E3 2017 is upon us, and once again virtual reality is a hot topic of the world's biggest gaming show. Last year we saw a range of announcements and demos, and we're already off to a great start in 2017.
Between new hardware and backing from some of the biggest developers, VR is maturing at E3 2017, and we're rounding up all the big announcements so far. We'll be attending all the big press conferences and checking out the best E3 has to offer, so keep coming back as we update this page.
Read this: The best VR headsets 2017
For now, here's what we've learned and seen so far...
Microsoft reveals its VR-ready Xbox One X
Back when Microsoft's Project Scorpio console was first teased, we were told that VR was on the cards, and Bethesda even said it would be bringing Fallout 4 to the souped-up console. Since then, the VR chat has been quiet, and while Microsoft finally revealed the Xbox One X (no longer Scorpio) at E3, it stayed quiet on VR plans. In a statement, Microsoft told us that, for right now, it thinks PCs are the best place for VR experiences. Yet, at the same time Xbox boss Phil Spencer says the Xbox One X still supports virtual reality. We're hoping Microsoft brings VR to Xbox sooner rather than later, especially with PS VR having now shifted north of a million headsets, giving Sony quite the lead in the console VR space.
Microsoft promised Mixed Reality VR on Xbox for 2018, so it still has time up its sleeve to sort this all out. Right now the company is sending mixed messages, but it has time to straighten things out.
Fallout 4 VR is out this year
Bethesda is the current frontrunner for Best VR Announcement of E3 2017, lifting the lid on not one but two fully-fleshed virtual reality titles for the HTC Vive. First up we have Fallout 4 VR, a virtual reality version of the post-apocalyptic open-world game that looks like it won't skimp on breadth or depth.
It will however replace the controller with the Vive wands, meaning you'll actually get a Pip-Boy on your virtual wrist and you'll have to move around a little differently, using either a teleportation method or by using the Vive wand touchpad controls like a D-pad. In our short time with it, we found it worked surprisingly better than expected.
And Doom is getting the VR treatment too
Second, we got a look at Doom VFR - because those gratuitous blood splattering effects aren't enough unless we actually feel like it's running down our faces. There's no release date on this one but we know it will be this year, and as well as the Vive it'll be hitting the PS VR.
While Fallout 4 VR gives you the option of using either a teleportation locomotion or using the touchpad to move like a traditional controller, Doom uses a combination of the two, which is more suited to the fast-paced action. It's also a different story campaign to the one we played on the console version, but sadly there's no multiplayer, at least for the time being.
Intel makes its eSports play
We know eSports and VR are finding a match, and at E3 Intel announced a partnership with the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and Oculus for an eSports league dedicated to VR. The VR Challenger League will include two games, The Unspoken and a multiplayer mode to Lone Echo, both of which were made for competitive gaming. There'll be a $200,000 prize pool, with the finals taking place at the Intel Extreme Masters in 2018.
It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. The eSports scene is accelerating fast but it's still early days for VR, which is still working through various technological teething problems, so whether it's ready for eSports adoption remains to be seen.
Skyrim comes to PS VR
Fallout 4 and Doom weren't the only Bethesda title getting a VR makeover. At Sony's press conference it revealed that Skyrim will be coming to PS VR, and given the game's sustaining popularity we reckon this one is going to be a hit. It'll be out this November and include all of the previous Skyrim add-ons.
We have plenty of questions, like how will we actually move around? This is a vast open-world exploration game, remember, though we presume it'll be using the same mechanic as Fallout 4 VR. This also marks two big Bethesda games on Sony's headset, as Doom VFR will also make its way across. Sadly, it looks like Fallout 4 will be Vive only. But hey, Skyrim!
PS VR gets games, games, games
As we predicted, Sony went big on VR at E3. In fact, it dedicated a fairly good chunk of the press conference to show off a varying range of new VR titles beyond Skyrim. Most intriguing was The Inpatient, a first-person horror game from Until Dawn: Rush of Blood studio Supermassive Games. Star Child is a sci-fi side-scroller about a boy and a giant but friendly robot, while Bravo Team is a shooter that we'd bet will support the new PS VR Aim controller. There was also a game about a sword-wielding mouse (told you it was diverse) called Moss, which looks strangely calming, while Final Fantasy: Monsters of the Deep brings a new, erm, fishing element to the RPG. It's not clear if this will include the shooting mini-game we'd previously seen.
Overall, it was a solid showing from Sony that reaffirmed its commitment to virtual reality. Just as well, as those PS VR headsets are selling quite nicely...
Mario Kart in VR
Bandai Namco took E3 to announce a new VR push in the arcade space, and while the arcade stalwart pushing VR is one thing, the more surprising bit is who they're partnering with. They've received Nintendo's blessing to bring Mario Kart GP to arcades in VR form. That's right, you'll get to toss shells and slip on bananas in the full immersion of virtual reality. These VR arcades will open in Japan with 15 other VR experiences. The Mario Kart experience specifically will be powered by HTC Vive and feature seated motion platforms.
Superhot is coming to PS VR
One of our favorite virtual reality games, Superhot, will hit the PS VR this summer, meaning it will be officially supported across the big three headsets. The game uses a unique mechanic where time only moves when you do, making for some pretty badass bullet-dodging moments.
Intel's wireless HTC Vive is a winner
Having revealed its wireless HTC Vive adapter at Computex, Intel was at E3 giving a few demos to the press. We went along and now partly regret doing so, because going back to wires is going to suck. Head over and read our full impressions of Intel's DisplayLink tech, which we're hoping will be available to buy as an add-on for the Vive before the year is out.
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