Today, Oculus released the winners of their $1 million mobile VR game jam – which has been underway since Feb. 25th. Oculus’ mobile game jam began with a simple mission, to bring more content to mobile virtual reality. With over 500 original submissions from 1700+ developers (many of whom worked in teams) the contest was a massive success – showing both strong developer and strong community interest in mobile VR (especially in France – more on that in a moment).
In short order here are your winners:
SteamCrew VR – Platinum Game ($200,000)
Developed by Aurelien Kerbeci, SteamCrew VR is a rousing co-op game for VR that has you and a friend, both wearing Gear VRs, try to pilot a submarine together. One of the first of it’s kind on mobile VR, SteamCrew VR is truly hilarious and a blast to play. Using on screen prompts to get players to communicate locally to accomplish goals this game was unique in the way it showed that VR does not have to be a truly isolating experience – something that likely was a large contributing factor to its win. Check it out for yourself here.
The Night Cafe – Platinum Experience ($100,000) and Community Choice ($10,000)
The only submission to take home two awards, Mac Cauley‘s The Night Cafe was also my personal favorite submission amongst the bunch. Set inside of Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of the same title, The Night Cafe gives users a way to explore the work in a way never before possible. Combining a gorgeous art style that remained as true as possible to Van Gogh’s work with a creative expansion beyond the canvas The Night Cafe is a work of art in and of itself. Check it out for yourself here.
Gold Game Winners ($100,000)
DRIFT puts the player in the shoes of a magical bullet that travels wherever the player is gazing. Using a bullet time mechanism as a core gameplay mechanic, the goal is to weave through a busy scene to find the “green guy.” Devilishly difficult at times the game really gets the player moving as you try to weave around tight corners quickly before your bullet time runs out. A minimalist art style fits perfectly with the tone of the game and looks beautiful within the Gear. If you haven’t, play this game now. Download a build here.
A game that tests your curiosity. Best experienced knowing very little going in the game is about “you, a pet robot, and a campsite by the lake.” Check it out here to go exploring for yourself.
Gold App or Experience Winners ($50,000)
A beautiful storytelling experience, Colosse comes from a talented team headed up by Nick Pittom who many of you may know from his beautiful VR translations of scenes from Hayao Miyazaki films. Using gaze based interactions to give the user a sense of control over the narrative, the team was able to create a powerful film with an awe inspiring art direction.
Along the Trail
It seems to be little of little surprise that an app that connects to your Facebook account and turns your social information into a gorgeous VR data landscape would be picked as a winner of an Oculus game jam – you know, the company owned by Facebook. But that isn’t to say Along the Trail isn’t worthy of the prize, far from it actually. Along the Trail is an enchanting walk down nostalgia lane. Guided by a narrator, you are able to step through a world that gets increasingly more personal as you go along – as the final scene contains pieces of private messages you have exchanged between friends. It is an utterly intimate portrait of yourself that truly causes you to reflect. Even if you don’t feel like connecting your Facebook data, you can still experience Along the Trail using “John Doe’s” data. Check out the experience for yourself here.
The Rest of the Winners
Silver Games ($50,000)
- Scorched Battalion – Submission and Build
- Neuralgia VR – Submission and Build
- Panopticon – Submission and Build
- Bazaar – Submission and Build
Silver Apps or Experiences ($30,000)
Bronze Games ($10,000)
- Atop the Wizard’s Tower – Submission and Build
- Maiden Chaos VR – Submission and Build
- Audio Arena – Submission and Build
- PhaseShift – Submission and Build
- Captain Clark Adventures – Submission and Build
- Technolust: Thought Crimes – Submission and Build
- Polo – Submission, Build (VR/mouse), and Build (Phone/cat)
- Wendy – Submission and Build
- Blind Swordsman – Submission and Build
- Double Destruction – Submission, Build (VR), and Build (phone)
Bronce Apps or Experiences ($10,000)
- DMZ: Memories of No Man’s Land – Submission and Build
- NeoS: The Universe – Submission and Build
- House of Languages – Submission and Build
- Tana Pura – Submission and Build
Community’s Choice Game ($10,000)
But perhaps one of the most intriguing storylines to emerge out the winners – beyond how impressive the submissions were – was that $420,000 of the winnings was taken home by teams from France, including the platinum winning submission SteamCrewVR. Joining the main contest winner are DRIFT, Along the Trail, Panopticon, Captain Clark Adventures and DMZ: Memories of No Man’s Land all coming out of teams from France (although Innerspace’s DMZ team was headed up by Hayoun Kwon who is from South Korea, the company is originally from France).
And perhaps no person, let alone Frenchman, in the entire contest enjoyed a greater degree of success than Ferdinand Dervieux, who worked on not one, not two, but three winning submissions in the contest. Playing a major role on DRIFT, Along the Trail, and Panopticon his contributions alone totaled up to $200,000 in winnings – matching the grand prize winner (who we will point out again, was also French). Even The Night Cafe, the Platinum experience winner and community’s choice, had French roots – as the painting it was inspired by was done during Van Gogh’s French period when he was living in Arles, France.
This contest was not about individual success, or even the success of a country as a whole, it was about paving the road to success for the entire virtual reality industry. Bill Gates said it best “content is king,” and now mobile VR has a deep content library of premium VR experiences which will only continue to get better as the winners take their earnings and continue to mold their titles. Oculus’ mobile game jam was the injection that the industry needed, especially as the Gear VR prepares for its consumer release later this year. The future is bright for VR – and with this, it just got a whole lot brighter. (And more French)