Oculus VR are, arguably, the most exciting company in the tech industry right now. In the 12 months since I last met Palmer Luckey (Founder) and Nate Mitchell (VP of Product) at Gamescom, their business has exploded. Facebook’s acquisition has catapulted them even further into the public eye and given them the resources to change the world by introducing what they believe to be the last platform, virtual reality. I got a chance to sit down with the dynamic duo at Gamescom 2014 to reflect on a brutal and exhilarating year.
Honest, Open, and Down to Earth
Whilst there’s no doubt that, as Oculus VR’s fortunes soar and the company move closer and closer to that hallowed Oculus Rift consumer release, the company’s most ubiquitous representatives, Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell, have had to become more guarded with their answers to searching questions, though we appreciate that, wherever possible, they’re open and honest.
What’s more, despite what must often be a grueling and tedious task, ploughing through an endless series of press meetings, every time I’ve met them they’ve remained cheery, welcoming and always brimming with enthusiasm for their company’s platform, virtual reality.
And I doubt you’d find many companies of Oculus’ stature that are still so generous with their time, especially when meeting with small, independent sites like Road to VR. They were gracious enough to allow me to ramble on for a good 20 mins before I finally ran out of questions before letting me loose on their latest demos.
Oculus Connect and the DK2 Launch
Oculus have made it clear that they are, having conquered the first wave of challenges confronting them with the Oculus Rift (they’ve stated candidly that the consumer version is a known quantity now), they’re laser-focussed on content. This year they’ve gone public with their plans to self or co-publish dedicated VR titles for the PC platform (Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie, for example), they’ve gone all out at the recent GDC conferences by speaking at length to developers about the challenges of VR and recently they announced their inaugural developer-centric event, Oculus Connect.
Oculus Connect kicks off next month and I was keen to find out more. The event will be “extremely developer oriented,” as Mitchell put it, and will start off with some headlining keynotes and include networking with Oculus employees and other developers. “There are very few [Connect invites] that have not been rolled out yet,” Luckey said.
Elsewhere, Nate seemed resigned to the fact that the otherwise incredibly efficient and successful DK2 shipping was marred a little by the state of the Oculus SDK. As he says though, all they want is to get the hardware into developer’s hands as soon as possible and, despite any bitching which may come from some parts of the VR community, shipping 20,000 DK2 from 60,000 pre-orders in less than a month is a mighty achievement.
Many thanks to Palmer and Nate for their time and we’ll keep you up to date on further Oculus Connect news as we find it.