Today sees the first anniversary of the Oculus Rift launch and what a year its been. There have been highs and lows, but all in all these initial 12 months have been a success for the industry. Looking back VRFocus has spoken to several developers about what’s happened and how they see the next year progressing.
Since the launch of Oculus Rift the company hasn’t rested on its laurels, financing indie developers who’ve produced a wealth of content, detailing future hardware with the Santa Cruz prototype, and of course releasing Oculus Touch to name just a few.
So what’s the response been like from a developers stand point? For this growing niche market the feedback is very much on the positive side with Simon Gardner, CEO at Climax Studios (Gunsight/Bandit Six) commenting: “The last year has seen Oculus working hard to make the Rift more accessible via support for lower spec PC’s and a fairly heavy price cut. This in combination with more engaging software and potentially a move to wireless will keep the Rift relevant. I would however keep a close eye on the imminent arrival of consumer AR and what impact it has on the market. I do however expect that to be more business focused initially.”
“It’s been an exhilarating year for us, as one of the original Day One Launch Title devs, seeing the VR community grow beyond just the hardcore early-adopters, out to a more broader gaming audience. Not only that, a focus on non-gaming and social VR applications has widened the net of appeal further still with impressive numbers for the Gear VR market,” said Sam Watts, Director of Immersive Technology, Make Real. “With the launch of the Oculus Touch controllers, the PC VR platforms are on an even footing, providing super comfortable, natural hand presence for much more immersive, engaging interactions within VR worlds, beyond just swinging swords about and shooting guns.
“Looking ahead, the Santa Cruz prototype gives a glimpse of true wireless VR with the full freedom of movement, beyond interim accessories and attachments planned for this year coming.
“As we prepare to launch our next game soon, combining what we’ve learned from our first with all the advances in interactions and social mechanics now available, it’s still a wonderful time to be a VR development studio.”
Patrick O’Luanaigh, CEO at nDreams (The Assembly) responded: “Consumer VR is growing steadily. As with almost all disruptive technologies over the last few decades, VR will take a good few years before it heads towards mass adoption. But it has made a great start, and this is down in no small part to the incredible work that Oculus have put in. We’re still at the ‘brick phone’ stage of VR, and I expect to see huge advances in terms of technology, price and functionality over the next few years, with VR and AR converging into a single lightweight headset.”
While Fire Panda’s Nick Pittom said: “Has it only been a year for Rift CV1? Seems longer, but I guess it’s been a great year for VR. PSVR has been doing pretty great by all accounts, Oculus launched Touch, and Vive has seen some great expansions with trackers and wireless. It’s great we’re getting this evolution so soon, but I’ve never been concerned about the hardware. It’s going to keep getting better and cheaper, and grow as it does. It’s software that’s needed to prove VR has a future, and I think we’re beginning to see that. Robo Recall I think goes a very long way to justify the Touch and we’re seeing some great creative apps with Medium, Quill and Tiltbrush, things that will become genuinely useful in the long term. Google Earth on Vive was spectacular. Resident Evil 7 is doing great things for PSVR. It’s still early days for VR, but if the momentum of quality software can keep up then I’ll continue to be confident in it’s future.”
“Prices of hardware are coming down and quality of games is going up; 2016 was the year of unrealistic hype, 2017 is when VR starts in earnest. With more mass market consumers coming on board, demand will shift from early adopters looking for ‘showcase demos’ to VR users looking for full-fledged games. Force Field is focusing more and more on creating these ‘complete’ experiences that can compete with non VR games in terms of engagement,” adds Force Field’s CCO and Co-founder, Martin de Ronde.
So the outlook from those within the industry is certainly positive whilst acknowledging there’s still a way to go before adoption really becomes mainstream.
A lot of pressure was put on this fledgling industry and with the breakout year now past developers and manufacturers might just take 2017 with a bit more stride.