The biggest video game news out of the weekend’s Star Wars Celebration is the upcoming Battlefront II, which builds on the first by adding a story mode to its multiplayer Stormtrooper-blasting fun.

But hidden in all the excitement about this reveal is that Criterion, which worked on Battlefront’s PSVR mission, is also working on the PlayStation 4 version of EA’s first-person shooter.

Star Wars feels like an ideal fit for VR — especially if you put players in the cockpit of starfighters like the Rebel’s X-wing or the Imperial TIE fighter. The first PSVR mission, though, felt more like an experiment, not a fleshed-out experience. It’ll be interesting to see how Criterion handles this second stab at Star Wars in VR.

But this also shows two key components to sustaining a VR platform — key exclusives and big properties. One reason Nintendo can sustain itself is that its biggest properties are on its platforms, and those exclusives still sell well even if Nintendo’s consoles are far behind the player base we see for the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Heck, Super Mario Run got mammoth downloads when it was an iOS exclusive, showing the thirst for Nintendo properties on mobile.

Will a new Star Wars VR experience lead to more sales of PSVR helmets? If Criterion can hone in on what makes Star Wars so special and find a way to distill it into VR, it could help Sony be the top platform for the shooter this fall.

—Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S.: Super HyperCube remains on of VR’s best games — see how Jeff Grubb shows GamesBeat how to master it.

From the AR/VR Channel

Facebook launches Spaces social virtual reality platform

GamesBeatFacebook announced today that it is launching a beta platform for social virtual reality dubbed Facebook Spaces. CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement of the early version Spaces at its F8 developer conference in San Jose, California. It is available to try out on the Early Access part of the Oculus store today, and it […]

Google Earth VR lands on Oculus Rift and now lets you manually search for places

On the same day as Google Earth relaunched with a bunch of new features, Google’s virtual reality (VR) version of the service has also been given some notable updates. Google Earth VR was first unveiled for the HTC Vive headset back in November, but now it’s also available for Facebook’s Oculus Rift, with support for […]

Yooka-Laylee PC mod brings the nostalgic game into VR

Yooka-Laylee is a throwback to the ancient era of Nintendo 64 platformers, but this doesn’t mean it can’t work in the next-generation technology of virtual reality. Vive modder Eusth has created a mod for developer Playtonic Games’ Yooka-Laylee that enables you to play it in VR with HTC’s SteamVR-owered headset. To get Vooka-Raylee (as Eusth calls […]

PSVR X-Wing Mission studio Criterion is working on Star Wars: Battlefront II

Electronic Arts hasn’t confirmed whether Star Wars: Battlefront II will have a virtual reality mission, but the team that made the first game’s VR companion experience is working on the sequel. Criterion Games, the studio best known for the Burnout arcade-style racers, is working on the vehicle elements of Battlefront II, which publisher EA revealed as […]

The DeanBeat: Silicon Valley, sci-fi, and games are coming together

Last year, I started writing stories about the uncanny melding of science fiction, real-world technology, and games in mainstream entertainment such as HBO’s Westworld. The sci-fi in games and other entertainment used to be really out there, divorced from real-life technology and the near future. But then came lightning fast advances in artificial intelligence for […]

VR First is creating 50 labs for virtual reality education at universities

VR First is on a quest to jumpstart interest in augmented reality and virtual reality at schools around the world, and so the industry-supported group has pledged to create a total of 50 VR First educational labs at universities by the end of 2017. There are already 26 labs operating in the United States, Europe, […]

Beyond GamesBeat

360 Camera Analysis: How To Get The Best Bang For Your Buck

I’ve spent the last 3 months completely immersed in the latest 360 camera technologies while using a plethora of 360 cameras. I have used some of the ‘first-gen’ cameras like the Ricoh Theta, Samsung Gear 360 (2016) and the LG 360 camera. None of those cameras particularly satisfied my needs as a photography enthusiast and someone who appreciates good video (I don’t think I’m a very good videographer though). Obviously I haven’t tried every camera on the market but I have gone out of my way to try as many as I possibly can and there were a few cameras that came out recently that have really caught my attention. (via UploadVR)

Review: 2017 Gear VR And Galaxy S8 Are The Best Mobile VR Combo

Samsung’s VR efforts started in late 2014 when the Note 4 launched with the Gear VR headset as a glorified developer kit called the Innovator Edition. Since then, Samsung and Oculus have steadily improved the functionality in each new release, with new phones launching roughly twice a year. During most of that time, Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung’s headset reigned supreme atop the VR market. As of January the companies shipped more than 5 million of these high quality mobile headsets as they were given for free with the purchase of many new Samsung phones. (via UploadVR)

Big Ideas in VR: The Space is the Story

Storytelling in VR: the elusive holy grail. Everyone is trying to discover the “way to go”— that project or handbook that comes along and instantly enlightens us all on how to tell stories in this wonderful medium they way they’re meant to be told. (via VR Scout)

Snapchat adds world lenses to further its push into augmented reality

Snapchat today is rolling out world lenses, a new twist on its popular face filters that continues the company’s exploration of augmented reality. Starting today, tapping the camera screen while using the rear-facing camera will bring up new 3D lenses. A cloud, a rainbow, flowers, and a floating “OMG” are part of the initial lineup, which will change daily, the company said. (via The Verge)

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