Kevin Williams reports from EuroGamer Expo 2013 with Oculus Rifts abound!
Editor’s Note: Less than 7 months ago, I went to GDC 2013 to meet with a small contingent of VR believers — among them, Oculus VR Inc, Sixense, and Fourth Dimension Displays. Last week was the massive EuroGamer Expo 2013. Kevin Williams brings us a report from the show floor and shows the incredibly rapid grassroots spread of VR development, evident by widespread usage and interest in the Oculus Rift developer kit at EuroGamer Expo 2013.
What proved to be London’s largest gathering of Virtual Reality (VR) entertainment technology, EuroGamer Expo 2013 also proved to be a vast mecca to the consumer game environment, but also became a clarion call towards the level of interest that has been generated in VR by the public.
This year’s EuroGamer Expo 2013 (EGX) proved a sold-out event over its three days, offering a mixture of elements found at Game Developers Conference, E3, and IndieCade, all in one location – housed in London’s famous Earls Court exhibition facility. Regarding the VR scene, the venue proved a melting pot of the latest hardware. Vying alongside the first UK public showing of the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony Playstation 4, VR was able to hold its own and give the consoles a run for their money.
VR Hardware On Display
The Californian company made the long trek to the UK event and brought more than eight of their latest Oculus Rift HD prototype head-sets. This was the third time that the European scene had the chance to see the higher resolution and performance HMD – a prototype of one of the panel sections by the company. Representatives of Oculus VR were admittedly stretched thin to have to support so many shows, but felt it important to work with the consumer games scene to promote the best message regarding the public interest for the platform.
This was my first time in the HD version of the system, and I was impressed by the quality of image and the elimination of the ‘screen door effect’, but to hear that this was an intermediate step towards next years’ consumer HMD release increased faith in the start-ups drive towards a successful consumer launch. The queue to experience the HD version of the system snaked round the company’s booth for the duration of the Expo – a testament to the interest and fervor that has been generated by the company and their hardware.
The Virgin Media booth at EuroGamer Expo 2013 was a mix of indie games and new releases, built off of the launch of their Virgin Media Game Space (pop-up arcade) facility covered previously on Road to VR. Virgin Media as a main sponsor of EuroGamer Expo 2013 and had a prominent space; they made the most of it, including an Oculus Rift demonstration on their booth (entitled “Get Your Head in the Game”). The company had two systems running the skydiving experience seen at their pop-up space – and saw long queues at their booth to try out the experience.
The virtual mobility system developers came to EuroGamer Expo 2013 with an example of the Virtuix Omni for selected visitors to try out. It was amazing to see the interest from those walking the vast Earls Court floor homing in to see the latest VR technology. The system presented under the tag line “Step Into The Adventure”.
The organizers of the popular Northern RePlay retro gaming event presented a great booth that looked back at the history of video gaming, and in a nod to the future the company had a independent developer running a Oculus Rift rig with an indie demonstration of his own design – great to see the independent development community working the Rift.
Design Media Kensington
One of the many universities that have courses in video game development – the Kensington course came to EuroGamer Expo with news of their development and showed some examples of their course work – this included a Oculus Rift running another independent demonstrations.
In the game courses and employment area of the Expo another two Oculus Rift’s were spotted running some example demonstrations.
The popular Surgeon Simulator 2013 was presented on the EuroGame Expo 2013 show floor, and along with the normal PC version, the studio brought a Oculus Rift version of the amateur surgery game emulator – though the tracking was a bit off when visiting the booth, there was the customary long lines to have their turn on the game.
In the Indie game area, the games Dream and Montague’s Mount (recently Steam ‘Greenlit’) were both demonstrated with Oculus Rift examples – seeming to illustrate a pattern where the credibility of some of the new PC content from independent developers is being seen as Rift suitable!
Finally, the event proved a crowded and exuberant gathering of the latest games, consoles and aspirations in the consumer game medium – the VR contingent proving that this latest application of immersive entertainment has captured the imagination. We now have to wait what the next phase of interest will be once the first foray of these platforms are officially released.
For more information about EuroGamer Expo 2013 visit:
About the Author – Kevin Williams has an extensive background in in the development and sales of the latest amusement and attraction applications. The UK born specialist in the pay-to-play scene; is well-known through his consultancy, KWP and as a prolific writer and commentator (The Stinger Report) on the emergence of the new entertainment market. Kevin is also the founder of the association and Conference (DNA Association/DNA Conference) that focuses on the digital Out-of Home interactive entertainment sector. Kevin can be reached at – email@example.com – http://www.thestingerreport.com (both free to subscribe services).