Ready Player One VR Experience Announced For SXSW

Attendees of this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) will be able to get a taste of the upcoming release of Steven Spielberg’s new action adventure, Ready Player One, in a virtual reality (VR) experience.

Ready Player One 02

The release of the upcoming film is set for 29th March and in anticipation Ready Player One will be taking over the Brazos Hall, with a two-story experience. Included in the experience will be exciting VR content on a HTC Vive unit that allows visitors to create their own digital identity in the Ready Player One Avatar Creator. Once created, the digital recreation of themselves will be sent to their email so they can use it to their heart’s content.


The Ready Player One Experience starts outside where the exterior of the Brazos Hall is set to be transformed into the Stacks, the vertical trailer park which is the home of the main character in Ready Player One. Once a visitor has received their personal radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristband, they will be able to enter through another location from the film, Wade Watts’ Van, and then enter the OASIS where the real meat of the experience is found. The RFID wristbands will also keep score of visitors knowledge of ’80s trivia, arcade games or found hidden clues. These will be compiled into a leaderboard to win fun prizes including the grand prize of a HTC Vive.


Also at the Ready Player One Experience plenty of sights and sounds for visitors to explore. This includes a Hot Topic Ready Player One Pop-Up, The Distracted Globe, 2045’s hottest nightclub that will offer plenty of Ready Player One themed cocktails and a stage packed with DJs and performers. On Sunday, 11th March, the venue will also hold a livestream, Ready Player One LIVE at SXSW, powered by Twitch and IMBb and will feature some of the stars and filmmakers from Ready Player One, hosted by Aisha Tyler and correspondent Alex Correa.

The Ready Player One Experience at SXSW will be open from Friday, 9th March until Sunday, 11th March. The SXSW conference will continue on until the 18th March, 2018.

For more on VR exhibitions and content keep reading VRFocus.

SEGA Increases Investment in Location-Based VR

SEGA Entertainment and virtual reality (VR) solutions provider StarVR today announced its collaboration to bring StarVR arcade experiences to existing SEGA Game Center locations throughout Japan. StarVR will work with SEGA Entertainment to roll out its VR arcade experiences across the country, at three SEGA arcade locations by March 2018 and at more than ten locations by the end of the year.

John Wick: The Impossible Task

The two companies today unveiled the first StarVR-powered VR arcade installation in the flagship SEGA Game Center Shinjuku Kabukicho branch located in Tokyo, and will welcome consumers starting on 22nd December 2017. Tickets for the experiences will be priced at 1,200 Japanese yen. At launch, Japanese consumers will be able to experience John Wick Chronicles and The Mummy Prodigium Strike developed by Starbreeze Studios, while more titles will be introduced gradually.

“Continuing our commitment to providing the best arcade experiences in Japan, we’re now bringing world-class VR to SEGA Game Centers with StarVR,” said Tadashi Kawaguchi, Senior Vice President of SEGA Entertainment. “With StarVR’s industry-leading visuals, immersive haptics and premium content, we’re stepping up the game and redefining the arcade experience.”

“We’re especially excited to bring StarVR arcade experiences to Japan, as it has the world’s most sophisticated arcade industry and culture,” said Jerry Kao, Vice Chairman of StarVR Corporation. “Collaborating with SEGA Entertainment, the leader in the local market, we’re confident that we can make truly immersive and premium VR experiences widely available to Japanese consumers soon.”

With nearly 200 branches nationwide, SEGA Game Center is one of the leading arcade chains in Japan. Managed and operated by SEGA Entertainment, the arcades currently provide a range of entertainment choices including Prize Games where customers can win a range of unique items; rhythm action experiences; the latest game consoles; “Purikura” which are photo sticker booths where in some stores costumes can be rented; and Medal Games where friends challenge each other to win as many tokens possible.

The StarVR HMD is a VR head-mounted display (HMD) built from the ground-up for enterprise and professional entertainment use. The HMD features a 5K resolution and 210-degree field of view, with the potential to offer experiences above and beyond home environment setups.

Purchased by Starbeeze Studios back in 2015, StarVR has since received significant investment from Acer. The StarVR HMD is targeting location-based VR specifically, and so is the perfect partner for SEGA Entertainment’s planned expansion. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest moves on the VR scene from SEGA Entertainment, as well as any new StarVR installations.

Jason Rubin on Oculus’ Future and the Virtual Reality Landscape Today

VRFocus previously discussed bringing big videogame franchises into virtual reality (VR) with Jason Rubin, VP of Content at Oculus VR, and how most of these transitions into VR for 2D videogames are likely to be unsuccessful. This is mostly due to companies not fully comprehending the VR format. Some videogames are perfect for consoles and PC, and one has to think whether the VR format is appropriate for the story and videogame. This hasn’t stopped Oculus VR itself bringing good content to their platform with over 2,000 titles, and 300 titles for Oculus Rift with Touch, it’s clear that 2017 has been great for the latest wave of VR content. VRFocus sat down with Rubin at Oculus Unwrapped in London to discuss the VR landscape today, the recent Oculus price drop, the Santa Cruz prototype that was showcased at OC4 and some advice to developers or companies looking to get into VR.

The VR space is growing, changing and always improving in hardware and software. This does however put consumers at risk when they purchase VR head-mounted displays (HMDs). There may not be enough content to consume, the software or hardware hasn’t been fully developed and it means consumers may be buying HMDs that could be out-of-date in less than a year. This would make VR more competitive and fast-moving than the average release of a videogame console. This will not be the case for the Oculus Rift, according to Rubin, who says that purchasers can rest assured that the HMD will stay the focus and will be here for a while.

Since the beginning of the year Oculus Rift’s price has continued to drop in order to stay competitive with the PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, so as the price for the VR HMDs drop and the VR content library increases, consumers can expect more quality at lower prices in future. This is what everybody is waiting for in order for VR to hit mass market.

Others believe that the tech for VR should be developing faster, but Rubin disagrees and explains that we are all too impatient. According to Rubin, the technology for the Santa Cruz could not have come out any earlier, even if they wanted to. Oculus VR do not want to rush too quickly with the release of new technology and want to make sure enough content is out there before releasing any new VR HMDs. With the coming of the Oculus Go at the beginning of next year and the Santa Cruz prototype, Oculus Rift purchasers can rest assured that no new additional HMDs will be released in 2018. Rubin says that the Oculus Rift is going to be here for a while, and will also stay the focus for a while. The same can be said for the any content that will be created for the Santa Cruz HMD; Rubin explains the Santa Cruz prototype as a mash up of an Oculus Rift and Oculus Go: Santa Cruz would be the result of the two having babies.

The recent success of the great sales for the PlayStation VR  and with the sales of VR HMDs exceeding 1 million units in Q3 in 2017 Rubin is extremely excited for the future. He says, “I’m also really excited that Sony is out there putting money, time and energy into making games. That’s good for VR. It’s good for VR, it’s good for Oculus.”

Oculus Touch - Chris

With more laptops and PC’s becoming “VR ready” it looks like Oculus VR want to become the VR HMD consumers lean towards in the PC VR space. Rubin explains, “I think what you’re going to see over the next couple of years is PC VR really take off and [Oculus] Rift be the center place or center piece of PC VR.”

Due to the growing success and awareness of VR it looks like more companies are looking to create more VR content. Rubin says that this is a great time to start to learn about VR, but this can come with a lot of risk. It’s a delicate balance of staying ahead and becoming dominant in the field or going too far ahead. “It’s a rough and tumble business. This is the game we are in,” Rubin explains in the interview below.

To find out more about Oculus Rift and find out tips for developing VR watch the video below.

Review: Front Defense: Heroes

During this past summer, Fantahorn Studio and Vive Studio released WW2 first-person shooter (FPS) Front Defense, a stationary experience that utilised HTC Vive’s roomscale technology so you could hide behind sandbags whilst reloading or prepping grenades as the German army descended on your position. The single-player experience received a lukewarm response, so now the developers are looking to improve upon that first outing with a new multiplayer only title called Front Defense: Heroes.

Seemingly taking a leaf out of Ready at Dawn’s development book with Lone Echo and Echo Arena, Front Defense: Heroes takes the WW2 theme and focuses purely on a five vs five multiplayer, set across a range of maps.

Front Defense: Heroes image

If you’ve played Front Defense then you’ll instantly be familiar with the layout of guns, how they reload, how to use grenades and so forth. As such Front Defense: Heroes retains its siblings less than smooth reloading mechanic where changing a clip involves a couple of button presses – the trigger to grip, then then touchpad to release the clip – which can feel very long winded when under fire. This is partially due to realism Fantahorn Studio is going for, and it’s certainly commendable – and immersive – when popping another missile in the bazooka for example.

As with any multiplayer focused experience, especially VR FPS ones movement is crucial. Weirdly there’s no teleportation system in sight, yeah that’s right, no hopping about point to point. Instead the developer has created what it calls ‘V-Move’, a locomotion system very similar to the one found in Gunfire Games’ From Other Suns, that involves your 3D character running out in front of you. Once stopped you then appear in its place – ok, so it’s a form of teleporting. With this system you can run round corners, or if you’re really good and know the map intimately, sprint round the entire map. Obviously the downside to this is wandering straight into an enemy and getting your head blown off. There’s certainly a fine art to running up to a corner of a building just so, so you peer round cautiously.

Looking round corners, hiding behind low cover and generally using roomscale to its utmost has been heavily implemented by Fantahorn, but you’ll need plenty of space to get the most out of it. Front Defense: Heroes states that it needs a minimum area of 4m x 3m – which is quite significant for players in countries with smaller homes – but the title is still playable in smaller rooms, as this review was played in an area of 2.5m x 2m. You just have to be careful you don’t get too carried away.

Don’t worry if you prefer smooth locomotion. While that’s not yet available, Fantahorn will be adding this movement feature in a future update – it’s a shame it’s not available at launch.

Matches revolve around selecting which server location you’d like to play in – or which areas of the world are most awake – then selecting a match of starting one of your own. You’ll then find yourself in a battlefield lobby, being able to see your team and your opponents. From here you can switch between Allies and Axis, choose your loadout weapon – a selection of WW2 era rifles and machine guns – then head into battle.

Due to issues like reloading and jumpy nature of V-Move, battles tend to have an inconsistent, fliting nature to them. Maybe after many, many hours of gameplay you’ll find a sweet spot but you may not be so patient. In comparison to Front Defense, Front Defense: Heroes is certainly a step up, offering a far more dynamic experience than its single-player sibling, it’s just not quite the standout experience it could’ve been.



  • Verdict

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files and Why Rockstar Games Understand Virtual Reality

Fans of the original L.A. Noire might be surprised at hearing it will be re-released for virtual reality (VR). Rockstar Games announced L.A. Noire: The VR Case files in September for launch this month, however the studio then delayed the release on HTC Vive until December. VRFocus’ roving reporter Nina Salomons got some hands-on time with the title, in the video below she takes you through her trying out a demo of L.A. Noire: The VR Case files.

A quick recap for those unfamiliar with L.A. Noire, the videogame is set in the 1940’s Los Angeles and follows L.A.P.D. cop Cole Phelps. A dark, detective thriller that sheds light on the corruption which took place, Rockstar Games brought real life crimes into the videogame. L.A. Noire was one of the most groundbreaking and critically acclaimed titles and was even recognized by the Tribeca Film Festival for its cinematic approach to gameplay and narrative. Pioneering the use of MotionScan, a technology that captures and scans every nuance of a real actor’s facial performance. Perfect technology for a cop investigating various cases. Combing a videogame that makes full use of MotionScan and VR truly showcases Rockstar Game’s understanding of VR as well as its potential.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files has seven missions from the original videogame:

  • Tutorial: (Based on) Patrol: Warrants Outstanding
  • Patrol: Upon Reflection
  • Patrol: Armed and Dangerous
  • Patrol: Buyer Beware
  • Traffic: The Consul’s Car
  • Homicide: The Silk Stocking Murder
  • Vice: Reefer Madness
  • Arson: A Different Kind of War

There is now a ‘base’ or Phelp’s office where the player can walk around and interact with various objects. This includes trying on various hats or outfits, playing records on the record player, smoking a cigar, opening drawers, pouring alcohol, and finally opening case files. Nina explains that it feels very intrusive as you open a jacket of a dead man looking for clues as well as her gut instinct kicking in when questioning witnesses to try and find clues to solve the case.

The MotionScan technology is made perfect use of, as you pick up on subtle body language of traumatised witnesses. You can move around them and choose to be a ‘good cop’, ‘bad cop’ or simply ‘accuse’ the character in order to persuade or intimate characters to give you more information. Make use of a notebook where you can free hand draw in (or sketch) and inspect pieces of evidence or props which have all been upgraded in preparation for your meticulous inspection.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files has different modes of movement, one allows for free locomotion where you move controllers side by side and move in the direction you are facing, and another that sees your character move out in-front of you to a highlighted object or area. Depending on the sensitivity to simulation sickness, a player can decide which suits them the best.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files will be released sometime in December for HTC Vive. To find out more about L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files watch the video below.

VR-Newsletter: Anmelden und Smartphone + VR-Brille von Xiaomi gewinnen

In dieser Woche starten wir unseren neuen Newsletter und wir durften uns bereits über die ersten Anmeldungen freuen. Mit dem VR-Newsletter möchte wir euch wöchentlich über die neuesten Virtual Reality News informieren und wir würden uns sehr freuen, wenn ihr diesem Angebot eine Chance gebt.


Damit die erste Hürde leichter genommen wird, bieten wir euch auch einen kleinen Anreiz an. Unter allen Personen, die sich bis zum 15.05.2017 für den Newsletter registrieren, wollen wir unser Testgerät des Mi5 von Xiaomi und die Mi VR-Brille von Xiaomi verlosen. Unseren Test zur Mi VR-Brille findet ihr hier.

Xoami MI VR

Um am Gewinnspiel teilzunehmen, müsst ihr euch nur für den neuen Newsletter anmelden und mit etwas Glück ziehen wir euren Namen. Dann dürft ihr euch über neue Virtual-Reality-Technik freuen!

Bitte kontrolliert nach der Anmeldung auch euren Spam-Ordner! Um die Anmeldung abzuschließen, müsst ihr die Mail bestätigen.

Hinweis zum Gewinn: Das Mi5 und die Mi VR Brille sind nicht für den Markt in Deutschland entwickelt und deshalb solltet ihr etwas Know-How mitbringen, um die VR-Software auf dem Mi5 zu installieren. Wir werden das Gerät auf die Werkseinstellungen zurücksetzen. Weitere Informationen zum Produkt findet ihr hier.

Hinweis zum Gewinnspiel: Der Rechtsweg ist ausgeschlossen und der Newsletter kann jederzeit wieder abbestellt werden. Solltet ihr den Newsletter vor der Ziehung abbestellen, dann verfällt eure Möglichkeit am Gewinnspiel teilzunehmen. Mitarbeiter der VR-Nerds GmbH sind vom Gewinnspiel ausgeschlossen. 


Der Beitrag VR-Newsletter: Anmelden und Smartphone + VR-Brille von Xiaomi gewinnen zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!