Oculus VR today announced that the company will be hosting ‘Oculus Connect’ a VR-focused conference in Los Angeles, California this September. The company has also announced the acquisition, and open-sourcing, of RakNet, a networking middleware used in the games industry.
Today Oculus VR, the leading consumer VR headset company, is announcing an official conference called Oculus Connect. The conference will be hosted in Los Angeles, California, from September 19–20 at the Loews Hollywood hotel. The company calls it “a developer conference that brings together engineers, designers, and creatives from around the world to share and collaborate in the interest of creating the best virtual reality experiences possible.” The news comes from the latest official update on the Oculus VR blog.
Keynote speakers include Oculus VR’s Brendan Iribe (CEO), Palmer Luckey (Founder), John Carmack (CTO), and Michael Abrash (Chief Scientist). The conference will also include sessions and workshops led by Oculus employees and others from the VR industry. The company says that the full session list will be available closer to the show. The event is open to the public, but it’s stressed that this is a “developer-centric” event. Under ‘Who should attend?’ on the Oculus Connect FAQ, the company writes, “Anyone with an interest in developing great virtual reality content: VR developers, gaming, entertainment and cinematic content makers, innovators, creative thinkers, enthusiasts and more.”
Oculus will have dedicated demo stations for developers to show off their content to attendees. However, they recommend that developers looking to demo content bring their own rigs as there will likely be more demand than there are dedicated demo stations.
Registration for Oculus Connect opens on July 10th via the Oculus Connect website, the cost of attendance has not been announced.
In the company’s announcement of the conference, it’s noted that “Attendees will be the first to learn about upcoming Oculus technology,” which seems like a bit of a tease if you ask me. Oculus Connect might be the ideal place for Samsung to announce their rumored VR smartphone adapter that’s allegedly being made in collaboration with Oculus VR.
Back in February it was discovered that Oculus VR had trademarked ‘RiftCon,’ apparently to be used for such a conference. The company seems to have opted for Oculus Connect instead, but it’s possible that RiftCon will be reserved for a consumer-focused event.
One challenge the company may face at Oculus Connect is attracting the wider virtual reality community. While game developers and peripheral makers will surely be eager to attend, the broader platform players—like Sony and their Project Morpheus VR headset—may not find an Oculus-specific event the best place to show their VR work to the world, much like Microsoft lacks presence at official Apple events.
SVVR Conference & Expo is a similar, independently organized conference which had its inaugural event in May. IEEE VR is a long running independent event with a focus on the professional end of the VR spectrum. IEEE VR 2014, held at the end of March, marked the conference’s 21st annual gathering.
Oculus VR Acquires RakNet and Makes Code Open-source
Alongside the news of Oculus Connect, the company has announced the acquisition of RakNet, which it calls “one of the leading networking middleware systems in the games industry.” Oculus has open-sourced the RakNet code to make it available to others to modify and built upon. You can find the RakNet source at Oculus’ GitHub repo.
“For those unfamiliar with RakNet, it is a comprehensive C++ game networking engine designed for ease of use and performance. The tech is tuned for cross-platform, high-performance applications that operate across a wide variety of network types. Key features include object replication, remote procedure calls, patching, secure connections, voice chat, and real-time SQL logging. The technology has been licensed by thousands of indie developers, as well as companies like Unity, Havok, Mojang, Maxis and Sony Online Entertainment,” reads the update.
The terms of the acquisition were not announced. The RakNet purchase is likely a strategic move on behalf of Oculus to support their ongoing game development and game publishing efforts, including the development of a content distribution network for VR-enabled games.
Following the company’s own acquisition by Facebook in March, Oculus also recently acquired the Carbon Design Group.