path comes at a time when VR is maturing. We’re seeing the medium move away from the deep trench of wave shooters that began to suffocate the medium and coming back to more unique ideas built specifically for the hardware. Arca’s Path is exactly this kind of experience – it would arguably work as a traditional non-VR videogame, but certainly wouldn’t have the same impact – and as such offers an engrossing worthy of your time aside any bigger titles that may be on your agenda. It does also act well as a first-step into VR, which despite now having more than two years of consumer adoption is still an important factor over this holiday season.

  • Verdict

Preview: Arca’s Path – Marble Madness Rolls into VR

Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to be so many things. Even when adding in a limiting factor such as fulfilling the remit of ‘videogame’, there’s still so much room to explore and design entirely new experiences not yet offered by the medium. It’s become tiring, then, when a new first-person shooter (FPS) comes into the fray purporting to offer something new to the genre and ends up with little more than cookie-cutter gameplay. Dream Reality Interactive (dRi), are refusing to follow this mould.

Arca's Path - Screenshot (E3 2018)

Having begun to push against the given boundaries of augmented reality (AR) and VR videogame design in 2017 with Orbu, a popular iOS title using ARKit, dRi are set to launch their first commercial VR project, Arca’s Path, one year later. Published by Rebellion of Battlezone fame, Arca’s Path has been specifically designed to be scalable to a full range of VR head-mounted displays (HMDs), and as such will be launched on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR and many more simultaneously.

Considering the varied inputs available for this multitude of HMDs, dRi has chosen to use a common denominator for the basis of the entire videogame: viewpoint. For the uninitiated, Arca’s Path is a marble-based puzzle videogame in which the player guides their marble – a young lady transformed by a magic face mask – simply by looking in a specific direction. Movement is determined via the location of the ball opposed to the world scale; looking at a space won’t move the ball to it, but rather in the direction that space is in relation to the ball. Looking further afield will move the ball faster, and staring directly at the ball will bring it to a standstill.

As would be expected, Arca’s Path starts off very gently. Allowing the player experiment with momentum and turning on gentle ramps and no-fail courses. By the time the player is faced with ramps, breakable blocks and steep descents controlling the ball’s movement with the central point of your view will have become second nature. Then it’s about challenging yourself to execute tight turns at speed, hit ramps perfectly for optimum lift and exploring the levels to find all the hidden gems.

Arca's Path - Screenshot (E3 2018)

The final version of Arca’s Path will ship with 25 levels, for which basic completion is expected to take around 2-4 hours. However, finding those gems is an added incentive which in turn will unlock new gameplay opportunities. The scale of Arca’s Path may seem slight, but that’s entirely intentional. The videogame has been designed to be challenging but in enjoyable bite-sized chunks. dRi is ready to accept that VR hasn’t yet matured to the point where a mass market audience would happily spend hours at a time wearing an HMD, and while Arca’s Path will most definitely be enjoyed by the core videogame demographic it’s clearly positioned as an experience that anyone can enjoy.

The Future of AR and VR on VRFocus

It’s been just three weeks short of five years since I made that bold decision to bet my career on a very much unproven technology. Like many of you reading this, I took a chance and changed my life forever; virtual reality (VR) may still be a nascent technology, but the community behind it certainly isn’t. From the original Oculus Rift development kit right through to the upcoming Oculus Quest, VRFocus has been at the forefront of the VR scene, and I’m very proud to have been the captain of this ship for so long.

However, the industry has changed a lot within that time. There have been seismic shifts from booming startup investment to scrabbling for consumer dollars, and while this was to be expected the transition has also taken its toll on VRFocus. There is little room for a publication covering what is still a niche technology to expand without embracing the change, and so VRFocus must mature not in order to grow, but simply to maintain.

VRFocus Logo

I had originally planned on stepping down from my combined role of CEO and Editor more than two years ago, but changes within the company at the time kept me locked in so that I may ensure the team was supported throughout a transitional period. Two more years have passed and I definitely feel as though VRFocus isn’t moving fast enough, and it’s time for some fresh blood at the reins. Having recently separated from its parent company, VRFocus is now free to make some significant changes both internally and externally, and these changes have already begun.

Admix, a company that specialises in assisting developers to monetise their software products through non-intrusive advertising, has been supporting the development community through an online network known as VR/AR Pioneers. Here, the company showcases the latest efforts in using the mediums to create unique experiences and also to encourage discussion amongst the community. With a team dedicated to the network outside of its monetization strategy it’s a selfless endeavour that aligns itself perfectly with the original goal of VRFocus: to share in the wonder of these new mediums as they grow.

VRFocus has become known for supporting unique ventures that aid the development of AR and VR, even launching our own VR Diversity Initiative in 2017. Now, without the need to be pushed-and-pulled in multiple directions, VRFocus can further its efforts in this regard alongside the VR/AR Pioneers community. Furthermore, VRFocus will endeavour to ensure that all aspects of the medium – including those much further a field from videogames and entertainment than have previously been covered – receive an increased amount of attention. VRFocus has never been just for gamers, and can now ensure that even the most niche aspects of this niche medium can get some well deserved praise.

VRDI_Logo-1024x390Alongside Admix, I will stay with VRFocus throughout this latest transitional period to ensure that the publication becomes exactly what the audience wants and needs; which brings me to the entire point of this open letter: what is it that you – the hardened AR and VR audience – demand from a specialist media outlet? VRFocus has always prided itself on being fiercely independent, regardless of who holds the purse strings. It’s been referred to as the ‘beat news’ website for VR, the ‘specialist showcase’, the ‘most influential’ and so on. But while this is all well and good, it’s those of you who return day-after-day, reading dozens of articles and supporting VRFocus as it grows who should have a say as to what direction the publication moves in. The comments section below is open, as are my DMs on Twitter. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly as it’s your opinion that matters most.

Preview: Project Tennis Scramble – Sports Get Weird on Oculus Quest

One of the first titles announced for Oculus Quest is the oddball Project Tennis Scramble; a tennis ‘simulation’ that really wants you to know to it’s heard of the Mario Tennis series. And this is no bad thing; next to the aggression of Dead & Buried Arena, the puzzling of SUPERHOT and the rather dry horror of Face Your Fears 2, Project Tennis Scramble is the only light-hearted experience yet seen on Oculus Quest.

Oculus Quest - TennisThe experience begins with a short tutorial wherein the player grabs a racket and is taught to hit the ball. Simple enough; but in doing so you are also taught about the limits of the play space. Project Tennis Scramble was in fact the only experience at Oculus Connect 5 which offered two different sized play spaces; one for each player. Once the tutorial has ended the player is transported into a brightly coloured arena that sits somewhere between a Super Mario videogame and #Selfie Tennis, and then the man himself pays us a visit.

A giant ball with arms floats from the ceiling and suddenly upon the screen appears Jason Rubin, VP of Content at Oculus. He delivers a message welcoming the players to Oculus Quest and to Project Tennis Scramble itself, with thanks to Armature for their work, and wishes the player fun. It’s a rather peculiar introduction, but a welcome one given Rubin’s last-minute absence from Oculus Connect 5.

Matches in Project Tennis Scramble are directly comparable to Wii Sports’ tennis; the direction and speed of the player’s contact with the ball has less importance than simply making said contact. The players build a rally and as they do two special effect devices appear within the scene and hitting either of them will induce a variety of changes, such as turning the ball into a beach ball or shuttlecock.

Project Tennis Scramble (OC5)The match set-up at Oculus Connect 5 was a simple first-to-five points arrangement, but that certainly helps with the flow-through of players on a busy show floor. How Oculus and Armature plan on expanding the formula into a fuller experience – or even if they will attempt to create a product from this tech demo – remains to be seen. It wouldn’t be unlike Oculus to offer Project Tennis Scramble as a free download with Oculus Quest in a similar fashion to Farlands with the Oculus Rift.

That would of course be the best-case scenario for Project Tennis Scramble, as while it is fun for a few minutes it’s an undeniably shallow experience. Much like Wii Sports, Project Scramble Tennis is an easy sell to many people, but now that we’ve had been through that Wii phase would it be enough to sell the $399 (USD) Oculus Quest on? It’ll make a good stepping stone for friends and family of the early adopters, but Project Scramble Tennis in itself is unlikely to be the title that convinces anyone to part with their cash.