Oculus announces $1million in prizes for a game jam to foster development of mobile VR.

by Will Mason • February 25th, 2015

Bill Gates once said, “content is king,” and this is the current mantra for virtual reality. As we roll ever closer towards a consumer product, the need for good content for VR becomes all the more pressing. Following in the footsteps of Leap Motion, Carl ZEISS, Meta, and other new hardware platforms, Oculus has announced that it will be holding its own developer ‘game jam’ with a $1m prize pool in an effort to help foster the creation of more content for mobile VR.

For the uninformed, game jams typically take place over a 24 to 72 hour time period where Red Bull and adrenaline fuel teams of developers as they race to get a working version of their product ready by judgement hour. Oculus’ game jam will be more of a longform contest, like Leap Motion’s, lasting from April 13 – May 11. The contest and prize money will be split into two separate tracks – one for games and one of apps and experiences, which speaks to the continued push to be more than just a gaming device.

Since its release date on December 8th, the content library on the Gear VR has continued to grow, but this contest could help bring an explosive level of growth and interest in development on the platform. The Leap Motion jam, for example, brought in over 150 submissions, and that was with a much smaller prize pool of $75k, it’s safe to expect that we will see a massive number of new apps added to the ecosystem from this jam.

In total there will be 26 teams taking home prize money from the jam, which is split into four milestones/deadlines for submission:

  1. Pitches are due by 4/20 at 9am (PT)
  2. Screenshots due by 4/27 at 9am (PT)
  3. Video is due by 5/4 at 9am (PT)
  4. Final Build due by 5/11 at 9am (PT)

There will be two rounds of judging, they will start by reviewing videos, images and descriptions, and will sort for the most fun and innovative ideas. From there the top 20% will move onto the next round, where the judges will play and rate the apps. Games and apps will be judged along two lines of criteria, “overall VR experience” and “innovation in VR mechanics.” Interested developers should first start looking for teammates and then make sure to register their team. It should be a great contest with tons of amazing submissions, so bring your A-game! (or, you know, make it)