E3 2019: Will Oculus, HTC or Microsoft Take Advantage of Sony’s Absence?

Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) surprised everyone this month by announcing that PlayStation wouldn’t be attending the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) next year, marking the first time the PlayStation brand won’t be gracing the hallowed halls of the Los Angeles Convention Centre. Whilst this will impact PlayStation 4 fans eager for the latest news and hands-on gameplay – there’s no press conference either – the impact on virtual reality (VR) could be even greater.

E32018 - WestHall
E3 2018 – WestHall – PlayStation

Having attended E3 2018 and seen the stand I know the absence of PlayStation cannot be taken lightly. Two booths dominated the West Hall, PlayStation, and Nintendo, side by side vying for attendees attention. In fact, PlayStation had three booths in total, with the smaller two splitting North American and European press.

What they all had on display was a decent roster of PlayStation VR’s, showcasing titles such as Astro Bot Rescue Mission, Firewall Zero Hour, Tetris Effect, and many more. There were so many that I actually spent a great deal of time purely on the PlayStation stand. Once I managed to tear myself away and investigate the rest of the show one thing was instantly apparent, there were no other big VR stands.

Sure, VR was sporadically dotted around the halls in the smaller stands, but there was no real support from any of the other big players. Without PlayStation VR my job covering the event would have been over much quicker.

PlayStation VR

So what’s going to happen? Will Oculus or HTC Vive use this opportunity to make a big impact at the event. It’s hard to say at the moment. Both tend to use the Game Developers Conference (GDC) as their main event of choice, with Oculus hosting a fairly large stand while HTC Vive is usually found under the Steam banner.

Oculus hasn’t attended E3 officially since 2016, and HTC Vive never has, with the headsets only being found on indie developer stands. It would be a great chance for them to make a serious impact during the most well-known videogame show in the world. But Facebook is slowly but surely absorbing Oculus under its own banner, and may not consider a big traditional expensive stand to be worthwhile.

And then there’s Microsoft. It didn’t have a dedicated stand during E3 2018, but was part of the event, holding its press conference at the Microsoft Theatre. Will the company use this unusual turn of events to announce VR for Xbox One? Probably not in all honesty. Ever since its Xbox One X announcement during E3 2016 which did mention VR support, Microsoft went virtually silent, and there’s been no further mention of compatibility. It would be a boon for the industry if the company did make a surprise reveal during the show – especially for Windows Mixed Reality headsets – however, my feelings are they would have done this by now.

E3 2018 - MicrosoftPressConference

Being honest I’m somewhat apprehensive about E3 2019 when it comes to VR. It will be there, I’ve no doubt in that, just in what quantity. Booths like IndieCade will be there alongside smaller developer stands. To have a proper presence at an event like E3 you need to be a global company with cash to burn, and a good portion of the industry isn’t. They’re small studios and startups looking to help push the industry forward whilst working out ways of making a profit. What I’d love to see is a big dedicated VR area with a giant neon VR sign hovering above. Think that would work?

Transference Turns Out To Be A Terrifying Psychological Thriller

There’s nothing quite horror to showcase how involving and immersive virtual reality (VR) can really be, enveloping players in a world that purely wants to scare them. So naturally when VRFocus had the chance to play test Ubisoft and SpectreVision’s collaborative effort Transference, our video producer Nina was at the front of the queue to try the experience out and relay those thoughts.

Transference is a mind-bending, psychological story that aims to blur the lines between live-action movies and videogame dynamics. During the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018 the teams released the first decent trailer for Transference,  detailing a story which involves a brilliant but troubled scientist and inventor called Raymond Hayes. He has been collecting from himself and his family which then congeals into a dark and twisted consciousness of its own. In doing so this new entity forms its own digital world which starts to alter the perceptions of Raymond, his wife Katherine and their son Benjamin.

Because of the family aspect the title features a multi-branching narrative, with actions that affect their lives whilst viewing content from the unique perspectives of each family member to help you piece together the mystery. So the choices you make ripple through time and space, with every reaction having to be considered.

Nina goes on to explain in the video how this works and the actual gameplay aspects involved between the live-action scenes. One thing is clear, Transference might be classed as a puzzle solving psychological thriller but from Nina’s point of view the title certainly sounds like a classic surreal horror experience, with a dark entity trying to chase you throughout the videogame.

Check out the full hands-on video below which also showcases some extra gameplay footage from the E3 event.  Transference is due for release on Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive with a Fall 2018 launch window. When VRFocus learns of an exact launch date we’ll let you know.

Haptic Feedback and XR Interfaces From CaptoGlove

In the drive to find ways in which to make virtual reality (VR) and other immersive experiences even more realistic and absorbing, haptic feedback technology is one of the leading ways that companies are trying to accomplish this, with CaptoGlove being one of the businesses hard at work on the technology.

Nina Salomons of VRFocus spoke to Paul Sexauer about CaptoGlove and its latest innovations, including a new XR interface and developments in haptic feedback.

CaptoGlove Prototype 3

Sexauer is the VP of sales and marketing at CaptoGlove, a company which was demonstrating its wireless, wearable glove controller at E3 2018. The glove can be used as a mouse, or game controller would, or work similarly to the motion tracking controllers used in VR.

At E3 2018, the demonstration available involved using the CaptoGlove controller to fly a military-style jet in F18 Flight Simulator from DCS. CaptoGlove frequently works with developers to integrate the controller interface for the glove controller into titles that are in development, and are still seeking out new partners.

As well as active collaboration, CaptoGlove also has a range of software development kits (SDKs) available, such as the Unreal Engine 4 SDK which was recently released, along with Steam VR and others.

The haptic capability was also on offer, which offered a sensory response to let players feel the VR environment around them. This technology will be integrated into the CaptoGlove controller, and is planned to be available from late Q3 2018. Existing versions of the CaptoGloves can be upgraded to the new haptic technology with a separate add-on component.


The CaptoGlove controller is available now through the CaptoGlove website, but is also available from Amazon in the USA. A single glove is priced at $250 (USD), while a pair costs $490.

The full interview is available to view below. AS always, VRFocus will keep you updated on new developments in VR technology.

Fight Your Way To Greatness In Megalith

After its Paris Games Week debut in 2017, Disruptive Games’ Megalith made it onto VRFocus’ ‘The Best PlayStation VR Games Coming in 2018‘ before seemingly disappearing with no further mention of the title. That was rectified for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018, being part of a sizable roster for PlayStation VR at the event. Naturally, VRFocus got some hands-on time with the experience which Nina has detailed in a new video.


For those that haven’t heard of Megalith before, Disruptive Games’ first virtual reality (VR) title is an action packed shooter that puts you inside giant fighting Titans. The goal is simple, defeat other titans using an array of massive firepower to achieve the goal of becoming a god.

These battles aren’t single, solitary PvP fights to the death, as Nina points out it’s about teamwork as well because there are objectives that can be achieved in order to win. With big open fields of battle, the environments are destructible so there’s nowhere to hide. Megalith also employs a free locomotion system for ultimate manoeuverability and strategy options.

“We love playing online games and have spent many years crafting multiplayer experiences before forming Disruptive,” states the team. “Megalith is the culmination of everything we have learned along the way. We have been blown away by the potential of VR gaming, and are excited to be pushing the platform as it evolves.”


As Nina found out whilst playing against Disruptive Games being a Titan isn’t all its cracked up to be, definitely proving that Titans aren’t all powerful – or indestructible – when faced off against their own kind.

Megalith might be a timed exclusive for PlayStation VR but as yet, Disruptive Games has yet to official state a date for the release of the multiplayer. When that does happen, VRFocus will bring you the latest news on this eagerly awaited title.

Tetris Effect: How a 34 Year-Old Game Won E3 2018

The announcement that the developers behind the awesome mind-bending title Rez Infinite were working on a virtual reality (VR) iteration of classic puzzle title Tetris was met with much excitement for the videogame and VR communities. Some of the VRFocus team were lucky enough to try out Tetris Effect, and report their findings.

Tetris was originally released in commercial form on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989, becoming an instant hit thanks to its simple, intuitive controls and addictive gameplay. There have been a whole host of sequels, adaptations, ports and spin-offs, but this will mark the first time that Tetris had made it into VR.

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect marks the 34th anniversary of the Tetris brand, counting from the time Russian game developer Alexey Pajitnov first released the title. Its being developed by the team who previously produced Rez Infinite, a surreal space shooter (sort of) which was itself an adaptation of Rez, first released on the SEGA Dreamcast.

For those who managed to try out the playable demo of Tetris Effect at E3, it was widely praised, with the familiar neon and lighting effects that became part of the Rez Infinite experience being successfully transferred to Tetris Effect.

Motion, music and light is all said to be an important part of the experience in Tetris Effect, as much as it was in Rez Infinite, transforming a static puzzle title into a far more dynamic experience that is much more suited to VR.

Tetris Effect is a seated experience, which will no doubt offer a higher degree of comfort for the long play sessions that Tetris in almost all its iterations is famous for. It is controlled using the standard DualShock 4 controllers.

Tetris Effect

By playing Tetris Effect, the player participates in creating the soundtrack, as the sound made by the blocks as the fall into place mixes in with the existing soundtrack, and there are other elements that are designed to draw the player in to the world of Tetris Effect.

The full video is available to view below. For further coverage of Tetris Effect and other upcoming VR titles, keep checking back with VRFocus.

Hands (or More Accurately Foot) on With Cybershoes

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018 seemed to be mostly about virtual reality (VR) software rather than hardware. There were little pockets on some of the smaller booths, one of which was Cybershoes, a VR startup showcasing its new product ahead of a planned Kickstarter launch later this year. Naturally, VRFocus couldn’t pass up the chance to try this new idea of moving around in VR (actually walking) whilst still being sat down.

Cybershoes E3

So essentially Cybershoes are two devices that attach to the soles of each shoe. Much like those old school roller skates when you were a kid, they comprise of one big strap that goes over the top of your foot to keep the device in place and then you can set off.

Unlike omnidirectional treadmills that require you to stand on a smooth surface and try to walk without falling over – which can take a while to acclimatise to – the Cybershoes were far easier to adjust to and use, mainly because you’re sat down rather than standing. This also has the added benefit of being able to be used by a far wider array of people no matter what their physical ability is like.

For the E3 demonstration the Cybershoes had been tallied up with DOOM (2016) so attendees could run around at blast demons to their hearts content. To begin with all seemed fairly good being able to physically walk about and turn on the chair when needed. The Cybershoes have a smooth, slippery, sole so there’s no friction to deal with.


However a videogame like DOOM quickly highlighted some issues with Cybershoes due to the nature of the format. If you’ve not played DOOM then to put it simply it’s a frantic first-person shooter (FPS) what requires a lot of movement to stay alive. Cybershoes just couldn’t replicate this movement quick enough – or more accurately the old legs couldn’t – meaning that death was soon inevitable.

Demoing this kind of technology at an event does help to highlight how things need to be perfectly adjusted to the user for an ideal play session. For example the chair was too short meaning a 6ft bloke like myself had to bring their knees up to maintain the walking motion – no sliding your feet back and forth on the floor – making for a far more leg tiring experience than if the seat was high enough to just casually walk.

Ideally you’d want to use Cybershoes on a far more open-world adventure where you could take your time for the most part – wandering around the wasteland of Fallout 4 VR would be kind of cool – and where jumping wasn’t needed.

The E3 Cybershoes were still prototypes at the end of the day and did exactly what they needed to, help people walk in VR without actually moving anywhere. One aspect of the design that also shone out was the robustness. Even with demo after demo for three days the Cybershoes stand was still going strong so they can definitely take some punishment. As an alternative to direct locomotion the Cybershoes certainly offer an interesting option, in this niche VR market however it remains to be seen how much demand there will be.

Preview: Gungrave VR – Arcade FPS Action That Doesn’t Benefit VR

While standard videogame ideas do work in the virtual reality (VR) realm, most developers and players realise that a title made specifically for VR utilises the techs unique features. Titles like Rez Infinite for example work just as well – if not better – in VR than on a standard flat screen, while others like upcoming experience Gungrave VR offer little in the way of uniqueness or novel VR implementation.

Gungrave VR - Screenshot (E3 2018)

Gungrave VR saw its first western showcase earlier this month on the XSEED Games stand during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018. Developer IGGYMOB announced the title last year, reviving the franchise by continuing the storyline from the 2004 sequel Gungrave: Overdose whilst optimizing the VR version from the original 2002 title.

If you’ve not heard of Gungrave before the videogames are very much in the on-rails, bullet hell style of gameplay where players have to destroy waves of deadly enemies with a few boss fights thrown in for good measure. For the E3 demo there were two sections on offer, one showcasing a first-person section while the other was in third-person.

Diving straight into the FPS portion of Gungrave VR there were no major surprises instore. With bold flashy visuals that popped up with score combos and words like ‘Great’ it’s all about killing all the enemies as quickly as possible using a pair of dual wield pistols that don’t require ammo, they just overheat so they needed venting every so often.

Gungrave VR screenshot

Like many of these titles success is a mixture of being reasonably fast but more importantly learning each opponents’ pattern, with some flying around at distance while others dive straight at you. While a reasonably entertaining blast this first-person section doesn’t exceptionally shine as a good use of VR as most of the time is spent looking at one small area where most of the enemies spawn from.

The first-person section may have been underwhelming but the next area helped to improve the overall experience with far more dynamic gameplay. Now able to see the character Gungrave VR adds a camera control option giving greater dexterity over where you can look – useful when playing on PlayStation VR. Obviously gameplay stayed the same with waves of enemies to blast through using those powerful guns, or when charged a devastating superweapon best saved for the boss.

Each section has been design to be short and intense, roughly taking around 10 minutes each. With that in mind Gungrave VR will likely feature plenty of set piece action, here’s hoping that IGGYMOB will venture more towards the third-person levels than first-person.

The latter does tend to be seen as the easier fit for VR, putting players inside the character for a more immersive experience. As videogames like Moss highlight, that’s not always the case with Gungrave VR’s third-person action much more enjoyable – if a little less frantic – than its counterpart, which feels like a downgraded Robo Recall. There will always be a market for this kind of gun filled action, whether VR enthusiasts have already had enough of wave-based shooters is another issue entirely.

VRFocus Talk With Cybershoes About Their Upcoming Product

The ever growing lineup of virtual reality (VR) gaming peripherals has made way for interesting developments in how users interact with their favourite VR title. Cybeshoes is one such product in which players are able to actually walk within virtual space thanks to the product attaching to the user’s shoes/feet. During the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018 show, VRFocus’ Nina Salomons was able to catch up with Michael Bieglmayer, Cybershoes’ CEO to talk about their upcoming product.


The Cybershoes work by offering the user an affordable and innovative way to navigate within virtual space all thanks to the movement of their own legs. By sitting on a rotating chair or stool, a user is then able to have complete 360-degree freedom to explore to their heart’s content.

“So we make the shoes for walking in VR, we’re the first VR shoe makers.” Bieglmayer explains: “We said ‘Hey there’s this big virtual reality out there and you can’t walk in it’ so we make shoes for walking in virtual reality. We emulate the touchpad of the controller so it is already working with the games that feature some kind of movement.”

Cybershoes are designed to work with plenty of titles including all of the popular ones currently available on the market. In the interview, which you can watch in full below, the product was being demonstrated with DOOM VFR however as Bieglmayer mentions, many more games are supported. “So all the popular games from Bethesda studios are really awesome, and I personally love Arizona Sunshine.” So long as a title supports touchpad input for movement it is possible to get the Cybershoes working with it.

Users will have the option to use Cybershoes in a number of different ways depending on their play style. As Bieglmayer explains: “So there are different modes. You can either follow the gaze or you follow the shoes and the gaze is separate from the walking movement and you can also do like jumps, so yeah different stuff. We also support attacking and picking things up from the ground also.” Yes, you can kick with Cybershoes if you so wish.

Cybershoes are planning to launch a Kickstarter in the near future and VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest on the product in the future. You can find the full interview from E3 2018 below as well.

Preview: Firewall Zero Hour – Cooperation and Teamwork Make for a Winning Formula

Building a standard dedicated multiplayer videogame is brave enough let alone when you factor in the niche install base of virtual reality (VR). Yet it’s a challenge First Contact Entertainment has readily taken on for its second title Firewall Zero Hour after launching ROM: Extraction in 2016. This time however the team will be launching exclusively for PlayStation VR, whilst implementing support for PlayStation Aim, which by first impressions looks to be going well.    

Firewall Zero Hour - Screenshot (E3 2018)

Firewall Zero Hour is a four-versus-four, tactical multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) that the studio had on display during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018, taking up a significant portion on the PlayStation booth.

Fully integrated with the PlayStation Aim controller, the military style of gameplay perfectly suits the peripheral, feeling natural and instantly accessible. Apart from learning the extensive button layout of the controller the dual stick movement control was sharp and precise enough that you could take the entire experience seriously, focusing on achieving the singular objective.

Currently First Contact Entertainment has only revealed the one gameplay mode/mission, where you either defend or attack. There’s no all-out warfare here, this is about working as a group to achieve the goal of either hacking or preventing the hack of an important laptop. Set inside a relatively uninspiring office building with a couple of floors to explore the objectives are easy to find thanks to an augmented reality (AR) style HUD – so there’s no getting lost.

Firewall Zero Hour - Screenshot (E3 2018)

Before getting that far however there’s a loadout to choose. Again this is pretty much a painting by numbers design with one character your standard infantry assault rifle type, another with a penchant for shotguns and so on. As such these loadouts also come with a selection of secondary gear like smoke grenades, frag grenades and other useful kit.

So far so relatively unremarkable, there’s nothing on the surface that most gamers haven’t come across in some fashion, even in VR. Yet Firewall Zero Hour is enormously good fun as soon as it all gets started. Like any team-based multiplayer cooperation and coordination are key, with the experience making good use of the PlayStation VR microphone – although all three VRFocus players could hear each other the fourth player’s mic was a little patchy.

A neat little feature was the inclusion of a wrist mounted map allowing the position of the team to be seen as well as enemies that were within range. This helped with team positioning when defending as you were able to tell who was covering where.

Firewall Zero Hour - Screenshot (E3 2018)

The demo only lasted long enough to showcase each round, both took around 10 minutes apiece – although times are obviously dependant on a number of factors – keeping gameplay short, sharp and intense. The studio has previously said it wanted to create a slower, more strategic experience. While the latter was true Firewall Zero Hour never felt that slow, but it does need more. While First Contact Entertainment has yet to say how big Firewall Zero Hour will eventually be hopefully there will be other levels and modes that’ll expand its core gameplay as the screenshots seem to indicate.

This first playtest was a good showpiece for First Contact Entertainment’s second VR title, offering a refined and highly entertaining experience. This likely wouldn’t be the case if Firewall Zero Hour didn’t support PlayStation Aim as DualShock 4 just doesn’t aid that same level of immersion for this type of videogame. Firewall Zero Hour is a bold move on the studio’s part and one that VRFocus is looking forward to seeing come to fruition.

Bethesda setzt auch zukünftig auf VR-Support für ausgewählte Titel

Werbung für Virtual Reality Hygiene

Bethesda gilt als eines der größten Entwicklerstudios innerhalb der VR-Spieleszene. Schließlich brachte das Studio mit VR-Spielen wie Fallout 4 VR, Skyrim VR und DOOM VFR namenhafte Titel auf den Markt, die nach eigenen Angaben erfolgreiche Verkaufszahlen aufwiesen. Auf der E3 2018 kündigten die Entwickler/innen Wolfenstein, Prey und The Elder Scrolls: Blades an, die ebenfalls VR-Support erhalten sollen. In einem Interview auf der Spielemesse verkündete Pete Hines die zukünftige Rolle des Mediums Virtual Reality innerhalb des Unternehmens.

Bethesda – VR-Support soll auch zukünftig für ausgewählte Titel eine Rolle spielen

Auf der E3 führten die Journalisten von Upload VR ein Interview mit Pete Hines, Vizepräsident von Bethesda, über den zukünftigen Einbezug der Virtual Reality in die Arbeit des Spieleentwicklers.

Laut Hines denken die unterschiedlichen Studios ständig über die Umsetzung ihrer Spiele auf verschiedenen Plattformen nach. Allerdings ist nicht jeder Titel für jede Plattform geeignet und auch das richtige Timing spiele eine entscheidende Rolle. Die zündende Idee muss mit einem konkreten Plan von den entsprechenden Entwickler/innen kommen, damit die Spieleerfahrungen auch richtig umgesetzt werden.

Fallout 4 VR

Zwar stehen die Verantwortlichen ständig in Kontakt miteinander und sprechen über verschiedene Ideen und Möglichkeiten zur Umsetzung von VR-Adaptionen, dennoch müssen bestimmte qualitative Standards erfüllt werden. Demnach wird die Virtual Reality auch weiterhin auf dem Radar des Unternehmens bleiben und eine wichtige Rolle spielen. Allerdings soll der VR-Support von Fall zu Fall entschieden werden. Nur Spiele, bei denen eine VR-Unterstützung wirklich Sinn macht, sollen diese auch erhalten. Besonders durch die Arbeit an bisherigen Portierungen der Escalation Studios konnte man wichtige Erfahrungen für zukünftige Projekte sammeln.

Bethesda unterteilt sich in unterschiedliche Entwicklerstudios, die für eigene Titel verantwortlich sind. Die Muttergesellschaft ZeniMax Media ist für die Studios id Software (Doom VFR), Escalation Studios (Fallout 4 VR und Skyrim VR), MachineGames (Wolfenstein-Franchise) und Arkane Studios (Dishonored-Franchise) zuständig.

(Quellen: Upload VR)

Der Beitrag Bethesda setzt auch zukünftig auf VR-Support für ausgewählte Titel zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!