Tag Archives: EVE Valkyrie

VR Development Dead and Layoffs at CCP

One of those “note the time and date” posts, Massively OP reported earlier today that CCP was backing away from development of Virtual Reality games, closing their Atlanta office and selling off the studio in Newcastle responsible for now VR-optional Oculus Rift launch title EVE: Valkyrie.  This will mean a job loss for as many as 100 CCP employees world wide, including 30 in Iceland.

EVE: Valkyrie in stasis

CCP says that they will continue to support their VR products but will no longer be investing time into new development for EVE: Valkyrie, EVE Gunjack, or the recently launched Sparc.  That sounds nice, but once you cut the development team restarting on a VR project won’t be easy.

Hello VR captain’s quarters?

In addition to a renewed focus on EVE Online… because what else is making them any money… CCP will continue with development of the shooter known as Project Nova as well as the EVE Universe themed mobile game Project Aurora, which was demoed at EVE Vegas earlier this month.

CCP Falcon had the following to say on Reddit:

With regards to EVE, it’s kind of bittersweet that this puts us in a more solid position going forward, as a lot more focus is back on EVE Online, its services and all the technology and support around it.

The EVE Online development team was not impacted at all by these changes, and remains the same size, working toward the same goals and features that have already been announced.

While that may be so, one of the losses with the Atlanta office is CCP Manifest who was the PR and social media lead who paid a lot of attention to the EVE Online community.  Likewise CCP Logibro who minded the fansites and worked with the CSM appears to be on the list.   They will be missed.

We shall see what this means in the longer term.  EVE Online remains the only money making video game for the company.

Other coverage:

Warzone and EVE Valkyrie sans VR

The free Warzone expansion to EVE: Valkyrie adapts the high-immersion experience of virtual reality to computer and TV screens. Valkyrie pilots can now fly and fight together with or without a VR headset.

EVE: Valkyrie site

Today is the day that CCP launches their Warzone expansion for EVE Valkyrie.  Owners of CCP’s VR title get some new content for free, expanding the options of a game that has been criticized for being limited in depth.

The point of the Warzone Extraction event in EVE Online has ostensible been to draw attention to this new addition to EVE Valkyrie, though I am not sure it has done much in that regard.

Launching Today

And while I am sure that more content good news for people who already have the game, the big news here is the expansion of the target audience beyond those who have ponied up a few hundred dollars for a VR headset.  This is why CCP wants to make EVE players aware of this update.

Warzone, now without the VR requirement

I suppose it is easy enough to explain why CCP went this route; removing the VR requirement increases their potential audience manifold, starting with a few hundred thousand current and former EVE Online players they can market to directly… if they can figure that out.

I am not sure what the system requirements are yet.  The entry over at Steam still matches the Oculus Rift system requirements, of which my rig is just shy.  I have the processor indicated but need a video card upgrade.  I suspect that the requirements for running without VR should be less, but I do not know for sure. [Update: INN has the non-VR requirements and they are reduced.]

But is there also a message about the current state of VR in this move to support a non-VR option?  I see lots of rosy predictions for the future growth of VR and if you Google you can find numbers that show that over 100 million VR headsets had shipped by the end of 2016.  But if you dig in you find out that almost all of those were Google Cardboard and it seems much less impressive.  And there is no “killer app” yet to move the more expensive headsets more quickly.

Anyway, EVE Valkyrie is now VR optional.

I will be interested to hear how it plays without VR.  I should still have a special item waiting for me in the game courtesy of the EVE Online Second Decade Collector’s Edition I got back in 2013.

Templar Fighter could be mine… is that even a thing in the game?

Of course, I’m not sure how to collect it.  It is attached to the somewhat maligned CCP Mystery Code from the collector’s edition.  I am sure the card is somewhere in my office at home, but I couldn’t tell you where.  Until I find it I suppose I can watch the launch trailer.

 

EVE Valkyrie and EVE Gunjack go Live with Occulus Rift Today

The Occulus Rift virtual reality headset officially goes live today… I wonder how many pre-orders have been shipped at this point… and with it a couple of titles from CCP, the makers of EVE Online. (This week’s new releases list is naturally a bit heavy with Rift related titles.)

The first is EVE: Valkyrie, the title that CCP has been talking about for a while now and which is bundled with the Occulus Rift for pre-orders.

EVE Valkyrie

EVE Valkyrie

I was able to play EVE: Valkyrie at EVE Vegas last year and it does seem like a pretty fun title… though I might be biased by the fact that I found it neat just to be able to fly around some of the ships from EVE Online.  The price to play, however, puts it outside of my reach for now.

The other title, EVE: Gunjack, described as an “arcade shooter,” was announced back in August, and initially released last November, for the Samsung Gear VR headset, but has been ported over to work with Occulus Rift.

SCV good to go, sir!

EVE: Gunjack

I am not sure how much work went into the transition between platforms, but the Samsung Gear VR was created “in collaboration” with the Occulus team, so one could reasonably assume that the effort wasn’t huge.

So CCP has two more games on the market today, both set in the EVE Online universe.

Meanwhile, in a somewhat related item, the most recent Blog Banter has bloggers taking on the topic of what other EVE Online games they would like to see.  I haven’t gotten around to thinking about a post for that yet.

How Much to Play EVE Valkyrie?

So the big news yesterday, I suppose, was the opening of the Occulus Rift pre-orders and how much the unit costs.

The magic number is $599… plus sales tax (varies by location, but for me it adds up to $50) and $30 shipping.  Call it a round $680.

For that sum… which is more than a PlayStation 4 and a couple games… or more that a Wii U and every good game for the platform… you will get:

  • the headset
  • a head-tracking camera
  • an Xbox One controller
  • the Oculus remote
  • the cables to hook it up, a spiffy carrying case, and two included games: space shooter
  • the game Eve Valkyrie, a cool space shooter
  • the game Lucky’s Tale, a platformer
Not picture, spiffy carrying case

Not picture, spiffy carrying case

Of course various forums on the internet exploded with unhappy reactions to that price point. (Though, if you backed the Kickstarter at the right level, you were probably pretty happy.  Good for you if you backed it at the right time.)

Personally, I wasn’t all that shocked by the price point despite past price estimates. (Though clearly many felt otherwise.) I’ve done hardware projects before. This is the first run of the hardware, this new hardware has to be very good to get people to accept VR as more than a gimmick, the hardware itself is unique and complex (as noted by the team, as they apologize for the price yet again), and they have to hand a bit of money to the software devs for the bundled items.  It was going to be a big ticket item.  Likely, a year or two from now there will be a cost reduced version with a more efficient manufacturing process and likely no controller or remote for less.

Which doesn’t mean that I am going to run out and pre-order.  I played EVE Valkyrie at EVE Vegas and it looked really good… but not $680 good.  I was actually a little worried that CCP was going to try to extract a bit more money from people with the EVE Valkyrie Founder Pack they started talking about yesterday, but that appears to be included with the pre-order.

Founders Pack with the pre-order...

Founders Pack with the pre-order…

We’ll see when that becomes an extra-cost option, but for now it is just another incentive to pre-order today.

Of course, $680 might not be the only expense you’ll incur getting into virtual reality.  Your computer also has to be up to snuff with the following requirements:

  • Video Card NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • Memory 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • OS Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

I happen to be in luck for most of those requirements.  When my power supply zapped my computer, taking out most everything directly connected to it, I ended up getting an Intel i5-4590 for the replacement.  I am also good on the operating system, RAM, and USB ports.

The video card though, there I come up short.  A quick search on nVidia GTX 970 shows that to be a $300+ investment which, with sales tax and shipping, puts the whole bill for playing EVE Valkyrie past the $1,000 mark for me.

That is way too rich for my blood, even if I can use it with Elite: Dangerous as well.

That price, for all the loud complaints it has yielded, doesn’t seem to be hurting the popularity of the pre-orders.  The quote at the top of the post is unironically true in its own way.  I saw somebody from the team state that they sold more in the first ten minutes than they thought would go in the first hour.  Meanwhile, later in the day, I saw somebody a bit annoyed that the ship date on their pre-order was slated for June, the queue presumably having eaten up all the March, April, and May dates.

For me though, the VR experience will likely be limited to the Google Cardboard set that the guy in the cube across from me has for some time to come.