Taking a page out of Leap Motion’s book, Carl Zeiss announced an app development contest for it’s VR ONE. Unlike Leap’s contest, however, this one does not offer a potential cash prize, but rather “the opportunity to market the App you developed via the VR ONE Media Launcher and the App Store with exclusive promotion by ZEISS.” Which could, potentially, be more lucrative dependent on the success of the platform. Either way, ZEISS is hoping for even a sliver of the the success the 3D Jam has enjoyed, which produced over 150 new experiences, many of which were completely novel uses of the product.
It’s clear that in the early stages of VR, at least, that Game Jam contests like Leap’s and ZEISS’ are incredibly important in helping push the envelope of the platform’s development. As Bill Gates once said, “content is king,” and that is a mantra that is being embraced by the growing VR community. Everyone talks about the need for a “killer app” for VR, and that is the truth. The platform simply will never thrive unless there is excellent content to bring people back after the initial wow factor wears off. Hopefully, we will see that killer app come to life soon, especially with the advent of mobile VR. It took 3 years, for the iPhone to get Angry Birds, hopefully VR will find its killer app much sooner.
Carl Zeiss is hoping that it’s price point, $99, as well as it’s multi-device compatibility, proves to be a selling point over the recently released Samsung Gear VR. Out of the box, the VR ONE comes with support for the Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6, however “other tray models are in the pipeline.” Additionally, while everyone is touting the focus wheel feature of the Gear VR, Zeiss says that VR ONE users with glasses need not worry about taking them off, “as the ‘eyebox’ is large enough for most eyeglasses frames.” Hopefully, its not too big though, peripheral black space is definitely presence breaking. It will be interesting to see how this device fairs over its more well known competition, however it is clear that the VR ONE is not the top priority currently for the multi-billion dollar company, as their product manager declared, “ZEISS VR ONE is certainly not a core product of the ZEISS group.” She went on to add however, “it is fun and represents our contribution to the usefulness of VR apps.” Honestly, anything that helps further VR is good in my book, and hey, Cardboard wasn’t a priority for Google initially either.