It’s been a busy week for Virtual Reality at the 2015 Game Developers Conference. Not only did the conference include several meetings to further enhance VR in the gaming world, it also included a multitude of new announcements for VR enthusiasts everywhere.
We’ve known about HTC and Valve’s VR headset, Vive, for some time now. However, GDC was the perfect opportunity for the developers to show off the hard work put into the upcoming HMD (Head-Mounted-Display), and everything we’re hearing says that they didn’t disappoint. Alongside the headset, they’ll be including the Lighthouse hardware which allows the user’s movements to be tracked within a full-scale room, as well as interact with the experience with no need for a controller.
With Vive on showcase at GDC, it seemed only fitting that we’d begin to see game releases being revealed for the upcoming VR hardware. Owlchemy Labs, known for Aaaaa! for the Awesome!, has joined the ranks with Job Simulator, a game that takes place in the far future when everything is automated and humans want to experience working in a simulation. Joining Owlchemy Labs is Vertigo Games with their next VR title, Skyworld. Both games will release for the Vive sometime this year.
Valve wasn’t the only company showing off VR, however, as Oculus paired with Weta Digital and Epic Games to bring Smaug’s lair to life on the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay. Paired up with the new Nvidia Titan X, many outlets around the internet have praised the short demo as being “smooth” and “beautiful”. Oculus also announced the public release of the Oculus Audio SDK preview, which is not available for download. On top of all the information I’ve already listed, John Carmack, the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Oculus, also advised that they’d be pushing for a full consumer release of Mobile VR with Samsung’s next product cycle.
While Valve and Oculus move into place as the two “Big Guns” of VR, Razer is steadily busy growing the support of Open Source Virtual Reality (or OSVR), their movement into the VR realm. Just this week Ubisoft, Technical Illusions, and Mindfield Games all announced their support of OSVR at GDC. This marks a significant step into the “DIY VR” field, and is an exciting time for Razer.
For those who don’t remember, Google announced Google Cardboard after Samsung took its first step into VR with the Gear VR. This cheap DIY virtual reality headset kit was a big deal for those who wanted to experience some semblance of virtual reality without the huge price tag of Gear VR and the Oculus Rift. Google took another step towards this new hardware craze with the announcement that they’d soon be able to enable “Holodeck-like” experiences with an add-on that cost less than $100 for consumers. This is Project Tango, an attempt at bringing virtual reality and reality into one dimension, which Google is calling transmogrified reality.
For many Nvidia lovers, GDC came with the promise of an Nvidia branded VR headset that would most likely knock all the other competitors out of the water. This wasn’t the case, however, as the famous GPU company instead revealed their new Shield android-based console, which you can read about in our previous post here. On the bright side, Nvidia did announce the creation of hardware and software that would help to make virtual reality a smoother and brighter experience for everyone. Of course, they weren’t the only company to do so, as AMD also announced its work on a new software which would decrease latency and enhance the VR experience with hardware compatibility.
With Valve and Oculus showing all the VR love to PC and Mac users, it only seems fair that Sony’s Project Morpheus had such a successful keynote, which you can read about here. The company’s PS4-only VR device was revealed to have an early 2016 release date, as well as a plethora of update specifications like a 5.7 inch OLED display, 120 HZ refresh rate, and a 100 degree field of view. Sony is leaps and bounds above anyone who believes VR can’t come to console, and it is proving it by knocking Project Morpheus out the park.
Other Notable VR News from GDC 2015:
Sixense is working with Valve to bring the STEM motion controller into Steam integration.
Nurulize blow away users with 4K real-time VR demo.
Project Morpheus New specs reveal.
HTC Vive Reveal.
Josh Hawkins posted a new article, GDC 2015 – From Vive to Project Morpheus - The Virtual Reality Roundup
So, the only thing oculus is pushing right now is mobile through Samsung?
Not really. They are still working on the Rift, but the main thing they covered during GDC was mobile VR.