Oculus has announced an invite only event to coincide with GDC which promises a preview of the games new owners will be able to get their hands on after launch.
The long awaited Oculus Rift consumer VR headset went up for pre-order during CES in January, due for a late March ship window. But, other than the titles every new Rift owner will receive inside the box, details of the devices launch line up have been thin on the ground.
Oculus has an advantage that perhaps isn’t as much talked about as it should be. Its Rift VR headsets have been around (in one form or another) as a potential games platform longer than any other. It may appear that the company credited with re-launching the fortunes of consumer virtual reality as concentrated primarily on tackling VRs “set of hard problems”, as one Gabe Newell once put it.
However, since inception, Oculus have been all about the software. Founder Palmer Luckey knew that he could produce the best, most cost effective, most compelling VR hardware in the world, but if there’s nothing interesting to use with it, it’s dead in the water.
This was the entire ethos behind the original DK1 Kickstarter, to get developer kits into the hands of creative people such that they can begin to wrap their heads around what virtual reality had to offer as a platform and begin working. In today’s games industry, with gestation periods for some games measures in years, that’s an oft overlooked advantage Oculus hold over their competitors.
We of course have seen some big announcements from Oculus in relation to games, some which went down better than others. Luckey’s triumphant Minecraft announcement at Oculus Connect 2 in September last year, a coup that CTO John Carmack had pursued doggedly to achieve, was a big deal. Later, the Rockband VR announcement, made at the 2015 Game Awards, was perhaps not quite as clear cut in terms of its PR success.
Now, Oculus is perhaps preparing to unleash its software secrets to the world. At an invite-only event, due to take place ahead of the San Francisco Game Developer Conference (GDC) on March 13th, Oculus are asking members of the press to “come check out the latest titles and multi-player games.”
The event’s announcement, in conjunction with hints from Palmer that we “will hear more very, very soon,” about the last big Oculus software news before launch, seems to indicate we’re likely in for at least some surprises come March 13th.
Valve recently held a similar event earlier this month, designed that a solid software line up was forming for the launch of their flagship SteamVR hardware HTC Vive in April. In the end, although the titles on show were extremely promising, the event perhaps lacked a single title which would instantly appeal to traditional gamers looking for brand recognition before they take the plunge into VR.
So, in the face of a formidable rival, it’s up to Oculus to pull out their big software guns to make impact as possible ahead of their small retail head start in March.
Road to VR will of course be at the event ahead of GDC and VRDC 2016, to bring the news as it breaks.