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Game

‘Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ is coming to VR on Oculus Quest 2

One of the most-loved entries in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series is coming to VR. On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a port of 2004’s GTA: San Andreas is in development for the company’s Quest 2 VR headset. “This new version of what I think is one of the greatest games ever made will offer players an entirely new way to experience this iconic open world in virtual reality,” Zuckerberg said during the event.

Zuckerberg didn’t say when Quest 2 owners can expect to play the game. The blog post the company published after the event also didn’t provide many other details either. “This is a project many years in the making, and we can’t wait to show you more of it,” the company said. Whatever form the final product takes, it’s likely to look a lot like the Resident Evil 4 remake Facebook and Capcom released last week. Expect the company’s Oculus Studios division to rework various elements of the game to make the PlayStation 2-era game more practical and comfortable to play in virtual reality.     

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Game

VR hit ‘Blade & Sorcery’ comes to Oculus Quest 2 on November 4th

Blade & Sorcery has been a strong showcase for VR, but it has a drawback: its PC-only nature has meant occasionally tripping over wires while you fight your fantasy battles. Thankfully, that won’t be an issue for long. Warpfrog has unveiled Blade & Sorcery: Nomad, a stand-alone game coming to the Oculus Quest 2 on November 4th for $20. The basic concept remains the same — it’s a “sandbox” brawler with immersive swordplay and magic — but the developers are taking advantage of the freedom that comes with a stand-alone headset.

The familiar Sandbox mode is now fine-tuned for room-scale VR. There’s also a Dungeons mode that challenges you to fight through “semi-procedurally generated” chambers. In 2022, there will also be a mode with progression that rewards frequent play.

This probably won’t get you to spring for a Quest 2 by itself. It might tip the balance if you were already curious about titles like GTA: San Andreas, though, and it may serve as a good introduction to what VR can do. If nothing else, it shows what’s possible when you aren’t tied to a computer.

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Game

Oculus announces GTA: San Andreas VR, teases big Beat Saber news

We were expecting some news about VR gaming today at Facebook Connect 2021, and that’s precisely what we got. Facebook made several announcements regarding games that are heading to Oculus VR, and while we may not expect a ton from a segment that often still feels like it’s just getting going, there were certainly surprises. If you’re a GTA or Beat Saber fan, then you’ll want to pay attention to today’s announcements.

That’s because leading Facebook’s announcements was the reveal of a VR version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any gameplay footage or even any screenshots; Facebook merely says that this game is in development at Rockstar for the Quest 2, and that the project is “many years in the making.” We’re going to have to wait for anything more substantial than that, though.

Beat Saber was also on the docket today, though unfortunately, specifics are slim there too. After looking back on 2021, Beat Games teased that it has “an amazing lineup of artists for 2022.” The company also said that it has one more announcement coming before the end of the year and teased that announcement with the trailer you see above. All we see in the trailer is a unique-looking saber with the words “Level Up!” so if you’re a Beat Saber player, take that as you will.

Facebook also shared a collection of updates on other games and developers, revealing that it’s partnering with Vertigo Games for five new titles. We don’t know what those games are, but one of them will be set in a “fan-favorite” game world from Deep Silver. In addition, the company announced that Blade & Sorcery: Nomad, which will be heading to Quest 2 later this year.

Blade & Sorcery: Nomad doesn’t seem to be a sequel to the original game – which launched for Oculus Rift in 2019 – but rather a standalone release for the Quest specifically. However, the idea will still be to provide a sandbox for players to experiment with various sorts of first-person combat, whether that’s melee with weapons like swords and axes, ranged with bows, or sorcery with magic. There’s been no specific release date announced yet, but Blade & Sorcery: Nomad should be here by the time we close the book on 2021.

Facebook – or, we should say, Meta – also announced a fitness accessory kit for Oculus Quest today. The fitness kit is straightforward and simple, as it includes grips for the controllers to keep them from flying across the room (not entirely unlike the strap on a Wii remote or Switch Joy-Con, though not exactly the same) and a face pad that’s easy to wipe down after a workout. We’ll see that launch later sometime next year.

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Game

Meta is axing Oculus, but there’s good news too

Earlier today, Facebook revealed that it’s changing its name. Facebook, the corporation, will now be known as Meta. While Meta will continue to offer separate brands like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the company will no longer share its name with its most popular app offering. As it turns out, this restructuring isn’t just changing things at the corporate level, as Meta will also be retiring the Oculus brand.

Oculus, of course, is one of the biggest names in virtual reality, so this is a big move by Meta. In a post to his Facebook account today, Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s VP of AR/VR, revealed that the Oculus brand is going away, saying Meta wants to ensure that Quest is seen as a Meta product, which means unified branding.

“For this reason, we’re simplifying our brand architecture and shifting away from the Oculus brand,” Bosworth wrote. “Starting in early 2022, you’ll start to see the shift from Oculus Quest from Facebook to Meta Quest and Oculus App to Meta Quest App over time. We all have a strong attachment to the Oculus brand, and this was a difficult decision to make. While we’re retiring the name, I can assure that the original Oculus vision remains deeply embedded in how Meta will continue to drive mass adoption for VR today.”

Bosworth also made a more exciting announcement in his Facebook post, revealing that Meta will be removing the requirement to link Oculus headsets with Facebook accounts. Facebook started requiring that users link their headsets with a Facebook account with the Quest 2, and it was a decision that did not go over well with the Oculus faithful.

“As we’ve focused more on work, and as we’ve heard feedback from the VR community more broadly, we’re working on new ways to log into Quest that won’t require a Facebook account, landing sometime next year,” Bosworth added. “This is one of our highest priority areas of work internally.”

So, the Oculus brand will be going away, and while we’re guessing that some out there have mixed feelings about that change, there’s little doubt that the decision to stop forcing Facebook logins on Oculus hardware will be a welcomed one indeed. We’ll let you know when these changes begin showing up in the real world, so stay tuned for more.

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Computing

How to Connect an Oculus Quest 2 to a PC

You can connect an Oculus Quest 2 to a PC in two ways: using an Oculus Link cable (or another high-quality USB-C cable) or wirelessly, using Air Link. This will unlock a range of PC-only VR experiences and let you use the power of your PC to deliver greater on-screen visuals.

Here’s how to connect your Oculus Quest 2 to a PC in just a few steps.

Connect an Oculus Quest 2 to a PC: Using Oculus Link

Oculus VR

If you’d prefer to use a wired connection, follow the steps below to connect your Oculus Quest 2 to a PC via Oculus Link. This method should work for both Oculus Quest and Quest 2 headsets. You can use the official Oculus Link cable, or a high-quality USB-C 3.0 cable. Do check individual reviews of third-party cables, though, as not all of them are rated for VR performance.

Step 1: Review the compatibility requirements to make sure that your PC and headset meet all of the hardware and software requirements.

Step 2: Go to the Oculus app on your computer and power on your headset.

Step 3: You’ll need to plug in one end of the USB or Oculus Link cable into your PC’s USB 3.0 port. The other end should then be plugged into your headset.

Step 4: In virtual reality, you’ll see an Allow Access to Data prompt. Be sure to select Deny.

Step 5: When you see the Enable Oculus Link prompt, choose Enable.

Connect an Oculus Quest 2 to a PC: Using Air Link

A person wearing and using an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset in front of a gray background.
Oculus.com/Facebook

If you’d prefer to use a wireless connection and you have a Quest 2 headset, follow the steps below to connect your headset via Air Link. This method only works for Quest 2 headsets. You’ll need to make sure that your Quest 2 and that the Oculus app on your PC are both updated to version 28 (v28) or later.

Step 1: On your PC, navigate to the Oculus app and choose Settings. On the Beta tab, choose the button beside Air Link.

Step 2: Wear your headset and press the Oculus button to open the menu. Choose the Settings gear icon and select Experimental Features.

Step 3: Select the button beside Air Link. Select Continue.

Step 4: From the Available PCs list that appears, choose your PC and select Pair. After it’s done pairing, select Launch.

The above instructions are what it takes to pair your PC with your Quest 2 the first time. After the first pairing, future connections should only require switching Air Link on via the Quick Actions menu in Settings.

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Game

Oculus Go unlock software released for hardware freedom

An Oculus Go unlocked OS build was released today, courtesy of John Carmack. After a prolonged period of time and a whole lot of work in securing the rights to release the software, Carmack and crew made this build a reality. It’s a surprise, honestly, now that Oculus is owned by Facebook. It IS a welcome surprise, in any case.

The Oculus Go software unlock is relatively simple to enact. The most difficult part of the process will be your decision to push the software, given the agreement you must make with Oculus. You’ll effectively be agreeing that they are no longer responsible for any part of the device’s software or any future software updates.

SEE TOO: Our original Oculus Go review

Per Oculus, “this process will not work on any other device or OS,” and “please note that unlocking your device is not reversible and you will no longer receive OTA updates.” So why would you want to initiate such an unlock?

Because once you unlock you Oculus Go, you can install any software you like. Per Oculus, this process will give you access to the OS build so that you might “repurpose Oculus Go for more things today.”

Per Carmack, this process “opens up the ability to repurpose the hardware for more things today, and means that a randomly discovered shrink wrapped headset twenty years from now will be able to update to the final software version, long after over-the-air update servers have been shut down.”

Take a peek at the Unlocking Oculus Go page at the Oculus for Developers website. There you’ll be taken through the steps that are required to unlock the device and open your software door to the future. And if you happen to find a very awesome use for this headset and would like to share, let us know! Or just let me know over on Twitter – let’s chat!



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Game

How to Get Your Oculus Quest 2’s Recalled Padding Replaced

Oculus is recalling the foam padding inside of Quest 2 headsets due to reports of skin irritation. In an email to Quest owners, Oculus states that the recall is specifically for the foam facial interface that is attached to the headset itself. A free silicone cover will be available to owners of the Quest 2 that request one.

Oculus first began a replacement campaign for the Quest 2 in December. The company has now extended that into a full recall. According to Oculus, it received a small percentage of reports from users of irritation where the foam facial interface rests on the skin.

After working with regulators over the past couple of months, Oculus is offering a free silicone-based cover that will fit over the foam facial interface on the Quest 2. The cover is made from medical-grade silicone that, according to the Oculus website, provides, “improved hygiene, comfort, and immersion” for the Quest 2 headset. The silicone cover is available for Quest 2 headset and Quest 2 Fit Pack owners.

Quest 2 owners are not required to send in their headsets or the foam padding to fix the issue. In order to acquire the silicone cover to fit over the existing foam facial interface, owners must log in to the website and click on the “Go to My Devices” link. From there, owners are instructed to fill out a form. It requires the owner’s account login, the serial number for the headset, and the address for shipment. The address must be in one of the supported countries for shipping.

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Game

Oculus makes it easier to create mixed reality apps

Expect to see more mixed reality apps in the future, at least for the Oculus Quest 2. WinFuture notes that Oculus has unveiled a toolkit, Passthrough API Experimental, that will make it relatively easy to “seamlessly” merge VR with the real world view from the Quest 2’s cameras.

You can project images on flat surfaces, create composite layers that float in space, and even apply visual styles (akin to social media filters) to real scenes. You could give yourself a virtual monitor to use with your real-world keyboard, for instance, or turn your home into a psychedelic dreamscape by flicking a virtual switch.

Privacy shouldn’t be an issue, Oculus claimed. The API only processes raw camera footage on-device, and apps can’t access, store or view imagery of the world around you. A rogue app shouldn’t transmit video of your home, to put it another way.

Oculus expects to deliver the framework to Unity engine developers with its next software development kit release. It will take a while for finished apps to surface, but don’t be surprised if mixed reality games and productivity tools become relatively commonplace as a result of Oculus’ new tools.

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Game

‘Myst’ Oculus remake hits PC and Mac this year, no VR headset required

Ready to buy yet another copy of Myst? After making its way to Facebook’s Oculus Quest platform in late 2020, last year’s “reimagining” of the classic adventure game is heading to PC and Mac. In a tweet spotted by The Verge, Myst series creator Cyan Worlds said it would release the game on those platforms in Q3 of 2021. What’s more, you won’t need a VR headset to play the remake once it arrives on Windows and macOS, with the release including full support for flatscreen monitors.

When Cyan Worlds announced the remake of Myst, it said the game would eventually come to other platforms. However, there’s no word yet on availability beyond Oculus Quest, PC and Mac. The rerelease features updated audio and visual assets, as well as an optional puzzle randomization feature that helps mix things up. The $30 Oculus Quest version of the remake was generally well-received, with most reviewers noting Cyan did an admirable job of making the classic more immersive.  

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Tech News

Blaston backs out as Facebook’s first Oculus VR ads partner

Facebook has a sort of reverse Midas’ touch where everything it touches gets stained by its own stigmas. Every product it buys or gets close to eventually gets involved in its privacy issues or, at the very least, its advertising businesses. It was the latter surprised, shocked, and even disgusted Oculus users last week when the social networking giant announced the start of its advertising tests on the VR platform. Users expressed their opposition so strongly that Blaston, the first and so far only game to test this system, has quickly pulled out from the program.

It was actually not that surprising and it was only a matter of time before Facebook started pushing its advertising platform on Oculus. The social network was, after all, slowly but surely slapping on its branding on everything it owns, including the Oculus VR platform and hardware. Facebook positions ads as a necessary evil to monetize VR experiences and make VR a more self-sustaining industry, but that doesn’t mean users just have to take things sitting down.

The opposition of ads on Blaston isn’t just a matter of being anti-ads, though there’s definitely that aspect to it. Instead, most of the complaints and criticism revolves around developer Resolution Games agreeing to test ads in a game that gamers already paid for. Even in the advertising world, it is considered bad taste to serve ads in paid games, leaving the monetization systems to thrive in free or freemium titles only.

Relenting to mounting criticism and the all too real danger of review bombing, Resolution Games resolved to exclude ads from Blaston. That said, it doesn’t mean that the company is turning its back on VR ads altogether, just that this particular test wasn’t a good fit for this particular game. Instead, the developers might test those ads in its free Bait! VR game in the future.

Facebook’s plans to monetize Oculus VR experiences may have hit a small snag but it will hardly put a stop to it. Blaston was the only one named during last week’s announcement but there are most likely others ready to take its place. At least now those will know how not to put ads in paid titles, at least for now.



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