Unofficial SteamVR Driver for PSVR 2 to Release Soon as Sony Plans its Own PC VR Support

Sony says it’s bringing some form of PC VR support to PSVR 2 at some point this year, although it’s not clear when, or even how the company will go about letting users play games like Half-Life: Alyx (2020) or popular social VR platforms equally missing from the headset’s game catalogue. But some won’t have to wait: iVRy, an unofficial project dedicated to the task, is bringing it long-awaited SteamVR driver to PSVR 2 sometime next month.

Exactly one year since the start of the project, Mediator Software announced on X (formerly Twitter) that its iVRy SteamVR driver for PSVR 2 has crossed the last remaining obstacle, positioning the driver to release sometime next month via Steam. That’s great news, although probably not for everyone with a VR-ready PC and PSVR 2 in hand—at least not right away.

One of the many caveats of using iVRy for PSVR 2 is the requirement of a DP-AUX emulator hardware, which is set to be initially offered exclusively to subscribers to the project’s Patreon. The team says however non-subscribers may also be offered the opportunity to purchase the required DP-AUX emulator sometime in April or May. Pricing is also still to be determined.

There are a few other hurdles to jump over too. At the moment, iVRy for PSVR 2 only supports a limited selection of AMD GPUs, which for now includes Radeon RDNA, RDNA2 or RDNA3. As the studio notes, the onus is on Sony to support nVidia GPUs, since there is no known way to circumvent it without GPU driver modifications.

“AMD’s DSC strategy is technically sub-optimal,” the iVRy developer says in a post on X. “Mediatek developed the PSVR2 hardware with AMD and nVidia support, and Sony disabled the nVidia support when they customised the design. There’s no reason for Sony’s change other than to reduce compatibility with non-AMD GPU drivers.”

That’s not all. Controllers are also an issue, as PSVR 2’s Sense Controllers aren’t currently listed as a supported device; the driver only includes support for NoloVR motion controllers and Valve SteamVR (aka Lighthouse) tracked motion controllers, such as Index or Vive controllers. Mediator Software said in January however it was still cracking Sense Controller support, so we may eventually see that too.

For now, this essentially limits the pool of potential users to only the most ardent hardware enthusiasts who already own a PC VR headset, or those among us who are content with playing whatever games support standard gamepads—also a supported input method. And the creator tends to agree:

“Anyone considering purchasing a Quest 3 or PSVR2 for PCVR, should get a Quest 3. PSVR2 on PC is for existing owners that don’t want to purchase another headset, or those that particularly want a PSVR2 on PC, for whatever reasons,” Mediator Software says in a recent post on X.

That said, most people would probably rather wait and see what Sony has in store with its promised official PC support for PSVR 2, which is said to arrive in some capacity in 2024. Granted, it’s not clear exactly when or how this will be done, however it’s not unlikely that Sony’s implementation could be some sort of Wi-Fi streaming solution akin to Steam Link or Meta’s Air Link, provided the company wants to keep PSVR 2 owners still somewhat tied to the PS5 console ecosystem.

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Sony to Shutter ‘Blood & Truth’ London Studio, Layoffs at ‘Horizon Call of the Mountain’ Studio

Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan announced today that the company is laying off 900 PlayStation employees, or around eight percent of the company, which will affect a number of its first-party game studios. This includes the closure of Sony’s London Studio, which created VR action-adventure game Blood & Truth (2019).

Ryan announced the news in a company-wide email today, noting that layoffs will affect a number of PlayStation studios across across the Americas, EMEA, Japan, and APAC.

The email wasn’t specific on where the layoffs will occur, with employees in the US expected to be notified today at some point. In the UK, the company says PlayStation’s London Studio will “close in its entirety.”

As the studio behind PSVR exclusive Blood & Truth, PlayStation’s London Studio was last working on an unannounced online co-op combat game, set in modern fantasy London. It’s expected the game is now cancelled as a result of the studio’s closing.

Ryan says headcount reductions will also affect Firesprite, the studio behind the Horizon franchise, including PSVR 2 exclusive Horizon Call of the Mountain.

This follows recent news that Sony is making PSVR 2 officially compatible with PC VR games, as the company hopes to release some sort of PC support for the headset later this year. Reading between the lines somewhat, it seems Sony is strategically scaling back on first-party content right now, which means an uncertain future for the sort of anchor content PSVR 2 needs as its heads into its second year.


This story is breaking. We’ll be updating soon once it’s more clear exactly which studios in the US are also involved.

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’90s Classic ‘Tomb Raider’ is Coming to Quest & Pico in Unofficial Team Beef VR Port

Team Beef, the modding group behind a slew of unofficial VR ports of classic games, announced their next project is Tomb Raider (1996), which will bring the action-adventure game to standalone headsets Quest and Pico VR.

Unlike the version playable through CitraVR, Team Beef says the BeefRaiderXR version will be a full VR port, which aims to include everything you’d expect: full 6DOF tracking, an immersive first-person POV, dual wielding weapons, and motion-triggered actions.

The modding group, which is known for standalone VR ports such as Duke Nukem 3D, Prey, and Quake 4, says BeefRaiderXR will also release publicly once development is finished. Like its other Quest-native ports, the game is expected to come via SideQuest.

You may be asking yourself how it’s possible that Team Beef can release a port of a copyrighted game? At least in this case, BeefRaiderXR is based on the original game’s unofficial remake OpenLara from Timur Gagiev (aka ‘XProger’), whose in-browser version of the 1996 classic completely recreates the original’s game engine for WebGL. Notably, Gagiev was also the Technical Director of the official Tomb Raider I-III Remastered (2024) game, which released on Steam earlier this month.

To boot, Team Beef says its upcoming VR port “does not contain any copyrighted assets from the original game,” and that the original Tomb Raider is required to play. As usual, if you want to follow along with development to learn more, or get early access to in-development builds, the modding team runs its own Patreon.

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Report: Meta & LG’s Rumored Vision Pro Competitor Set to Launch in Early 2025

According to a report from South Korean outlet The Korea Economic Daily (Korean), Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be in-country this week to finalize a deal with LG regarding a previously rumored competitor to Apple Vision Pro, which is reportedly set to be jointly built by the two companies for release in early 2025.

Citing unnamed industry sources, the report maintains Zuckerberg will be in South Korea to meet LG Electronics CEO William Cho on Wednesday, February 28th to discuss plans related to the joint development of XR headsets. Key executives from LG Group’s IT component subsidiaries are also said to be in attendance.

The report, which was first picked up by UploadVR, also alleges the two companies plan to release “the highest-performing XR headset in the first quarter of next year,” positioning it to compete with Apple Vision Pro.

These aren’t the first rumors to come out of Korea regarding a possible Meta-LG XR headset manufacturing partnership however. A separate report from South Korea’s Maekyung (Korean) in September maintained Meta and LG were planning on releasing two new headsets, a low-cost Quest model that will be priced at “less than $200” coming in 2024, and the presumed ‘Pro’ model Quest mentioned above.

South Korean tech outlet The Guru (Korean) reported in January 2024 that LG will release a commercially available XR headset as early as next year.

Whatever the case, Zuckerberg is currently in the neighborhood. According to jet tracker ZuckerbergJet on Instagram, Zuckerberg’s Gulfstream G650 private jet is in Tokyo, Japan, having landed there just two days ago.

– – — – –

Reports aside, we really won’t know what’s on the horizon, although we already have a pretty good idea what a potential Quest Pro 2 could look like provided Meta really intends on going toe-to-toe with Apple.

Douglas Lanman, Senior Director of Display Systems at Reality Labs Research, held a guest lecture at the University of Arizona late last year wherein he talked at length about his own (re: not Meta’s) next-gen ‘Mirror Lake’ headset prototype. In it, Lanman explained that, with already available components, such a headset could include a bevy of wishlist items, such as holographic optics, multi-view eye-tracking, varifocal display, reverse-passthrough, and baked-in prescription.

Whether those things are actually go into a potential Quest Pro 2 is another matter, although if Meta wants to beat Apple at its own game, it’s certainly going to require some one-upmanship in both the hardware and software department.

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Meta’s New Demo Shows Players & Devs What Compelling MR Can Look Like

Meta now has three mixed reality headsets, but still not a ton of mixed reality content to go with it. To remedy that, the company threw out an open source Unity demo it hopes to showcase some of the most compelling things you can do in MR.

Called Cryptic Cabinet, the escape room demo was designed to highlight the capabilities of the company’s MR Presence Platform on Quest, which Meta says can transform any room into a unique and immersive gameplay experience.

Anyone with a Quest 2/3/Pro can download it now and play the new immersive escape room, which warps a mysterious cabinet and a host of cryptic puzzles items into your room.

Above all, Meta says in the announcement blog post Cryptic Cabinet was built to showcase “how developers can create an MR experience that is tailored to each player’s room,” noting that the room layout provided during the MR space setup gives developers the ability to deploy items on the user’s walls, floor, ceiling, and furniture.

You can check out Cryptic Cabinet in action below:

Like how the company seeded developers with VR demos in the early days, Meta says Cryptic Cabinet is similarly here to show off best practices when using the whole gamut of its MR software features, including Scene API, Shared Spatial Anchors, Colocation, Passthrough, and Passthrough Color Mapping. To boot, Meta has also made the full source code is available on GitHub so anyone looking to make their own immersive MR experience can take a look under the hood, and modify it too.

Granted, Meta has provided a good amount of developer resources on the matter, but why release something like Cryptic Cabinet now, and not in late 2022 when it launched Quest Pro, or a few months ago when it launched Quest 3?

That’s not entirely clear, although here’s some conjecture anyway: it seems there just isn’t a glut of compelling MR content out there right now, as many at this stage either come as experimental mini-games attached to regular VR content, or simple passthrough versions of the VR game. MR mini-games seen in Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord (2023) and Stranger Things VR (2024) are fine freebies, but nothing to write home about. Being able to see your dog as you play Demeo (2021) and Broken Edge (2022) in your living room is also cool, but neither of them really use the player’s room to its fullest extent.

That’s not to say there isn’t any MR content that doesn’t lie outside the binary of ‘aliens breaking through your walls, and regular VR game but with passthrough‘, although there are very few at this point. Still, it’s difficult to knock developers for not going all-in on mixed reality content. As with any new medium, the first thing to fall is the low-hanging fruit, which we hope gets eaten up faster than not.

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‘Pixel Ripped’ Studio Announces ‘PAWBALL’, a Free-to-Play VR Soccer Game with Cats

ARVORE, the studio behind the Pixel Ripped VR game franchise, announced it’s currently developing a VR soccer game called PAWBALL, which aims to get you leaping around and scoring goals like only a feline can.

On the studio’s Discord (invite link), Arvore Community Manager Freddy Pavão reveals the idea initially came from wanting dinosaurs to play soccer, although the team eventually settled on cats, which can move around in interesting and dynamic ways.

“With the change to our feline friends, the main idea for the game (and all the prototypes that came after) got a whole new range of possibilities,” Pavão says. “The game is still about soccer, but now using verticality, as the cats can jump super high, climb, hit the ball in aerial attacks, and so on. It is by far our game with the most possibilities for gameplay diversity, as players can do basically whatever they want to hit the ball and score a goal.”

Developer Ana Ribeiro shows off a peek at an early build:

https://twitter.com/Anagamedev/status/1760801918647931163

Like many free-to-play games, the studio says it will be providing cosmetic upgrades. Granted, it’s still early days, however hopeful testers could also soon get their chance with early builds, which the studio says it will provide without the need of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) like many studios tend to do with still-in-development betas. That could arrive as early as June, Arvore says.

There’s no indication yet on what platforms the game is targeting either, however you can bet the free-to-play game will be searching for the widest possible distribution in hopes of replicating the sort of viral success of an obvious analogue, Gorilla Tag.

The primate-focused game of tag reported early last year it had garnered $26 million in revenue since its 2021 launch. That’s a tall order to fill, although if a pretty simple game of immersive tag can do it, maybe cats playing soccer can too?

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‘Wanderer 2’ Currently in Development, Promising Swashbuckling VR Pirate Adventure

Time-traveling VR adventure Wanderer (2022) is getting a remake, called Wanderer: The Fragments of Fate, although you might have missed at the end of the most recent trailer that developers Mighty Eyes just announced there’s a sequel currently in development too.

Not much is known about the newly announced sequel, Wanderer 2: The Seas of Fortune, however the studio promises to bring a brand new collection of adventures centered around ages with swordfights, ship battles, and pirates, bringing us to the time of black flag-flying buccaneers.

On screen is a single shot of a pirate flag, with the subtitle ‘Davis Cove, Jamaica, 1750,’ pointing to the country’s time as a British colony and waning period of the Golden Age of Piracy.

Coming just two years since the release of the original, remake Wanderer: The Fragments of Fate promises a few things beyond the original, including full body avatars, more platforming opportunities, a combat system, and new levels. Notably, the game has been overhauled to finally arrive on Quest, Pico and PSVR 2, landing on those platforms June 27th, 2024.

Although Mighty Eyes hasn’t said as much, that means we could be looking forward to a broad launch of the sequel across those headsets too in addition to SteamVR headsets. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled on Mighty Eyes’ website and social in the meantime.

Check out the trailer for Wanderer: The Fragments of Fate below:

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‘Stranger Things VR’ Review – Artful But Boring Brand Engagement

Stranger Things VR is a visually intense retelling of the TV show’s last two seasons from VR pioneers Tender Claws, known for their weird and wild VR experiences Virtual Virtual Reality (2017) and The Under Presents (2019). While Stranger Things VR showcases the studio’s patently deft art direction, the game feels distinctly like an extended brand engagement experience that’s more concerned with prepping us for the show’s upcoming fifth season than treading any new or interesting ground.

Stranger Things VR Details:

Available On: Quest 2/3/Pro
Reviewed On: Quest 3
Release Date: February 22nd, 2024
Price: $30
Developer: Tender Claws

Gameplay

If you’re thinking of playing the VR game and you haven’t seen the complete four seasons of Stranger Things on Netflix yet, you’re going to be in for some serious spoilers from the moment you get past the loading screen.

And forget it if you haven’t seen the show at all, as you’ll have absolutely zero idea of who’s who and what’s going on, as the entire game is presented in a way that heavily relies on the user’s familiarity with major events and characters from the show. It is “Stranger Things VR” after all, so that’s to be expected to some extent, although it’s a shame the studio didn’t have the leeway to tell a more unique story within the franchise’s universe.

That basically leaves the VR game hamstrung to retread the main bits from the third and fourth season, albeit starting backwards from the biggest plot point reveal and moving into the main antagonist’s backstory.

Image courtesy Tender Claws

At first, the game seems dedicated to fleshing out the show’s villain Vecna, as it traps you in the terrifying world of the Upside Down and tasks you with finding your way out, all the while taunted by ghostly memories of Dr. Brenner. There’s some light combat and interesting movement mechanics here, although mostly it’s about making your way through successive mazes that are linked together through gateways that you can open in the minds of Demodogs and giant flowers with Demogorgon heads. Yes, that aspect is trippy weird and I’m totally here for it.

Although it started off with what I thought was going to be a deeper exploration into Vecna (who doesn’t like a good antihero?), I soon found myself tackling levels that not only settled into heavy repetition, but were continuously punctuated with things I already know about the story. Beautiful and surreal, granted, but there’s no real payoff outside of that.

View post on imgur.com

About halfway through the game’s nine chapters, it was revealed I wasn’t actually going to stick around as Vecna and build my powers and skills to some satisfying conclusion, but rather I would be randomly shuffled around characters in what felt more like a loosely strung together speedrun of the show’s most recent narrative, punctuated by more predictable featurettes and repetitious combat with the only two real enemies in the game, the Demodogs and Demobats—both of which are easily dispatched by telekinetically tossing crap at them.

This is a shame, since Vecna’s mechanics are pretty promising, as you can spawn vines on structures that act as a basis for him to grip on with a sort of Spider-Man-eqsue ease. I would have liked to see this used to greater effect, and incorporated into puzzles, boss battles, more challenging parkour—basically everything the game is missing. Instead, you’re ejected from Vecna, and only ever get to use a sliver of those abilities as Eleven, who is significantly less fun as a playable character.

View post on imgur.com

That said, it took me around four hours to complete all nine chapters, and a little more to tool around with the bonus mixed reality games, which are fun but brief. The ending left me feeling about as bored as I was during the entire game, albeit with a credit roll and outro music as the only real indication it was all over.

Immersion

The game’s visuals are highly stylized, and at times can be absolutely jaw-dropping. Despite some distinctly lower quality textures and lesser poly counts than the gameplay trailer above would suggest, Stranger Things VR clearly takes the mantra “every frame a painting” to heart.

In contrast to the lackluster gameplay I mentioned above, which at times felt more like a tutorial to something greater that never came, the game’s art and jarring surrealism does a lot of the heavy lifting.

Image courtesy Tender Claws

The game’s clear dedication to nightmarish surrealism and constant narrative switching comes at a cost to ’embodiment’, or feeling like you’re actually in virtual place and not just overly occupied doing some complex task. It’s the difference to being immersed in a movie or flatscreen video game and forgetting you’re sitting in a chair, and feeling like you’ve actually been transported to somewhere else. Being shuttled around from environment to environment and character to character so abruptly diminishes that ability to feel like you’re there and can trust the rules of the world, since you’re always left guessing where you’re going, who you are, what powers you have in what timeline, etc.

Still, the first half of the game does a great job of building up those mechanics that let you traverse chasms and stay out of the Demodogs’ reaches, although sadly enemy AI is pretty dumb, as enemies can oftentimes get hung up on game geometry and wig out stupidly.

Comfort

There are two or three momentarily uncomfortable scenes that force artificial movement, and there are also a fair number of flashing lights that could be of concern to photosensitive users—the latter of which shows up as an on-screen warning before you start every game.

That said, it’s a fairly comfortable game thanks to a good number of options available to the user and an overall smart world design that respects the player, even in the face of Vecna’s ability to swing and move around on vines.

‘Stranger Things VR′ Comfort Settings – February 22nd, 2024

Turning
Artificial turning ✔
Snap-turn ✔
Quick-turn ✖
Smooth-turn ✔
Movement
Artificial movement ✔
Teleport-move ✖
Dash-move ✔ (as Eleven)
Smooth-move ✔
Blinders ✔
Head-based ✔
Controller-based ✖
Swappable movement hand ✖
Posture
Standing mode ✔
Seated mode ✔
Artificial crouch ✖
Real crouch ✔
Accessibility
Subtitles
Languages
English, Japanese, German, French, Korean, Italian, Portuguese (BR), Spanish
Dialogue audio
Languages English
Adjustable difficulty ✔
Two hands required ✔
Real crouch required ✖
Hearing required ✖
Adjustable player height ✖

 

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‘Racket Club’ Update Brings More Flexibility with New Rules and Fan Favorite Modes

The recently released VR racket sport Racket Club (2023) just got its first major update, which brings a host of new rules and modes to the game for a more customized experience on the court.

Resolution Games, which is also known for Demeo (2021), Blaston (2020) and the new Apple Vision Pro app Game Room (2024), released the ‘A New Spin’ update for Racket Club across Quest, Pico and SteamVR, now including:

  • Unranked Play – Not every competition needs to move you up the ladder; jump into casual games with other players any time
  • New Point System – Choose from the existing Ultra Rally points system or single point rallies in any match
  • Wall Serve Rules – Players can choose if they want to allow touching the back and side walls on serves
  • New Singles Drills – Mastered the existing training mode? Players can now practice and improve their accuracy and techniques with fresh drills in the singles court
  • Player Stats – Track your progress, see how you’ve performed and more in a complete redesign of the Player Profile menu
  • Fresh Threads – Play your best when you look your best with all new cosmetics now available to unlock
Image courtesy Resolution Games

The update comes just two months after Racket Club’s initial release, which the studio says has seen 370,000 matches played to date, no doubt thanks to its super recognizable gameplay, which is a bit like a cross of popular racket sports such as tennis, racquetball and paddleball.

Mathieu Castelli, Chief Creative Officer at Resolution Games, says the update “builds on a strong base and feedback from our wonderful community to offer optional rule adjustments and more. In the same way basketball fans were able to create their own variations over the years – from 3-on-3 to H-O-R-S-E – we want to give Racket Club players the same flexibility to iterate on the foundation we’ve built for a brand new racketsport.”

You can grab Racket Club on Quest 2/3/Pro, SteamVR, and Pico VR headsets, priced at $25. To see all of the stuff from ‘A New Spin’ update in action, check out the trailer below:

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Prop Hunt-style VR Multiplayer ‘Mannequin’ Now in Open Alpha on Quest

Fast Travel Games today launched the open alpha for Mannequin, its upcoming asymmetrical multiplayer VR game on Quest 2/3/Pro.

First revealed in September, Mannequin promises to bring a 2v3 experience akin to a deadly game of cat and mouse, letting two elite Agents hunt three shape-shifting aliens, aka Mannequins.

Somewhat like the ‘Prop Hunt’ mode from Gary’s Mod, the Mannequins have to blend into the scenery of frozen humans, but have the power to ambush Agents by dashing forward and freezing them in place with a single touch. On the flipside, Agents can scan for Mannequins and neutralize with their trusty EMP gun.

Fast Travel Games says the alpha “represents a very early build of the game with a first look at just a few of the levels and features planned for the full game,” and is said to include two levels in addition to a social lobby so players can chat or talk strategy ahead of matches.

The open alpha is free to download via the game’s Discord (invite link), with the full game set to launch on Quest, PSVR 2, and PC VR headsets later in 2024.

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