A “new standalone” VR conference will be held on March 14 and 15 next year on the first two days of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The timing of the event is notable for a few reasons. After Oculus Connect 2 in September and the Consumer Electronics Show in January, both of which are likely to preview the Rift, GDC is likely the next major conference to showcase VR technology. The event takes place during the far end of the “Q1” shipping window Oculus has established for the Rift. Along with the Vive, which should have already been out a few months, Sony’s Morpheus headset and the Oculus Touch handheld controllers, the conference in March is perfectly timed to coincide with an enormous consumer push for VR. The inaugural event is called VRDC and should offer a premiere venue for VR software and hardware companies to dive deep into the capabilities of different VR technologies and establish a roadmap for 2016 and beyond.
Passes to attend the conference “will also allow entrance to the main Game Developers Conference Expo floor from March 16th-18th, where many of VR’s biggest names will be showcasing their latest technology.” This sets up the VR conference on March 14 and 15 as a sort of “future of gaming” event where the next steps of the industry can be outlined. Game engines including Unity, Epic’s Unreal and Valve’s Source are emerging as the core tools for developers to build VR experiences, but those tools are built for traditional games. Captured video footage, for example, isn’t always ideal for games but can add a layer of immersion to a VR experience. It can also be cumbersome to add using those game engines. That’s just one example of how those engines and complementary tools (like the many wraparound cameras being developed) can be shown with tighter integration during the March time-frame next year.
Innovative uses and best practices for input solutions like Touch, Move and Valve’s wireless VR controllers could be showcased as well and Oculus CTO John Carmack is only weeks into his “VrScript” project to build a scripting language for VR. That project might be more fully developed by March and it’s possible any number of other tools could be announced between now and next year — all of which could be detailed at VRDC.
Overall, the inaugural event in March is perfectly timed for companies working in VR to launch products, detail new ones and preview future work. We can’t wait to see what’s coming.