The Vive Focus just got its North American and European enterprise release on November 11th. Vive also announced the reveal of the accompanying software development kit for studios and developers to begin creating Vive Wave content for a release on Viveport.
The new standalone is projected to make waves among fitness, health, and entertainment ventures. It’s also seeing expected to be a fresh opportunity for large-scale and indie studios aiming to influence how we stay active with VR.
Vive Focus Goes from 3DoF to 6DoF
The Vive Focus is an all-in-one headset without twisty cords and wires tethering its wearer to a powerful PC computer or laptop. Equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile VR Platform, it’s strong enough to run games without a PC and makes the Focus a low barrier powerhouse for businesses looking to break into VR fitness and entertainment.
Originally, the Vive Focus came with a single 3DoF controller for users to point and click their way through virtual experiences. That wasn’t very action-intense. It gets players where they needed to go but doesn’t have the two-handed interaction and immersion that the Vive Wands offered the Vive and Vive Pro. That’s when Vive announced their newest 6DoF controllers.
Instead of a one-handed point and click experience, studios, ventures, and guests will now have more freedom to interact with their virtual environment using six degrees of movement. Wearers will also get full hand and finger tracking from the Focus’ front-facing camera system, essentially making it controller and hands-free optional.
Active Gaming and Fitness with Vive Focus
The wireless and even controller-less advantage imply less finagling and set up time, which also means more up time for guests to experience a new way of active virtual gaming. It’s been reported by Road to VR that the Vive Focus “will be able to wirelessly stream PC VR content from both Steam and Viveport over a 5GHz WiFi Connection.”
So, there’s a better than good chance that arcades, gyms, and VR-centric businesses that roll out the Vive Focus for their guests will also offer popular fitness titles to play as well. Currently, Modal’s PING!, a lateral movement game that’s a virtual version of Atari’s Pong game, and Beat Games’ Beat Saber, a super active cube slicing game that’s as physically intense as tennis, can be played with the Vive Focus.
Watch Skarredghost play Beat Saber with the Vive Focus 6DoF controllers:
In the article that demonstrated Beat Saber’s compatibility with the Vive Focus at MWCS, Alvin Wang Graylin, China President at HTC gave a statement. He says, “With all the innovations we demonstrated around the tight integration of smartphones, PCs and VR/AR devices here at the MWCS, clearly availability of compelling content for VR devices is no longer an issue.”
Further stating, “We are getting yet another step closer to a future where our daily lives will be dramatically improved by immersive technologies.” HTC’s new standalone and Vive Wave SDK is going to make running VR ventures that are also active and great for fitness a smoother experience overall.
It’s expected that more games will emerge from Vive Wave SDK software and application creation, which opened up to developers in November. With forward-facing cameras, will leading fitness games like BOX VR, Hot Squat, and Space Pirate Trainer make the jump over to the Vive Wave SDK too?
Surely the lateral movement of PING! and the lightning-fast movement of Beat Saber is proof that the Vive Focus can handle more than point and click. If its “world scale”, inside-out tracking, and 6DoF controllers can handle those two games, it has the power to handle tennis, boxing, climbing, archery, meditation, and more types of games and experiences than it lets on.
World Scale and Inside-Out Tracking for VR
Road to VR’s Ben Lang reported that a game by Sixer VR called Return to Grindelind used the Vive Focus “world scale” in a space as large as a football field. This large-scale inside out tracking is proof of the massive play space available to developers, studios, and location-based entertainment venues that want to give their players or guests a larger area to move around in.
Will fitness machine companies like Black Box or Holodia create compatible content for Vive Focus? Their VR content is customized for maximum fitness benefit and would be a great addition to the Vive Focus. Although the Vive and Vive Pro are made wireless with an adapter, imagine what it’d be like to for guests to wear a wireless headset during resistance training and a PC-less rowing or cycling experience.
Getting studios and fitness companies on board to start converting their games over to the Vive Focus is a good idea for ventures looking to keep ahead of the technological curve. With the competing Oculus Quest headset being released in Spring 2019, Vive will want to jump on revealing more content uses so companies and game studios can know the full scope of what the Vive Focus can handle.
Will your company or studio be using the Vive Focus to create or host content? Let us know about it down in the comments or tag us on social media!