Facebook buys Oculus VR; the gaming community’s response

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Photo by Bago Games (CC BY)

If you’re a gamer, you may have already heard the news surrounding the Oculus Rift. On Tuesday, Facebook announced that they purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion dollars.

According to Game Informer, the acquisition happened practically over night. For a few months prior, the team met up with Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerburg, and he tried out the Oculus equipment. He was apparently very impressed by it.

Oculus CEO Brandon Iribe told Game Informer, “When Mark got in and tried some of the latest demos, he asked, ‘What can I do to help? What can Facebook do to help?’”

In the aforementioned announcement, Zuckerberg claims that he won’t make any initial changes to Oculus and let them develop independently.

“Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate,” Zuckerberg said, “The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games.”

Zuckerburg goes on to say that he has big dreams beyond gaming for the Oculus.

“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences,” Zuckerburg said. “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”

There’s been a lot of backlash from the gaming community over the acquisition, however.

Game development company Mojang had been considering developing Minecraft for the Rift, but after the announcement they tweeted that they were pulling out.

Founder of Mojang, Markus Persson, wrote in his personal blog, “Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.”

Indeed, it’s a bit strange to think of Facebook being in direct competition with Sony and the Playstation 4. For those that may not have heard, Sony is developing their own VR headset for the PS4 called Project Morpheus. Even Microsoft has hinted that they’ve been looking at VR for awhile, and well, let’s face it, if Sony’s building a headset, Microsoft is probably doing it too. I wouldn’t be surpised if within the next year we hear something about a VR headset from Microsoft.

I think Zuckerburg is well intentioned in the acquisition. He sounds like he has big aims for the company, even farther beyond Oculus VR’s own initial aims. He’s got the money to get them there, that they may not have had before. This could be a good thing.

As with most gamers, I am apprehensive about saying it is a good thing. I think only time will tell. Hopefully Facebook doesn’t mess this up, and maybe, just maybe, we may end up with some really fantastic tech.

It’s almost here! Elder Scrolls Online server times announced

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The Elder Scrolls Online is almost here! Zennimax Online Studios held an AMA on Reddit a few days ago. During the AMA they released the exact times that the servers will open.

Here’s the breakdown that was posted up:

Zennimax

Photo by Andy W. (CC BY-SA)

The five day early access begins March 30 and goes to those that pre-order direct from the Elder Scrolls Online store. Retail pre-orders get the three day early access starting April 1. Everyone else has to wait until April 4.

I was a long term play tester for the Elder Scrolls Online. For the most part, it was a pretty fun game. There was some glitchiness and slight problems early on when I played, but that’s only to be expected in a beta. While it felt a little different than the main Elder Scrolls series, it did have the basic Elder Scrolls feel to it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play it much in the last couple of months, as I became very distracted by other games that had been released. It will be very interesting to see what changes were made.

I’ve posted below a video from Youtuber, Force Strategy Gaming. The video shows off Nightblade gameplay. If you didn’t get to play the beta or want a preview of what the Elder Scrolls Online looks like, check out the video below!

A History of Video Games: 1st & 2nd Generation – Slideshow

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Ever wonder what the very first console looked like? I made a slideshow below that showcases the first two generations of video games. Right now we’re on the eighth console generation. The first consoles were very different, and yet, so important. Without their success, we wouldn’t be playing the PS4, Xbox One, or Wii U. This post is the start in a series of four posts over the next couple of weeks that traces the history of video game console generations up until our present times. For now, dive back in time and get a look at generation one and two!

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All photos by Evan Amos via Wikimedia Commons

The Oculus Rift is the future of gaming

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Thalmic Labs released the video above on their official Youtube on Friday. The video showcases these really cool armbands they are creating that can be used with the Oculus Rift, called Myo armbands. With the armbands on, the player can control a virtual set of arms and hands in game, in first person view. From the video it looks like it makes a fantastic addition to the Oculus technology.

Photo by Nan Palmero (CC BY)

For those who don’t know, the Oculus Rift is an upcoming Virtual Reality head mounted display. I had a chance to try it out at SXSW this year. VR has come a long way since the days of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. For my Oculus experience, I got to ride an elevator to the top of the ice wall from Game of Thrones. From the top, I felt like I was thousands of feet up. And then arrows started shooting over my head. My experience ended with me being shot in the chest by one of the arrows and falling down the wall.

The graphics were amazing. The experience was fantastic! It felt like I was actually there. It was a very surreal experience. I honestly believe that the Oculus and VR gaming will definitely be a staple in the future. The tech industry has definitely taken notice. Marc Andreessen, a major tech mogul and venture capitalist, joined the board last December during Series B of venture funding.

If you want to get your hands on the Rift, there is a consumer version being made. It’s expected to be released later this year or next year, though nothing has been officially set.

I found a cool video of gamer, Jack Septiceye, testing out the Oculus with Slender the Arrival. If you want a look at what gaming on the Oculus looks like, check out the video below.

Storify: The History of Final Fantasy XV

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Screenshot from official Final Fantasy XV announcement trailer.

Final Fantasy XV was announced eight years ago. This game has been in development for at least a decade. It was originally announced alongside Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 (originally Agito XIII). Both of those games have already been released (Type-0 only in Japan). Final Fantasy XIII has had two sequels: Final Fantasy XIII-2 released in 2012 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII released this last January.

I made a post on Storify detailing the history behind Final Fantasy XV and where Square Enix hopes to take the series. Click the link below to check out my Storify post:
http://storify.com/Pyrosmania/the-history-behind-final-fantasy-xv

The awesome trailer below was released at E3 last year. It showcased new gameplay and the new battle style. It also announced the re-branding of the game from Final Fantasy Versus XIII to Final Fantasy XV. Hopefully we’ll get a release date at this year’s E3.

Kingdom Hearts official survey to help shape KH future

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Screenshot from official Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer.

Square Enix is polling users on the future of Kingdom Hearts over on the game’s official Facebook Page. The poll is about 10-15 minutes long and asks a bunch of general questions regarding things like your gaming style and how many Kingdom Hearts titles you’ve played.

Square hopes to use the survey to help shape the future of Kingdom Hearts. This is the survey description:
“This survey is designed to allow you to give feedback about what you like and want to see for the future of KINGDOM HEARTS. Please be as honest as possible and try to answer all of the questions.”

Last June at E3, Square Enix released a teaser trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 showing it was in development for the Playstation 4. Kingdom Hearts game director, Tetsuya Nomura, told Polygon in an article that the game will conclude the “Dark Seeker saga” but wont be the final game in the series. There hasn’t been much else word on Kingdom Hearts 3 or the future of the series. Perhaps though this poll is Square Enix trying to get ideas for where to take the series next after they conclude the current saga?

If you want to get in on the survey, it will be open until March 14, at 11:59 p.m. PST. You can take it here.

Ready Titanfall, PC Gamers!

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The Titanfall preload is live for PC gamers! EA is allowing those that preordered or those who buy a digital copy before launch to go ahead and preload the game. You’ll need an Origin account if you don’t already have one.

You, of course, can’t play it yet, but if you want to play immediately on Tuesday, I highly recommend you go ahead and preload. The game is a 50GB install so preloading now will definitely save you some time later.

Titanfall is set to launch this Tuesday, March 11 for the PC and Xbox One. The Xbox 360 version will come a little later this month on March 25.

I already have mine preloaded. Be ready for when the Titans drop too!

Titanfall screenshot.
Photo courtesy Microsoft via Xbox Wire Media Assets Library