Oculus addresses the challenge of Virtual Reality hardware at Connect 2

24 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Oculus Connect: 5 key questions at the big virtual reality conference in Hollywood.

In the coming months, millions of people will be getting their hands on virtual reality hardware for the first time, and as they do, there will be a need for huge amounts of new content.

The company debuted its new platform today during the Oculus Connect event, the demo show staged by Facebook’s Oculus VR division, which is launching a virtual-reality headset called the Oculus Rift in early 2016.Oculus VR, the virtual reality technology company owned by Facebook Inc., is set to make several announcements Thursday in the final stretch before its first products start shipping early next year.Virtual reality developers from around the world have assembled in Hollywood for the second Oculus Connect conference, and Oculus VR — the Facebook-owned company that has kickstarted the latest revolution for head-mounted displays — is planning to work closely with artists, engineers, and designers to help them make better immersive games.

Voxelus said it allows anyone — 12-year-olds and movie directors, CEOs and video game creators and players alike — to create robust, immersive 3D worlds of their own design and then populate them with easy-to-create, customizable shapes and animated characters. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015 event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we’ll explore strategies in the new world of gaming. “We won’t be launching Rift preorders during the show, so don’t wear out your F5 key while you are watching the keynote,” wrote Luckey. “I would not normally make this kind of post, especially since it is not really news or a change in plan, but I want to make sure nobody is disappointed or surprised.” Luckey went on to write that Connect is a “developer show first.” The company isn’t forgetting about enthusiasts and consumers for its conference, but they are secondary and tertiary concerns. “There will be some consumer-facing announcements, but all in the context of their relevance to developers and the growing VR ecosystem,” he wrote. “We will be announcing and co-announcing some really cool stuff.” The Oculus cofounder also noted that fans should not expect positional tracking for the GearVR head-mounted display it has built for Samsung’s smartphones. Analysts and developers have many explanations for why Oculus is placing a heavy emphasis on gaming (and dedicating nearly all of the Connect panels to the subject). While Rift and HTC Vive have a way of telling where you are in a room, that tech is beyond the capabilities of modern mobile chips. “It’s not going to happen,” wrote Luckey. “Our computer-vision teams are doing some amazing work, but VR-grade inside-out tracking is not currently workable on mobile devices.”

I got a firsthand look at the Voxelus platform, and it’s for real: It’s possible for anyone, from novice to expert, to quickly build a simple VR game, upload it, and have it running on hardware like a Gear VR shortly thereafter. To be sure, to make rich, truly compelling games will take substantially more time, but Voxelus’s platform provides all the tools to make it possible.

Digi-Capital, a tech advisory firm, estimates that virtual reality will become a $30 billion market by 2020. “Why play in 2D when you can play in true 3D?” said Martin Repetto, the cofounder and CEO of Voxelus, in a statement. “When the first-person shooters like Doom first arrived, they rapidly absorbed the lion’s share of new titles. The system starts with the company’s content creator, an easy-to-use tool that provides hundreds of building blocks with which to make a game, ranging from small rectangular platforms to large gothic structures to orcs and other monsters.

But though early virtual reality devices will highlight gaming, many expect serious revenue to roll in when VR expands to apps for travel, real estate, healthcare, government, sports and, of course, TV shows and movies. Over time, however, it hopes to vastly expand the offerings by allowing anyone to make their own objects and sell them in a content marketplace: a VR app store, if you will, that can accept existing 3-D objects created using industry-standard software. Any type of weird or different thing that they bring out, it’ll be super-interesting.” Oculus excited app developers earlier this year with controllers for the headset that comfortably slip into the grip of the hand. This viewer allows people to have a standardized browser that guides them into a world of 3D content, as well as a long tail that will eventually include a wide array of virtual-reality content.

Voxelus Marketplace is the place where these two spaces converge, with creators able to display, give away, or sell (using a unique, in-game currency called VoxCoins, which will debut later this year) their games, worlds, and other VR applications to a global market. But Voxelus COO Maximo Radice says that he believes the platform will soon enable some of those who use it to become stars on the order of YouTube sensation Pewdiepie, and take on big-name content companies in the process.

Voxelus will allow content producers worldwide to envision and create 3D games, virtual worlds, and immersive experiences, and our viewing platform will allow millions of users around the globe to experience their finished product immediately after it has been created.” The company could also showcase “launch” titles — games that are specially or exclusively developed for the Rift — that will get prominent placement in the app store. But Brian Blau, a consumer products analyst at Gartner, is among those interested to see if there’s other data to consider. “How long will people wear a [headset], what are the put on/take off patterns that are emerging,” he said in an email. “Knowing this will give you an idea about long-term engagement behaviors.” For instance, at the industry’s Proto Awards on Tuesday, Venice start-up WeVR said people had collectively spent the equivalent of 560 days inside its award-winning app that puts viewers underwater with a blue whale.

Voxelus is betting on the idea that new VR users will be able to blow through all the existing content in mere days, and that they’ll want much more in order to justify the hundreds of dollars they spend on hardware. That’s comparable to “Call of Duty,” a popular console game that takes up to eight hours, Orth said. “We’re trying to find a way to make full complete experience that you’re going to want to be in VR for a while,” Orth said. “I think that nobody knows right now how long people can stay in.”

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