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UK VR Hydrotherapy Centre Seeks Crowdfunding Support to Continue Special Needs Care



The pandemic has been a boon for some areas of the XR industry and disastrous for others. Whilst there’s increased interest in virtual reality (VR), especially where remote collaboration is concerned, location-based entertainment (LBE) venues and other in-person locations have had no choice but to shutter. Some have been able to bounce back, others haven’t been so lucky. VR Therapies falls into the latter bracket, a multisensory VR centre for children with special needs and adults with disabilities that’s currently running a crowdfunding campaign to stay open.

VR Therapies

Based in Northampton, UK, VR Therapies is the brainchild of ex-learning disabilities nurse Rebecca Gill who founded the innovative enterprise back in 2018. Built to provide a range of therapies such as taking those too poorly to walk swimming with dolphins, allowing people with dementia to wander down memory lane, alleviating anxiety or simply enabling someone to head to a bucket list location somewhere in the world; all that work in now in jeopardy.

VR Therapies features a lot of specialist equipment designed in-house so that its VR experiences are fully accessible and inclusive to those that need them.

Explaining the scale of the problem on the Crowdfunder website, Gill says: “After securing financing, premises, equipment and renovating the centre we were locked down! Staff couldn’t work and we couldn’t open. With no income, bills and debts started to pile up. From the landlord to suppliers, utilities and providers, banks and funders, they all wanted payment. Nearly 2 years of bills and debt built up while we were locked down.

“We weren’t eligible for government support as we hadn’t even opened yet and banks refused to give us a loan as we couldn’t yet demonstrate “profitability”. Now we have no money left to open. We will no longer be able to help people with VR therapy and very soon we’ll be forced to go bankrupt.”

VR Therapies

Those that are interested in supporting VR Therapies can donate any amount they like but there are special reward tiers on the Crowdfunder website. These start from £15 GBP, entering you into a raffle to win a 25% discount off any therapy session. Increase that to £20 and you could enter a competition to win an Oculus Quest 2! Or for those feeling generous who want to see it all, the £250 tier gives you two hours of unlimited use of the entire centre, great for a VR party.

This does all hinge on VR Therapies raising the required £15,000 to stay open, of which it has managed to raise just over £4k so far.

While VR hydrotherapy is very unique, there have been numerous use cases of VR used for mental and physical therapies. Oxford VR raised millions towards developing immersive therapies, while Rendever has built a platform around helping seniors overcome social isolation.

Hopefully, VR Therapies’ fundraiser will meet with success. For continued updates on the latest XR healthcare developments, keep reading VRFocus.

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Build Your Own Spacefolk City on Oculus Quest This Week



Indie developer Moon Mode in conjunction with publisher Beyond Frames revealed colourful city builder Spacefolk City back in August for Oculus Quest and PC VR headsets. This week, It has been confirmed that Spacefolk City will see an initial for Oculus Quest this Thursday, with the Steam release to follow at a later date.

Spacefolk City

The single-player title is set to offer a quirky take on the traditional city building experience. Taking place entirely in space, you’ll have the freedom to construct your floating city however you wish, creating some unusual urban layouts in the process. As you’re not limited to a flat surface, you can build up or down as you see fit, just making sure everything’s connected so that inhabitants can navigate your undulating cityscape.

Like any city builder, you’ll need to encourage new residents whilst ensuring their interests and requirements are met. From building them houses to useful establishments to frequent, as you can see from the screenshot there’s a definite food theme to some of the aesthetics. This is key to making inhabitants happy, as their body type indicates their interests. A happy community means they’ll be productive and efficient, helping you further build out the growing metropolis.

Alongside all the core buildings, you’ll also be able to decorate your space city to give it that homely feel. Drop in some lighting, foliage and more, making the whole place vibrant and alive. To help keep that motivation pumping, Spacefolk City will feature a funky soundtrack of more than 20 songs influenced by late-70s electro-disco and early-80s electro-pop.

Spacefolk City

Spacefolk City even has its own backstory with Moon Mode’s synopsis explaining: “The Spacefolk are in trouble! Their sun is going supernova, and they need your help to build up their city and find a way to escape the impending solar disaster!”

Moon Mode has confirmed that Spacefolk City’s Oculus Quest launch will take place on 21st October, retailing for $24.99 USD. A Steam page currently lists the PC VR release for November. For continued updates, keep reading VRFocus.

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The 20 Best Rated & Most Popular Quest Games & Apps – October 2021



While Oculus doesn’t offer much publicly in the way of understanding how well individual apps are performing across its VR storefronts, it’s possible to glean some insight by looking at apps relative to each other. Here’s a snapshot of the top 20 Oculus Quest games and apps as of October 2021.

Some quick qualifications before we get to the data:

  • Paid and free apps are separated
  • Only apps with more than 100 reviews are represented
  • App Lab apps are not represented
  • Rounded ratings may appear to show ‘ties’ in ratings for some applications, but the ranked order remains correct

Best Rated Paid Oculus Quest Apps

The rating of each application is an aggregate of user reviews and a useful way to understand the general reception of each title by customers.

Rank Name Rating (# of ratings) Rank Change Price
#1 Puzzling Places 4.93 (515) $15
#2 The Room VR: A Dark Matter 4.89 (8,024) $30
#3 I Expect You To Die 2 4.88 (1,070) $25
#4 Walkabout Mini Golf 4.86 (3,760) $15
#5 Swarm 4.82 (1,237) $25
#6 Moss 4.82 (4,987) $30
#7 YUKI 4.81 (144) $20
#8 Cubism 4.81 (477) ↑ 1 $10
#9 I Expect You To Die 4.81 (3,844) ↓ 1 $25
#10 The Thrill of the Fight 4.79 (6,241) $10
#11 Pistol Whip 4.77 (7,424) ↑ 1 $30
#12 GORN 4.77 (5,115) ↓ 1 $20
#13 Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted 4.77 (6,260) $30
#14 ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos 4.76 (908) $40
#15 In Death: Unchained 4.74 (3,044) $30
#16 Trover Saves the Universe 4.74 (1,757) $30
#17 Yupitergrad 4.73 (406) $15
#18 Racket: Nx 4.72 (1,543) $20
#19 SUPERHOT VR 4.72 (13,708) $25
#20 Job Simulator 4.72 (8,188) $20

Rank change & stats compared to September 2021


  • Among the 20 best rated Quest apps
    • Average rating (mean): 4.8 out of 5 (±0)
    • Average price (mean): $23 (±$0)
    • Most common price (mode): $30 (±$0)
  • Among all paid Quest apps
    • Average rating (mean): 4.3 out of 5 (±0)
    • Average price (mean): $19 (±0)
    • Most common price (mode): $20 (±$0)

Continue on Page 2: Most Popular Paid Oculus Quest Apps »

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Sony Reveals Top 5 Most Played PSVR Games Ever



It’s been five years since Sony released PlayStation VR on PS4 consoles, and to commemorate the anniversary its creators have released the top five most-played PSVR games to date.

Unlike its monthly top-download list, Sony has stacked up all of its 500+ games on the store and ranked them according to playtime hours, showing us just where most people have been spending their time on the now five year-old headset.

Here’s the global list, although you’ll also find regional breakdowns below:

Most-Played PSVR Games (Global)

  • Rec Room (2017)
  • Beat Saber (2018)
  • PlayStation VR Worlds (2016)
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (2017)
  • Resident Evil 7 biohazard (2017)

Unsurprisingly at the top of the global list is Rec Room, which launched on PSVR back in late 2017. The social VR platform is free, and includes a host of mini-games which rival some of the bespoke paid content on the store.

The cross-platform game is also constantly evolving thanks to the inclusion of user-generated content, new first-party content like the Mario Kart-style Rec Rally mini-game all of which shares common usership across desktop, PCVR, console (Xbox and PS), and mobile devices running Android and iOS.

Rec Room seems to have done well across Europe and North America, although it didn’t make the list in Japan. Here’s the regional breakdowns.

  • Europe: Rec Room, PlayStation VR Worlds, Beat Saber, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim VR, Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • North America: Rec Room, Beat Saber, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, Job Simulator, Firewall: Zero Hour
  • Japan: Resident Evil 7 biohazard, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, PlayStation VR Worlds, Beat Saber, Gran Turismo Sport

There’s still no word on when the next PlayStation VR headset is coming; Sony has said previously the headset won’t launch until ‘sometime after 2021’. Maybe there’s a barn-burner sale coming this Holiday Season to help wipe out stock before the company makes a commitment to show off the new hardware?

Although just a rumor at this point, the next-gen hardware is reportedly packing some pretty impressive specs like eye-tracking, inside-out positional tracking, and resolutions reported to be 2,000 × 2,040 pixels per-eye. Bear in mind that none of that’s substantiated, so we’ll just have to wait and see when Sony decides the time is right.

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Can Snap Mainstream AR Marketing?



AR Insider

Immersive ad formats like AR continue to hold promise, though they’re mostly still in early adopter phases among brand marketers. We’re talking about ad formats that utilize the camera (Gen-Z friendly) to offer 3D interactivity, such as virtually trying on shoes or shades of lipstick.

This includes social lenses (the most popular format to date) and visual search. For the latter, Google is pioneering a “search what you see” use case to point your phone at objects to contextualize or shop for them. And as we examined earlier this week, Pinterest isn’t far behind.

But the king of consumer AR is Snap. Not only has it popularized AR lenses by having them piggyback on media/selfie sharing, but it’s monetized that traction. In fact, Snap explicitly attributes AR lenses as its growth engine during the past few years of ad revenue acceleration.

It turns out that the same qualities that make lenses viral also create favorable performance in their sponsored instances. Products shown in greater visual dimension have higher conversion rates and lower eCommerce returns on average than non-immersive benchmarks.

To double down on all of these principles, Snap recently launched the AR Lab with ad agency giant WPP. The program will set advertisers on the right foot with onboarding tools, educational materials and development resources. This will ease those first adoptive steps for brands.

Breaking it down further, the AR Lab offers custom strategy guides with best practices for successful AR lens campaigns (think: how to convert lens interactions to eCommerce purchases). It also offers optimization scorecards to track campaign effectiveness in real-time.

Lastly, the AR Lab will establish an AR certification program that aims to enroll 1,000 WPP employees this year. This could accelerate brand adoption as their agency representatives will be equipped to translate their campaign goals to the benefits and best practices of AR lenses.

Stepping back, the idea is generally to continue growing lenses past the early-adopter brands noted earlier. The beauty of lenses for Snap isn’t just growth so far….but the market headroom still to come. Most advertisers haven’t yet experienced the benefits of these immersive formats.

Why is that? Some advertisers aren’t convinced, some need more education, and others are simply stuck in their ways….as it often goes with the habit-bound Madison Avenue. So the AR Lab is Snap’s way of reaching these uninitiated and unconverted brands. And WPP is its bridge.

So if Snapchat is building a bridge to a larger market of lens advertisers, who are those companies specifically? Current AR marketers span verticals but skew towards fashion and entertainment. They include hip and tech-forward brands like Gucci, Nike and Sony Pictures.

So if there’s growth to be had in AR advertising it could come from going deeper in these verticals as well as reaching new verticals. The latter could include AR-conducive product categories like food and travel. And it could involve moving down market to small businesses.

AR’s ability to create favorable brand engagement is also evident in hard goods, given the ability to visualize products remotely before buying. This makes AR primed for retail and eCommerce, especially in the Covid era when additional product dimension is valued.

But there’s a value chain that still needs to be developed in order for adoption friction to recede among brands. For example, making one’s products render properly in AR requires 3D digital assets — either existing CAD designs or 3D scans that need to be made.

These processes continue to get democratized by companies like CG Trader and VNTANA, which will chip away at the adoption inertia seen in the brand advertising world. Tech giants like Snap will likewise accelerate this process as they continue to double down on AR.

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