The short lived Virtual Reality expo of Los Angeles has already come and gone, bringing with it the absolute latest and greatest in VR toys, peripherals and games. The virtual world came alive at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and even more ways to interact with VR were on full display.
While the official release of most VR headsets are still a few financial quarters away, the hype generated in convention hall felt similar to that of any other gaming expo. Long lines and and new titles lined the walls of this event, however, it was all worth it to experience games that are truly pushing the envelope in terms of what VR is capable of.
Steam VR and Vive, some of the event’s official sponsors, decorated the majority of the booths with their newest HTC Vive Pre headsets. Offering even higher resolution, and better connectivity with their proprietary controllers, their booths were able to offer one of the premiere First Person Shooter experiences with Raw Data by Survios.
Already announced, this co-op experience pits players in close quarters combat scenarios against hordes of A.I. enemies. Featuring automatic pistols and laser swords, this epic new multiplayer title may very well change the FPS experience as well as eSports gaming by adding a more authentic “Collesium” to the classic horde mode.
Showing off the power behind the Oculus Rift, was the single player FPS adventure, Bullet Train. The new title from Epic Games has been circulating the gaming news world for a while now, and each time, the game looks better and better. Using the Oculus touch motion controller, the interactive experience is highly immersive as the players use intense weaponry, and teleportation against futuristic resistance fighters. Experienced from the perspective of a secret agent inside of a training simulation, Bullet Train is looking to be a flagship FPS experience in the Virtual world.
Although the word “toy” may sound fairly juvenile to the average gamer, the word “Peripheral” sounds far less fun. The toys on hand at VRLA, however, could only be described as fun new interactive experiences. Evolving the nature of what gamers think of when they hear the word “controller”, new VR toys provide exciting ways to interact with the next generation of games.
Leading the way in terms of both innovation and design as always was the VirZoom. At first glance, it appears to be a standard stationary bike, the kind used by people who like the idea of exercise, but not necessarily the idea of going outside. However, the VirZoom is much more than a stationary bike, as it provides one of the most exhilarating, rewarding, and personal experiences in VR to date.
Combined with any three of the major VR headsets, the VirZoom technology transports the player into a variety of different worlds. The act of peddling your way through different games, both on the ground and through the air, will ultimately be the reason that gamers bring this light weight stationary bike into their homes.
After dominating the world of music with their powerful audio technology, SubPac has devised a whole new way to feel the power of sound and music with their S2: Tactile Bass System. Originally developed with the intention of helping the deaf feel the music that we all listen to, the S2 chair setup holds a top of the line, internal subwoofer that is designed to amplify the bass sounds so that they cause your back to vibrate along with the noise.
When placed within the virtual world, however, the S2 immerses the player into whatever world they are playing in. This form of haptic feedback gives the player an increased realism as they can now feel the intensity of grenades exploding around them or the rumble as a titan storms past you.
Putting on the biggest show at VRLA, was the Virtuix Omni. Taking a classic arcade experience, and bringing it into the future, Virtuix’s new omni-directional gaming platform integrates a gamer’s every move with a special motion tracking pod, and safety harness that provides un-inhibited gameplay that transports the player directly onto the battlefield. In addition to the platform, Omni utilizes a multitude of peripherals to enhance the reality of the environment.
The standing platform itself provides a sturdy balance for the player remain safely upright, in addition to the specially designed comfort shoes which when combined with the track pods, are able to accurately capture movement and relay it into the game. Last, but most certainly not least however, is the integration of almost all current VR controllers into the 3rd party software, ensuring that no matter how you choose to play, the Omni will support it. The Omni is available now through the Virtuix online store, and features a special package that includes the Omni, shoes, and track pods.
While all of the new innovations have left gamers salivating for more, GPU developers Nvidia were on hand in more ways than one to showcase the challenges and triumphs of VR gaming. The booths themselves were jam packed with lines of gamers simply looking to try out new games. The less obvious fact, however, is that the vast majority of PCs on display to power these virtual worlds, were themselves, powered by Nvidia graphics cards.
Containing the minimum of at least a GTX 970 GPU, the company has taken full advantage of the knowledge that the world’s computers are still incapable of supporting proper VR experiences. Between the new VR Ready program designed to get gamers prepared, as well as grass roots approaches such as VRLA, Nvidia is paving the way for every one get everyone access to cutting edge VR.
The world of virtual reality got a whole lot bigger at VRLA, and as the adoption of VR into homes around the world grows, so too will its content. While everyone in the Gamerspack crew were blown away by the toys and games available to demo, we are even more excited about what we’ll see next year.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.