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How 5G is turning cloud gaming into growth opportunities

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“With shorter latency times, less jitter, and less packet loss in mobile gaming, 5G brings the ability for true cloud gaming services to become more of a reality by bringing the world closer together,” said Tim Guhl, vice president of sales at Singtel.

Guhl was in conversation with Lisa Hanson, founder and president of Niko Partners, during the 12th annual GamesBeat Summit. This year, the summit’s theme is “Growing the next generation,” and Guhl explored how 5G is permanently cutting the cord, changing the world of gaming, with the potential to become a key integrator in allowing true augmented reality in game systems, cloud gaming, and more.

The average network in the U.S. is 4G, and most people with internet average about 30 to 35 megabits. Additionally, cell phone towers support about 30 to 40 simultaneous connections at any given time.

In the switch to 5G, the average speed jumps to about 70-80 megabits, more than double the speed, and the towers will be able to support about a million devices per square kilometer, or about one third of a square mile.

“Wide area networks and the need for routers in our homes, for routers, will go away, and SIM cards to connect devices to the mobility network will become standard in laptops and TVs, not just cell phones and tablets,” Guhl added.

Singtel, which has about 706 million wireless customers around the world, has been able to observe case studies across the globe. The most interesting case study is Singapore-specific, he said. Implementing new technology is far easier in Singapore than in the U.S. because of its small size, and as a result, 5G technology is completely rolled out in there.

“Singapore specifically is a fantastic place to look to see where the U.S. can be in roughly five to seven years in the future,” Guhl says.

There’s been major growth around the internet of things, he says, with average consumers owning upwards of five to eight mobile connected devices. In the realm of gaming, that means the number of devices that can connect directly to the network has surged, from smart watches to AR glasses, cutting the cord completely and bringing 3D gaming that much closer.

5G will also have a tremendous impact on esports, where milliseconds can make a difference between living or dying, winning or not winning the first-place purse, which continues to grow. How do you control latency and play conditions with teams separated by wide distances, especially when cloud gaming performance depends so much on geography.

“Geography impacts the ability to have a seamless, real-time event,” he said. “5G is among the advancements in making sure that latency, no matter the distance, is getting better, especially for mobile game platforms like PUBG and others that are purely for mobile devices.”

Content providers are starting to use cache servers in order to implement cloud gaming, setting up multiple servers in a geographic region. The gamer pings the one that’s closest, so the edge comes to them. Being able to set up multiple points of presence in a single region is quite capital-intensive; to make this a more practical strategy will require additional technology advancements. Those advancements, such as quantum communications, where distance no longer matters, are closer than most people realize, Guhl says.

“In the next decade we’re going to see some significant advancements that will allow cloud computing and cloud gaming to become more mainstream opportunities for end users and the companies involved,” he said.

Singtel is currently working with gaming content companies, such as Riot Games and Ubisoft, to penetrate the highly populated, very lucrative Asia Pacific market to grow their base of end users.

“We’re working on what’s considered a general, nebulous term — the internet of things — in order to make this happen,” he says. “It’s a purely connected reality, where there are multiple connections, including in the gaming industry with the actual hardware, and the actual games.”

The conversations they’re having, about the current technologies that will work best, and the next-gen technology to prepare for, are advancing the industry throughout the Asia Pacific region, he added.

“We’re helping the video game community become a much larger and more inclusive place, throughout the region and throughout the world,” he said.

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Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/04/29/how-5g-is-turning-cloud-gaming-into-growth-opportunities/

AR/VR

Review: Zero Caliber: Reloaded

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All these online, multiplayer-focused military shooters are all well and good but sometimes you just want a nice single-player campaign to delve into. XREAL Games has provided PC VR players with this outlet for several years now thanks to Zero Caliber, a realistic first-person shooter (FPS) with obsessive attention to weapon detail. Now it’s Oculus Quest’s turn with Zero Caliber: Reloaded, rebuilt from the ground up for the standalone platform.

Zero Caliber: Reloaded

Now we say single-player but Zero Caliber: Reloaded does in fact offer a co-op multiplayer experience for up to four people, so you can bring some mates along. You’ll still be playing the same 20+ mission campaign but at least you can have a laugh with friends, appreciating some of the videogames’ finer and rougher moments.

XREAL Games presents a fairly run-of-the-mill story-driven campaign where you’re dropped into a war-torn, dystopian America fighting a bunch of bad guys. While the narrative won’t exactly keep you gripped until the end – there didn’t seem to be much point in paying attention to it – Zero Caliber: Reloaded’s main draw is its gun handling, loadout customisation options and almost fetishistic attention to detail when it comes to the armaments.

Whether you’re playing solo or with friends completing missions quickly and with high accuracy will award you cash to spend on your kit whilst advancing your character level to unlock new goodies. And there’s an absolutely huge selection of kit to play with, maybe too much. You can head into missions with two weapons, with the usual array of rifles, SMG’s, shotguns, and pistols to play with. Then there’s are the bewildering array of attachments; stocks, extended mags, sights, and grips, you name it it’s probably there.

Zero Caliber: Reloaded

Such is the amount that you’ll want to come back to the main hub every couple of missions to examine what you’ve got to further improve your chances on the next level. The attention to weapon detail isn’t purely visual either – although that’s definitely where a lot of time has been spent – as every gun excels when it comes to handling. Choose to fire one-handed and you’ll notice the recoil, so the mechanics do lean towards a more measured approach rather than running and gunning. It’s helpful stepping into the firing range after unlocking a new gun, learning where the mags/shells go and how to cock the damn thing, as each one is accurately modelled on its real-life counterpart.  

The same goes for the grenades. In fact, unlike some VR titles where grenade throwing feels like an element of luck is involved, in Zero Caliber: Reloaded each throw always landed fairly on point. Plus, being able to pull a pin with your teeth is always fun and immersive.  

Another great feature is the ability to hot-swap attachments in the field. Levels will contain the occasional weapon cache, usually containing a gun or two or maybe the odd extra. Find a new (better) gun for the situation and you can quickly and easily take any of the attachments off your previous weapon rather than losing them. If you die then you’ll reset back to your original loadout of course.

Zero Caliber: Reloaded

Big plus points where the guns are concerned, so it’s a shame that that attention to detail doesn’t come across in every other aspect. Zero Caliber: Reloaded isn’t exactly the best looking VR title when it comes to environments and NPC’s even considering the hardware it’s running on. Outside suffers the most, with some dodgy-looking foliage popping up, while inside buildings or more urban locations do fair a bit better.

And then there are the enemies. Variety and brains seem to be missing here as a bunch of shirtless dudes suddenly react in baffling ways. The AI veers widely from reasonably smart to idiotic. Some will start behind or head to cover taking pot shots then suddenly charge like they’re in a Serious Sam game. Others just stand there in the middle of the road. Get up close and they’ll do a roll for no advantage whatsoever, these are the ‘shotgun morons’ as once they stand up you can have a shotty already in their face.

Zero Caliber: Reloaded also presents other issues. There are definitely still glitches to iron out, enemies get stuck or clip through cover or a padlock on a door appears 5x the size, almost comedic in its dimensions. And then there’s the weapon belt, body inventory. In these types of VR videogames, it’s always nice when there’s no HUD, everything is on you and easy to grab. Yet in Zero Caliber: Reloaded it all felt a foot too far forward, with seemingly no way of adjusting the distance. This meant that when a gun had the grip attachment on, the handle would be in among the floating grenades. Or worse, if a gun has a cocking arm at the front then the grenades were in the way again.  At the same time, the ‘weapon belt’ isn’t on your hips which gave a less than realistic feel to grabbing a new mag.

Zero Caliber: Reloaded

That’s not to say there weren’t enjoyable moments in Zero Caliber: Reloaded. Once you got a nicely tailored setup then dropping into a mission, kneeling behind over and taking some well-aimed headshots was very satisfying. Solo, the missions can get a bit simple and repetitive, clearing your way through an area or defending it, so having a few teammates can liven things up. Missions can last anywhere between 5-15 minutes and there are a few which have you backtracking to extend their duration.

Zero Caliber: Reloaded for Oculus Quest is a very mixed experience. On the one hand, the weapons are great and you could easily spend hours in the shooting range mixing and matching components. The 4-5 hour campaign is ok until you get further in and notice some of the glaring issues and glitches like the AI or the rather bland design choices. Best played on the hardest difficulty setting for any real challenge, Zero Caliber: Reloaded gets enough right to be worth a look, but only just.

60% Awesome

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/05/review-zero-caliber-reloaded/

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AR/VR

Population: One’s Wild West Season 2 Arrives Today, Bureau Gold Code Inside

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It’s finally time for Population: One fans to get their hands on BigBox VR’s next update for the popular battle royale shooter. As revealed last week, Season 2 will introduce a limited time Wild West element to Population: One, with a new environment, weapon and other features to expand upon the fast and fun gameplay.

Population: One Season 2

Population: One – Season 2: The Frontier will be available for 10 weeks, with one portion of the map turned into a western frontier town. It’ll feature its own saloon, and dusty streets to fight in. Players will be able to take advantage of explosive barrels to take down opponents, breakable barrels with goodies inside, and plenty of buildings and rock formations to gain the high ground advantage.

Then there are the new items. First up are the Matadors, two small shotguns with 8 shell capacities and a very fast flick reload mechanic. Great for close-up combat, because they are dual wield you won’t have a free hand to climb anything; awesome firepower or environment flexibility, it’s your choice. Players will also find the new Harmonica very useful being able to play a catchy tune to recharge other squad members’ shields. Or there’s always the new Shield Shaker which needs to be shaken and charged for a full shield recharge.

BigBox VR isn’t stopping there either. The map now supports 24 players for even more carnage, there are new Titles, Sprays, and Calling Cards, plus the custom game beta is being rolled out. Players can create their own private rooms to host their own matches with a massive amount of gameplay customisation options at their finger tips, choosing which weapons can be used, the zone speed, and much more.

Population: One Season 2

Oh yeah, one last teasing detail the studio has revealed; Population: One – Season 2 will see the introduction of a Deathmatch Mode. It isn’t saying anymore at the moment with further details to come.

Everything mentioned will be available as free content. Players can also purchase to optional Battle Pass for $4.99 USD that unlocks exclusive themed content and rewards such as new characters and new legendary gun skins. 

While Population: One has garnered plenty of VR fans since its launch last year if you’re really new to the videogame then VRFocus has a special offer for you. Using coupon code: ‘VRFOCUS’ anyone that’s purchased Population: One within the last seven days can claim 750 Bureau Gold (worth $10!) to buy new skins and other items in the shop. The code is valid between 13th – 27th May 2021 (12 am PST). For help redeeming the code here’s BigBix VR’s guide.  

Population: One – Season 2: The Frontier is available today for Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. For continued updates to the battle royale title keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/05/population-ones-wild-west-season-2-arrives-today-bureau-gold-code-inside/

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AR/VR

A Rogue Escape Surfaces in June for PC VR

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Back in November Spare Parts Oasis and Armor Games Studios announced A Rogue Escape, a virtual reality (VR) escape room experience based on Oasis’ first title Nauticrawl. Today, the teams have released a new trailer for A Rogue Escape, confirming an Oculus and Steam store launch will take place in June.

A Rogue Escape takes place inside a giant underwater mech called a Nauticrawl. You’ve stolen this giant machine in a bid for freedom, there’s just one small problem; you’ve never piloted one and its filled with all manner of levers and switches. So the gameplay is very hands-on, finding out what systems work and how those that don’t can be hacked.

The mech is split into five control areas, each with its own set of systems to manage. You’re not left to blindly stumble around the controls, however, as clues have been left by previous pilots. Whilst these will give you a starting point the rest is left up to you and your wits.

“With A Rogue Escape, I got the rare opportunity to realize my childhood dream of what it would really feel like to be inside a mysterious machine, surrounded by buttons and levers to experiment with, while danger lurks outside of the riveted metallic walls!” said Spare Parts Oasis’ Andrea Interguglielmi in a statement. “Combining an escape room with dungeon crawling and cockpit simulation was a daring concept back when I did this on PC with my previous title Nauticrawl, but somehow it feels right at home with a headset on and a fully immersive and tactile environment to experience. I just feel truly excited to share this unique adventure with all VR players willing to be challenged by this colossal machine!”

To help finesse the gameplay for VR headsets Spare Parts Oasis worked with Sylphe Labs – which created Steel Alive for Gear VR – to ensure the interior offered a suitable area, whether players are seated or standing.

Supporting Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index, A Rogue Escape will launch on 10th June 2021. Check out the new trailer below and for further updates, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/a-rogue-escape-surfaces-in-june-for-pc-vr-609d345989225415087f58e5?s=rss

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Gadgeteer Launches May 25 For PSVR

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Metanaut announced that Gadgeteer will release May 25 for PSVR.

Gadgeteer is already available for PC VR and Oculus Quest and was still in Early Access up until August last year.

It was revealed last December that Gadgeteer would be coming to PSVR in Q1 2021. It’s slightly missed that first-quarter window, but it’s not long to wait now – there are less than two weeks until PSVR players can go virtual hands-on VR’s best Rube Goldberg machine simulator.

Metanaut confirmed on Reddit that it would cost $14.99 on PSVR and support both DualShock 4 and Move controllers as input methods.

Gadgeteer is the ultimate Rube Goldberg machine simulator, allowing you to create some truly crazy contraptions in VR. It has a full campaign and a sandbox mode, both of which involve creating and solving puzzles using marbles, dominoes, wooden blocks and various other gadgets. The campaign takes you through the basics and teaches you the mechanics, but the sandbox mode is where you take what you’ve learned and really unleash your creative potential.

There’s also online level sharing available, which means that after you’ve finished the campaign and messed around in sandbox mode, there’ll be plenty more content to go through. You can create your own puzzles and upload them for others to complete, or browse the vast library of existing creations from other users.

Gadgeteer is available now for PC VR and Oculus Quest. It launches May 25 on the PlayStation Store for PSVR for $14.99, compatible with both PS4 and PS5 consoles. To read more about how to connect your PSVR to a PS5 console, check out our guide.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/gadgeteer-launches-may-25-for-psvr-609d2ebeee3b1e340662a7ba?s=rss

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