Oculus to Devs: “Now is the time to be thinking about VR”

by Jamie Feltham • May 16th, 2016

One million people used Gear VR last month, a statistic that Oculus VR is clearly proud of. In fact, the company is already using this figure to help draw more developers in.

That was the message behind Oculus Engineer Andy Borrell’s “From Start to Ship” talk at the 2016 Digital Dragons events in Krakow, Poland this week. Following his introduction, Borrell led straight into a slide that boasted the one million statistic. He used this to support his claim that “now is the time to be thinking about VR development”. The engineer also cited other reasons such as the fact that other major players will be getting involved with the tech this year.

“We expect to see a lot more people in this coming year,” Borrell said of the number of developers working in VR. He then went through a rundown of all of Oculus’ platforms, from Gear to Touch, to try and communicate the breadth of experiences that developers can create. His talk involved the power of position-tracked controllers such as Oculus Touch, and provided case studies for how to develop VR titles in Lucky’s Tale and AirMech Command.

Elsewhere, Borrell quizzed the audience on which engines they were using to develop right now, with Unity 5 users easily outnumbering those working on Unreal Engine 4. He also spoke of the importance of VR audio and the social advantages that Oculus provides. If Borrell did manage to convince any of these developers to move into VR development, they’ll be able to hit the ground running.

Gear VR might have surpassed a significant milestone in April, but other HMDs still have a long way to go. The Oculus Rift, which ‘launched’ at the end of March, is still plagued by huge shipping issues, with some still waiting on units they were promised would be delivered on day one. Recently, UploadVR was able to analyse Steam software sales to report that there are at least 35,000 consumer HTC Vive units out in the wild right now. Given the incredibly high cost of both, it’s likely to be a long time before they reach that same statistic as Gear VR, but they’re at least on their way.

In the meantime, it might be Sony’s PlayStation VR that next hits that goal.

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