What a week!
It’s a busy few weeks for the VR industry: Oculus by Facebook hosted their third developer conference, OC3, in San Jose this past week, MIT Media Lab held a four-day hackathon in Boston focusing on virtual and augmented reality over the weekend, and Valve has their Steam Dev Days starting this week – so naturally, I’ve been even more heads-down (heads-up? heads-in?) with VR than usual.
Okay, that’s kind of a lie, because we all know that I’m just an Agent hanging out in the real world to trick you all into creating more virtual reality content. Creepy Matrix jokes aside, the past six or so days have been a lot of fun.
Oculus Connect is an annual favorite event of mine, primarily because of how fun it is to have the opportunity to connect to so many amazing industry professionals working in all aspects of immersive technologies. There were some really amazing future-facing demos and conversations (Zuckerberg’s social demo during the keynote and Abrash never fails to inspire) and the announcements around WebVR support made me increasingly optimistic about where we’re headed with bringing virtual reality into the mainstream folds of the tech industry. That said, the atmosphere of the event was a bit different than last year – I think Kent captures it perfectly in the latest Voices of VR podcast episode – but overall, it was a wonderful time spent with people I don’t often get to see face to face on a regular basis.
However, one takeaway that I did have from Oculus Connect that I wasn’t expecting to walk away with was that I personally don’t think that I’ll be buying the Touch controllers this year. While the demos I got to try were impressive, the additional cost for the controllers and the necessary sensors just don’t seem justifiable with the room scale hardware setup I have for my Vive. My plan is to wait and see how the initial reactions are, and how quickly content for them ship, before making a decision.
I only had two days of OC 3 fun before heading on to the next venture: the Reality, Virtually hackathon hosted by MIT’s Media Lab. Several other Microsoft employees and I were there to help out with bringing holograms into the world, and I was so impressed with the projects that I saw. I don’t think that I’ll ever get tired of see how much knowledge is shared over hackathon weekends. I never walk away without learning something new!
I’ve been working on my own HoloLens app that I’ll hopefully get to share with you soon (!) and taking a lot of notes on holographic development, so stay tuned for more of that. If you’re in the Bay Area, I’ll be speaking at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Meetup next week on HL development – come say hi!
This week will be more development work, and then I’ll be off to Toronto to talk about the VR web at Full Stack Toronto! This is such a great time to be involved with VR – I still can’t believe that this is my job. ❤︎