Last month, Oculus held its second annual development conference, Oculus Connect 2 (OC2), in Los Angeles. Subvrsive joined over 1500 developers and media personnel for a few days of announcements, demos, and workshops. The main focus was to provide developers a chance to meet face-to-face and learn valuable information going into the launch of Oculus’s first consumer headset to debut later this year and into next fall.
One of the most exciting things at OC2 was seeing what the rest of the developer community has been working on in anticipation of the release of Samsung’s Gear VR and the Oculus Rift. It’s been amazing to witness and take part in the rapid growth the VR community has experienced over the past couple of years. John Carmack gave one of his signature unscripted keynotes in which he made a point to address the dire need for content to ensure VR’s success.
“It’s been clear to me over the course of the last year that content really is the thing that needs the most efforts from us.” – John Carmack, CTO at Oculus
This part really resonated with me because it speaks so much to the why Subvrsive exists. We wouldn’t be doing what we are doing today had it not been for the tech that Carmack and others have created, and it is validating to hear from him how important content is for VR to succeed. It reinforces why Subvrsive is a content company first. Our main goal is to tell stories in the best way possible and that is what gets us excited to come to work every day. Being surrounded by people at OC2 that share this energy and passion was one of the most exciting things about the conference.
In terms of announcements, it was exciting to see that a consumer version of the Gear VR will be releasing this year for just $99. We’ve been working on some experiences for the Gear VR that we can’t wait to share with the world, and this price-point means more people will be able to get into VR then ever before.
I was also excited to finally try the Rift, Oculus’s consumer version of their PC-centric headset. It was interesting to compare it to the first dev kit that came out a couple of years ago. While the Rift is mostly targeted at gamers, we are excited for what it means for storytelling experiences as well.
What also stood out to me were the Touch controllers and how they enable users to interact with virtual environments. With these controllers, one can “feel” things in VR unlike ever before. For example, I was able to play ping pong, light fireworks, and draw a pistol to shoot at targets with a level of realism not yet seen in VR. It signifies a very important step in development because it allows people to interact with virtual environments with an input device beyond a traditional gamepad. While it’s unfortunate that these controllers will not be shipping initially with the Rift, we can’t wait to get our hands on the development kits and start making awesome things to implement in future projects!
It was exciting to see the state of VR at Connect and what it means for the future. It reaffirmed my belief that the launch of devices such as the Rift will be just as disruptive as the launch of the first iPhone. While I’m amazed at what Subvrsive has accomplished in such a short amount of time, there’s still a lot of ground to cover. There are hundreds of years of learning and problem solving to be had, and we find that challenge to be exciting rather than discouraging. Unlike established mediums like film & cinema that build on experience and tradition, VR is an undiscovered frontier. We are proud to be a part of it, and can’t wait to share our future endeavours here on our blog. Check back soon for more updates, as well as on our Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn for more.