All posts by The OGR

Plex Officially Will Not Develop An App for Any VR Platform

I Want My Plex.tv

In what is either a terrible decision, misprioritization, or submitting to strong arming by entertainment industry pressure (Paramount/Big Screen/Facebook – who knows we are speculating) popular streaming and meta-aggregation service Plex.tv has stated officially, via its forums, in response to a growing demand for Quest support, that is NOT developing the app for ANY VR platform now or in the foreseeable future.

Plex answer on VR

This, from a financial or marketing perspective obviously makes no sense, since the Oculus Quest tetherless VR headset has been selling out as fast as Facebook can produce it. Plex allows users to bring in their own copies of TV and Film titles and then compares them to various databases to assign their metadata, cover art and even audio theme songs to let them essentially make their own private OTT Netflix-style media server.

plex-ui-uno-apple-tv-alt-xmas-800x450

In what is most definitely a too-good-to-be-true product, this can certainly lead to murky licensing and copyright territory. Nonetheless, recently Plex has introduced ad-supported official licensing deals for many film and TV shows, free to users of the product, and will likely be launching an a la carte storefront in the near future.

At first users were up in arms that Plex was losing its soul, selling out to the man, selling them short and turning into yet another iTunes wannabe. But Plex went to great marketing lengths to reassure its userbase that this was not the case.

So why would Plex, which is a perfect and much needed solution for streaming personal videos to an HMD, with a functional product already on the now slightly antiquated Oculus Go, not want to hop on the Quest train? You probably don’t have to think too hard to figure it out.

For now we have to deal with the limited, canned and expensive rental content on Bigscreen’s official Paramount licensing deal. You CAN also use Bigscreen to stream your desktop content, but it isn’t the same as what Plex offers; a beautifully organized gallery of custom personal content, perhaps backups of your DVD collection, or favorite recorded TV shows, or best of all 3D movies, that looks and sounds great in a VR virtual movie theater.

Too bad for us, too bad for VR. too bad for cineastes who want to watch something other that what the commercial deals allow, be they classics, indies, mondo cult films, training videos, hard to get stereoscopic content or otherwise.

OGR’s Top 5 Favorite Experiences for Oculus Quest 2020 (You Might Not Expect)

Each of these titles was chosen for its particular excellence for being expressive and benefiting from the Quest’s tetherless and dynamic form factor. Being able to quickly move between areas of your apartment or house or soccer field to punch, fish, groove or get strange enhances the value of these excellent Virtual Reality works.

In no particular order:

Real VR Fishing

Developer: MIRAGESOFT, Inc.
Publisher: MIRAGESOFT, Inc.
Website: https://www.realvrfishing.com
Release Date: September 12, 2019

This little gem came seemingly out of nowhere but has quickly won over not only our hearts but those of the Internet. Based out of South Korea, Miragesoft has filmed various locations around their country with high resolution 360 video that they then mapped over a 3D mesh and enhanced with various digital add-ons, flocks of birds, weather and lighting.

You can also use your own custom music library, which it plays through a built-in player that lets you shuffle, repeat or manually select tracks.

Furthermore, many varied and photo-realistic fish you catch can be added to a huge aquarium in your lodge, so you can enjoy them all together. Various unlockable upgrades to your fishing gear, aquarium, and home base can be added through your hard work out on the lake.

Constant updates are being added, most recently a complete saltwater fish update, with multiplayer promised by Q2 of 2020. Oh yeah, and did we mention the fishing physics are great? Seasoned fishermen have given the game their seal of approval, particularly in an advanced mode that doesn’t use color cues but only nuanced haptics and your rod, tackle and line. An amazing and transportive experience.

The Under Presents

Developer: Tender Claws
Publisher: Tender Claws
Website: https://tenderclaws.com/
Release Date: November 19, 2019

Tender Claws established themselves early on as one of the main VR developers to watch and moreover have helped to advanced the very nature and quality of the medium with their postmodern narrative efforts via Virtual Virtual Reality. and now The Under Presents.

Using a terrific warpy-world pulling locomotion mechanic, dioramas, time-delayed self-cloning and all sorts of other tricks of the trade, The Under Presents is a haunting, hilarious, imaginative, deep and puzzling romp through wonderfully creative scenarios tied together by a plot that would make Italo Calvino proud. An essential if sometimes flummoxing VR experience.

Wander

Developer: Parkline Interactive, LLC
Publisher: Parkline Interactive, LLC
Website: http://www.parklineinteractive.com/
Release Date: May 21, 2019

Wander fills the very important gap for Quest left by the absence of Google Earth VR. It allows you to travel very smoothly through many awe-inspiring locations around the world, bookmark them, search them using voice or keyboard and learn a few fun facts along the way.

Far from as comprehensive as Google Earth but a rich and inspiring experience nonetheless, this is a beautiful thing to share with others, or just wander through alone, investigating many places you may never personally get to in your own life…or that may not be here much longer.

Dance Central

Developer: Harmonix Music Systems, Inc.
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Website: http://www.dancecentral.com/
Release Date: May 21, 2019

This port of the original console game from the makers of Rock Band is a perfect pairing for the tetherless and nimble Oculus Quest. While we do recommend getting one of the various aftermarket head-strap add-ons that better balance the weight of the headset, Dance Central will give you the fun of going to your own nightclub where you will make new friends and learn or practice some pretty great hip-hop moves.

The app also has a calorie tracker and pretty banging – although decidedly short – catalog of songs, which does include tracks from Cardi B, Flo Rida, Psy, Ellie Goulding, Salt-N-Pepa, Young MC, Chainsmokers and Chvrches. Unfortunately, it seems they do not have any new DLCs planned, and the forum link for song requests is broken at their support page, but this is by far one of our favorite little corners to hang out – and sweat it – out in VR.

Box VR

Developer: FitXR
Publisher: FitXR
Website: http://www.fitxr.com/
Release Date: May 21, 2019

If you want a workout you will feel in the morning and not just swing like a lunatic at your opponents – like in some boxing VR games – this one uses extremely precise movement to register your jabs, dodges, crosses and uppercuts. With a lot of music in various categorized genres, a professionally designed athletic program and a huge community, Box VR is a true fitness tool that you can use with some assurance that it takes into mind consistency, development and mitigating injury.

Of course, the ultimate responsibility is yours.

Video: Author Blake Harris & VR Dev Blair Renaud Debate the Oculus Ecosystem

VRTO 2019: VR & the Road to Now…& Then – feat Blake J. Harris, Blair Renaud, Keram Malicki-Sanchez

In this uncompromising chat set at the VRTO 2019 Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality conference in Toronto, author Blake J. Harris discusses his insights from time spent with with Palmer Luckey during the time Oculus was acquired by Facebook, the future of consoles and concerns around privacy. Indie game developer Blair Renaud dukes it out with VR investor Tipatat Chennavasin about how to price VR games on the Oculus Quest, and everyone gets into the fray to discuss what will ultimately make VR successful in the eyes of the public and the people who invested money and time to get it there.