Owlchemy Labs’ Cosmonious High Releases March 31 For Quest 2, SteamVR – Upload Access Coverage Incoming

We now have a release date for Owlchemy Labs’ next big title — Cosmonious High will release on March 31 for Quest and SteamVR, and it’s our latest Upload Access title!

Owlchemy Labs announced the release date alongside a brand new gameplay trailer, embedded below.

We previously saw a bit of footage in the reveal trailer, but this gives us a much deeper and more extensive look at the game, in which players enroll as the newest student of an intergalactic high school.  Owlchemy is known for the acclaimed VR games Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator, and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, and you can see how the DNA of those games has influenced Cosmonious High.

You quickly discover the ability to summon new powers created in specific situations. That includes being able to shoot water from your hands when a fire breaks out, for example, or using crystals to reconnect severed wires. You can then take these powers into different lessons to complete objectives and help out your classmates.

But don’t just take our word for it. We’re going to be featuring new looks at Cosmonious all month long as part of Upload Access. We’ve got a brand new preview of the game’s opening right here and, in the weeks to come, we’ll be talking to Owlchemy about the game’s powers and gestures systems, looking at the cast of characters, and taking a deep dive into the studio’s long history with VR. Take a look at the full schedule below.

Cosmonious High Upload Access

Cosmonious High launches March 31 for SteamVR and Quest 2.

Valve Officially Marks SteamVR Games As ‘Unsupported’ On Steam Deck

Valve officially started updating SteamVR games with the ‘Unsupported’ tag for Steam Deck compatibility.

Back in October of last year, Valve announced the new label system for Steam Deck, which indicates the level of compatibility expected for any given game. There’s a Verified label for games that run great, Playable for games that run but might need extra configuration, Unsupported for games that officially aren’t certified to run on the system, and Unknown for games that haven’t had their compatibility checked yet.

When Valve announced this label system, it also announced that SteamVR games would be labeled as Unsupported. This doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to try run a VR game that’s marked as Unsupported — Valve has said that it’s “technically” possible, but not optimized for it.

As noticed by Brad Lynch on Twitter, Valve started the process of marking all VR-only titles as unsupported this week. We’ve cross-checked Lynch’s tweet with listings on SteamDB and can confirm that titles like Half-Life: Alyx now fall in the Unsupported category under Steam Deck compatibility, found in the information tab.

While we knew this was coming, it marks the beginning of the process ahead of Steam Deck’s launch in a few weeks time. Despite this, we expect some users to try run VR content using Steam Deck connected to PC VR-enabled headsets on launch. Valve told IGN that the device has “all the connectivity” for VR but performance isn’t optimized for it. Gabe Newell himself even weighed in, suggesting a Quest could be used with Steam Deck, they just don’t guarantee anything.

Will you be trying to run VR content on a Steam Deck in the next few weeks? Let us know in the comments below.

Valve’s CEO Confirmed Work On New Headsets Ages Ago And We All Missed It

Valve CEO Gabe Newell made some comments back in May that went unnoticed until recently, confirming work on “new headsets and games” at Valve.

Newell gave a talk at the Sancta Maria College in New Zealand and fielded some questions from students. The talk was recorded and uploaded online, but the comments about new headsets only gained attention recently when YouTuber Brad Lynch reposted a clip from a recording to Twitter, embedded below.

 

His comments came in response to a question asking whether Newell thinks VR/AR technology will ever become a staple of the gaming industry.

Newell confirms that Valve is “making big investments in new headsets and games” but also feels that VR/AR is a stepping stone toward brain-computer interfaces.

Here’s his full response, transcribed from around the 14:00 mark of this video:

“There are interesting questions, which is: are things sort of stable end goals or are they transition points? My view, which is not in the accepted sort of middle ground, is that VR and AR are transition points towards brain-computer interfaces. That everything you have to do in terms of control speeds, in terms of understanding visual processing, in terms of content design, are leading you towards brain-computer interfaces and what they do. 

So that’s the main thing, and then I think brain-computer interfaces are going to be incredibly disruptive, one of the more disruptive technology transitions that we’re going to go through.

So I think it’s super valuable. You know, we’re making big investments in new headsets and games for those application categories, but also looking further down the road and saying what does that evolve into.”

Back in September, Lynch also found evidence of a standalone VR headset in development at Valve, referred to as ‘Deckard’ in SteamVR driver files. Sources at Ars Technica corroborated the headset’s existence.

Newell also previously said Valve was exploring work with OpenBCI to solve VR motion sickness. If you sign up for the newsletter on the OpenBCI website for its upcoming “Galea” interface, the organization promises to ship an initial production run to testing partners in early 2022 fully integrated with the Valve Index, offering “image-based eye tracking” as well as sensors for “EEG, EDA, EMG, PPG, EOG” and access to “raw data” from the “BrainFlow” application programming interface.

“We’re working on an open source project so that everybody can have high-resolution [brain signal] read technologies built into headsets, in a bunch of different modalities,” Newell said previously. “If you’re a software developer in 2022 who doesn’t have one of these in your test lab, you’re making a silly mistake…software developers for interactive experience[s] — you’ll be absolutely using one of these modified VR head straps to be doing that routinely — simply because there’s too much useful data.”

galea bci indexValve’s current focus is seemingly locked on the Steam Deck for now and the foreseeable future, but new VR headsets are in the offing from other companies and additional sensors seem to be planned for competing high end systems. The HP Reverb G2 currently comes in an “Omnicept” edition with additional sensors and Meta is preparing a sensor-laden headset currently going by the codename Cambria for next year as Apple prepares its own sensor-filled VR headset for potential launch soon.

Valve shipped the high-end Index PC-powered VR headset starting in 2019 and it is in use by around 17 percent of SteamVR users as of this month. Prior to launching Index, Valve reportedly explored a ‘Vader’ headset project that “sort of maxed everything” and would’ve cost the thousands of dollars to buy even if it “had somehow been manufacturable.”

We’ll be interested to see what sensors actually do make it into the next generation VR headsets given the difficult reality of securing key components and manufacturing millions of VR headsets amid ongoing developments with the pandemic as well as continuous supply chain challenges.

What are you thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Fruit Ninja VR 2 Sets Dec 3 Early Access Release For PC VR, Quest App Lab In 2022

Fruit Ninja VR 2 will release in Early Access for PC VR via Steam on December 3, with a Quest App Lab release coming in 2022.

The sequel to the original mobile-turned-VR game was announced quietly by developers Halfbrick earlier this year in June, with a demo dropping last month as part of Steam Next Fest.

Here’s a quick summary from Halfbrick on what to expect from the sequel:

Fruit Ninja VR 2 has all the arcade fruit-slashing fun of the original combined with the Fruitar Hero rhythm mode of popular mobile game Fruit Ninja 2. Use your blade to slash fruit as it flies at you to the rhythm of the music. Simple on the surface, but deceptively skilful.

The sequel also incorporates a new bow weapon and archery mechanics, allowing you to shoot fruit as it flies through the air. There’s five areas in the game — The Gardens, Archery Range, Gutsu’s Lagoon, the Social Hub and the Dojo.

The latter doja area is a hub area, where you’ll be able to store and display cosmetic bows and blades, unlockable with in-game tokens. There will be no in-game purchases.

While the PC VR release was confirmed a number of months ago, up until now we had heard nothing about a Quest or PSVR release. While the latter is still up in the air, Halfbrick did confirm a Quest release in the Early Access announcement, stating that Fruit Ninja VR 2 will be coming to Quest in 2022 through App Lab.

Fruit Ninja VR 2 launches on Steam in Early Access for PC VR on December 3.

Steam Autumn Sale: Alyx Goes 50% Off, Saints & Sinners And More Big Discounts

The Steam Autumn Sale is now live, with substantial discounts on some big VR games.

The Steam Autumn Sale is one of many seasonal sales available at the moment for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, such as Meta offering store or retailer credit for Quest 2 headset purchases and the PSVR software discounts available on the PlayStation Store.

The most notable discount in the Steam sale is Half-Life: Alyx, which is available at half-price for the first time ever. Alyx has regularly been discounted by 40%, but this marks a new record saving since the game launched in March 2020.

Here’s a selection of the Steam Autumn Sale discounts on offer:

– Half-Life: Alyx for $29.99 (down 50% from $59.99)

– Boneworks for $23.99 (down 20% from $29.99)

– The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners for $21.99 (down 45% from $39.99)

– Star Wars Squadrons for $14.79 (down 63% from $39.99)

– Pavlov VR for $14.99 (down 40% from $24.99)

– The Room VR: A Dark Matter for $19.49 (down 35% from $29.99)

– Walkabout Mini Golf for $11.99 (down 20% from $14.99)

– Eleven Table Tennis for $9.99 (down 50% from $19.99)

– Ragnarock for $16.24 (down 35% from $24.99)

– Eye of the Temple for $17.99 (down 10% from $19.99)

– Vermillion for $15.99 (down 20% from $19.99)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR for $19.79 (down 67% from $59.99)

– Superhot VR for $14.99 (down 40% from $24.99)

– Into the Radius VR for $20.99 (down 30% from $29.99)

– Phasmophobia for $12.59 (down 10% from $13.99)

– No Man’s Sky for $29.99 (down 50% from $59.99)

– Five Nights At Freddy’s: Help Wanted for $23.99 (down 20% from $29.99)

– Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond for $31.99 (down 20% from $39.99)

Trover Saves The Universe for $10.49 (down 65% from $29,99)

– Myst for $26.99 (down 10% from $29.99)

– I Expect You To Die 2 for $19.99 (down 20% from $24.99)

You can view the full list of VR titles discounted as part of the Autumn sale here.

What will you be picking up in this year’s Steam Autumn Sale? Let us know in the comments below.

Steam Now Lists Upgraded HP Reverb G2 And Other Headsets

The new and (reportedly) improved HP Reverb G2 is now listed on Steam, as are other headsets beyond Valve’s own Index.

The front page of Valve’s digital store now features a promotion for the new Reverb G2, which was announced earlier this week. The upgraded kit features improved tracking capabilities, better support for AMD hardware and more. As with before, the listing links through to the correct website that you can pick up a Reverb G2 from depending on your region.

Also listed on the Valve hardware page is the business-focused Omnicept Edition of the G2, which includes more sensors, and HTC’s Vive Pro 2 and Cosmos Elite. There’s also a link to the Windows Mixed Reality app needed if you’re planning to use the Reverb G2 or other Windows headsets on SteamVR. There’s no listing for the just-announced Varjo Aero, which is a high-end headset also supported by SteamVR tracking.

It’s been a quiet year on the SteamVR front while Valve has shifted its attention to the upcoming Steam Deck handheld console. There are rumors, though, that the company could follow that device up with its own standalone VR headset, codenamed Deckard.

As for the new Reverb G2, it still carries the $600 price point and should be shipping this year.  Troubled controller tracking was our biggest issue with the original headset, so we’re eager to test this iteration out to see the difference.

Are you going to be picking up the new HP Reverb G2? Let us know in the comments below!

Steam Now Lists Upgraded HP Reverb G2 And Other Headsets

The new and (reportedly) improved HP Reverb G2 is now listed on Steam, as are other headsets beyond Valve’s own Index.

The front page of Valve’s digital store now features a promotion for the new Reverb G2, which was announced earlier this week. The upgraded kit features improved tracking capabilities, better support for AMD hardware and more. As with before, the listing links through to the correct website that you can pick up a Reverb G2 from depending on your region.

Also listed on the Valve hardware page is the business-focused Omnicept Edition of the G2, which includes more sensors, and HTC’s Vive Pro 2 and Cosmos Elite. There’s also a link to the Windows Mixed Reality app needed if you’re planning to use the Reverb G2 or other Windows headsets on SteamVR. There’s no listing for the just-announced Varjo Aero, which is a high-end headset also supported by SteamVR tracking.

It’s been a quiet year on the SteamVR front while Valve has shifted its attention to the upcoming Steam Deck handheld console. There are rumors, though, that the company could follow that device up with its own standalone VR headset, codenamed Deckard.

As for the new Reverb G2, it still carries the $600 price point and should be shipping this year.  Troubled controller tracking was our biggest issue with the original headset, so we’re eager to test this iteration out to see the difference.

Are you going to be picking up the new HP Reverb G2? Let us know in the comments below!

More Than Two Years After Launch, Valve Index is Now the Second Most Used Headset on Steam

While Quest 2 has certainly soaked up much of the attention as it quickly became the most used headset on Steam, Valve’s expensive Index headset has proven its longevity, now taking second place among the most used headsets on Steam.

For a headset which is now more than two years old and still priced at $1,000, it’s impressive to see Index take second place as the most used headset with 17.5% of VR users on Steam using it, according to the latest data from Valve. It got there by growing 1.51% among the share of headsets used in September, while the discontinued Oculus Rift S fell to third place with 17.21% (−0.88%) share.

Interestingly, Index previously reached its all-time high of 17.63% share back in October 2020, but that put it in third place at the time, behind Rift S at 24.64% and the original Vive at 19.17%. Index nearly took the second place spot in January 2020, but that very month Quest 2 made its debut in the data and took the second place spot for itself.

But Index has persisted, and has watched as both the original Vive and Rift S have fallen away, finally earning it the second place spot among the most used headsets on the platform. It’s not entirely surprising to see a headset outlast the Rift S (which has since been discontinued) nor the original Vive (which launched way back in 2016), but given that Index has never been discounted from its steep $1,000 price point—and that it’s more than two years old—makes it pretty impressive for it to have snatched the second place spot in 2021. Despite supply issues early on, the headset seems to have seen strong demand ever since launch, consistently ranking among the 10 highest grossing products on Steam.

Beyond Index’s new ranking, the latest data from Valve gives us an update on VR’s performance on the platform overall.

Monthly-connected VR Headsets on Steam

Each month Valve collects info from Steam users to determine some baseline statistics about what kind of hardware and software is used by the platform’s population, and to see how things are changing over time, including the use of VR headsets.

The data shared in the survey represents the number of headsets connected to Steam over a given month, so we call the resulting figure ‘monthly-connected headsets’ for clarity; it’s the closest official figure there is to ‘monthly active VR users’ on Steam, with the caveat that it only tells us how many VR headsets were connected, not how many were actually used.

While Valve’s data is a useful way see which headsets are most popular on Steam, the trend of monthly-connected headsets is obfuscated because the data is given exclusively as percentages relative to Steam’s population—which itself is an unstated and constantly fluctuating figure.

To demystify the data Road to VR maintains a model, based on the historical survey data along with official data points directly from Valve and Steam, which aims to correct for Steam’s changing population and estimate the actual count—not the percent—of headsets being used on Steam.

Overall the number of users using VR headsets on Steam grew from 1.74% to 1.8%. However, the small growth follows a trend of bouncy figures in the last few months which appear to show a slowing of VR headset adoption that started in May.

It’s tough to say precisely what’s causing the slowdown, though a common refrain among PC VR users is that the platform hasn’t seen many major VR game releases since Half-Life: Alyx back in March of 2020. Indeed, Quest and Quest 2 have been commanding significant attention among more experienced VR developers recently.

Share of VR Headsets on Steam

While Index grew the most in the last month and took the second place spot, Quest 2 still has a major lead and, now that it’s back on sale after a month-long pause on sales, has grown to 33.19% (+1.04%) of all VR headsets in use on Steam.

Rift S, the original Quest, Windows Mixed Reality, and the original Vive lost the most share over the last month, with Rift S at 17.21% (–0.88%), Quest at 5.02% (–0.68%) Vive at 9.70% (–0.31%), and Windows Mixed Reality at 5.48% (–0.31%).

As for the share among headset vendors, although Quest 2 grew in the last month, Oculus overall dropped to 60.71% (–0.42%) due to losses from Rift S and the original Quest. Despite being the most recent vendor to release a new PC VR headset (Vive Pro 2), HTC’s share continues its long decline, now down to 13.89% (–0.56%).

The only major vendor that grew its share in the last month is actually Valve which, despite offering only a single headset, is the third largest vendor of VR headsets used on Steam.

The post More Than Two Years After Launch, Valve Index is Now the Second Most Used Headset on Steam appeared first on Road to VR.

Phansmophobia To Get OpenXR Support, Progression Overhaul

The public Phasmophobia Trello board outlines plans for future updates, with new content, an overhaul of the progression system and OpenXR support on the horizon.

The Trello board lists extensive changes and plans, with a mixture of specific and more general goals for the game. Some of the wider, game-wide changes planned include increased accessibility options (such as colorblind support and quick chat for ghost communication), randomized weather on each maps, more uses for temperature actions (such as opening a window or turning on a heater) and tracking of a player’s long-terms statistic (such as total deaths, contracts and hunts).

A task labeled “Horror 2.0” features such as new ghost events (and an overhaul of ghost events in general), hallucinations, new death rooms and new death animations are mentioned.

There are also plans to overhaul many of the game’s larger systems, such as an overhaul of the sounds, the UI and the main menu room. Changes are also planned for the equipment layout in the starting van and the design of your journal. In terms of an overhaul of the progression system, there’s not too many details but the Trello board lists reworks of the objectives, equipment, leveling, money and difficulty systems.

For new content, the goals are described very vaguely but include new ghosts, new evidence, new maps and new equipment.

For VR specifically, the goal is to swap from OpenVR support to OpenXR, which will allow support for new and future headsets and controllers with easier integration. OpenXR is the new industry standard that provides an API for VR and AR content making game engines compatible across various different hardware platforms. Valve, Microsoft and Facebook have all recommended that games engines use OpenXR moving forward.

Overall, it looks like lots of good changes are on the horizon for Phasmophobia. That being said, it seems like a lot of the planned work is still in early stages, so don’t expect anything too soon.

Back in March, Phasmophobia ramped up the difficulty and improved the ghost AI, along with announcing planned support for bHpatics suits. You can see the full plan for future Phasmophobia content over on the development Trello board.