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11 of the biggest VR stories from GDC 2016

The Virtual Reality news you need to know from the Game Developers’ Conference

PlayStation VR price and launch date

Coming in October 2016 for US$399, and you’ll need a PlayStation 4 to use it. Andrew House, President and Global CEO for PlayStation, also announced The Playroom VR, which will demonstrate the headset’s capabilities much in the way The Playroom did for the PlayStation Camera when the PS4 launched in 2013.

PlayStation VR

Paranormal Activity VR experience elicits amazing responses

At the Unreal Engine sponsored VR Lounge, the newly developed Paranormal Activity game caused quite a stir. Based on Paramount Pictures’ horror film franchise of the same name, the new virtual reality video game from VRWERX saw demo participants screaming, falling over and reacting exactly as you would if confronted by a real poltergeist! VR Intelligence staff on-site at GDC said it really showed the true power of virtual reality – tapping into the emotions of participants and using the added immersion of VR to draw out very real responses.

PlayStation VR requires a PS4, PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move

PlayStation VR Bundle

Whilst most consumers were already aware of the need for a PlayStation 4 to run the Virtual Reality headset, many won’t have realised the additional need for the PlayStation Camera, and two PlayStation Move Motion Controllers. A bundle including all the kit you need (minus the PS4) was announced during GDC, and it’ll set you back $500.

Crytek unveil VR benchmarking tool

Promising to put the power in the hands of consumers, the tool – appropriately named VRScore – will allow users to test your PC to see if it’s powerful enough to run VR. Crytek teamed up with Basemark, an independent benchmarking firm, to build the tool. With some estimates saying that just 10% of PCs in the market today can competently run VR, this tool could become your new best friend.

Insomniac Games has a different perspective for VR

Insomniac Games' Edge of Nowhere

Whilst a lot of the highest profile VR games are First Person experiences, Insomniac’s Edge of Nowhere has opted for a Third Person perspective. This bold move is not only being lauded by games journalists, but helps to show the full potential of VR when you apply a touch of innovation.

Ex-Pixar technical director tells VR developers to reign it in

Max Planck, technical director of Oculus Story Studio used his GDC presentation to talk about the limitations of VR “We’re… where film was back at the time of the nickelodeon… people were willing to pay a nickel just to see something cool – I think we should embrace that.”

Oculus Rift launch line-up

Oculus Rift

Launching 28 March with around 30 titles – from fully featured games with comparable prices to AAA console and PC games to smaller Virtual Reality experiences for around US$5. Project CARS, Elite Dangerous and EVE: Valkyrie have been the real headline grabbers.

PlayStation VR confirmed games

With 50 titles expected to be available at launch, a complete list hasn’t been confirmed quite yet. However 20 titles were playable at GDC, including heavy hitters Driveclub, Star Wars: Battlefront VR experience, Valkyrie and Wayward Sky.

Oculus Touch motion controllers will bring with them a second wave of games

Oculus Touch

Many developers currently building software for the Rift depend on the compatible motion controllers to deliver the full VR experience. With the motion controllers arriving in the second half of 2016, expect titles that require the added functionality to release within the same window.

Augmented Virtual Reality

Sulon Q

Whilst the world focused on Virtual Reality, AMD and Sulon announced the Sulon Q, a wireless headset that merges augmented reality and virtual reality. Packing a lot of hardware heft into the headset itself, Sulon says the headset will be able to handle console-quality graphics, whilst the Spatial Processing Unit fetches real world details into your game world.

Optoma VR headset

Yet another VR headset announced at GDC 2016, but notably without the wires sported by the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Rather than using tethered wires, the Optoma promises to stream VR content from a PC using their own high speed wireless signal.

Optoma VR HMD

- Thomas Wallis

Get in touch with the author of this article on twitter: @ClacTom

What do you think were the biggest VR stories from GDC 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

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