My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: @Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 - How @samsung Gear VR is Gearing up for Competition in the VR and AR Space

Sunday, March 1, 2015

@Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 - How @samsung Gear VR is Gearing up for Competition in the VR and AR Space

Developers, do you think you have what it takes to make the next big Game or App for the Samsung Gear VR?

Then how does a Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 hosted by Oculus Rift worth US$1,000,000 sound to you as noted in the article “As competitors spring up, Oculus plans mobile VR contest”, published Feb. 25, 2015 - 11:00 AM PST Signe Brewster, Gigaom.

Oculus Rift, the company that CEO Brendan Iribe sold to Facebook back in March 2014 for US$2 billion as noted in my blog article entitled “Facebook buys Oculus Rift for US$2 billion - Facebook Social Virtual Reality Future as Smartwatches and smartglasses herald the death of the smartphone in 2015”, is doing exactly that.

They’re launching a Mobile VR Jam Competition with some US$1,000,000 in prizes and gifts on Wednesday February 25th, 2015 for develops to design apps for Samsung's Gear VR Virtual Reality headset as reported in the article “Oculus holds $1 million competition Mobile VR Jam 2015”, published February 25, 2015, by Lindsey Caldwell, SlashGear.

Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 - Golden opportunity to enter VR and AR Heaven

The Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 starts Monday April 13th 2015 and ends Monday May 11th 2015.

It is a part of Oculus push to generate interest among Developers in designing Games and Apps for the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition  as noted in the article “Oculus offers $1 million prize pool for Gear VR developers”, published by February 25th 2015 at 5:35 pm by Jessica Conditt, EnGadget.

This is the second time that Oculus is holding a VR Jam, with the last being back in 2013, when Darknet walked away with US$50,000 in top prize honours. That particular Developer is still making VR content as well as other gaming content, evidence enough that this isn't a fad, but a golden opportunity to be at the doorstep of VR and AR (Augmented Reality) Heaven.

A year on and they've upped the prize to US$1,000,000 in a mixture of cash and prizes that's split between two (2) broad categories:

1.      Games
2.      Apps

Within each category, somewhat like a 100 meter Race, winners will be chosen to win the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes. In each category, the Platinum winners will receive the following prizes:

1.      US$200,000 for the best VR game
2.      US$100,000 for the best VR App

The Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes are lower tier prizes with the Bronze prize winner picking up US$10,000.  But the publicity garnered by entering the competition is something very few Developers can finance, making entering the competition money than worthwhile.

Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 - How Samsung is Gearing up for Competition in the VR Space

Oculus has licensed their VR technology to Samsung which they used to develope the Samsung Gear VR as noted in the article “Samsung's Gear VR is a portable Oculus Rift for the Galaxy Note 4”, published September 3, 2014 09:30 am by Dan Seifert, The Verge.

The Samsung Gear VR uses your existing Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with a special App to bring you a wire free, immersive Reality experience akin to the Oculus Rift. The main problem though, typical of any new nascent multi-media product, is the lack of content.

Hence the Mobile VR Jam Competition to spark developer interest as Sony, Microsoft and now Google are in the running with their VR Headgear as reported in the article “The VR race: who's closest to making VR a reality?”, published Wednesday 11.02.2015 by JT Ripton and Lily Prasuethsut, TechRadar.

Samsung Gear VR Developer Edition competition - HTC and Valve debut HTC Vive Developer Edition

Now with MWC (Mobile World Conference) under way in Barcelona, Spain, the first salvo has been fired by HTC.

HTC is partnering with Streaming Game maker Steam and their Gaming System Valve as the content provider of Games to make the HTC Vive, their version of a Virtual Reality Headset as noted in the article “Valve's VR headset is called the Vive and it's made by HTC”, published March 1, 2015 By Dante D'Orazio and Vlad Savov, The Verge.

The HTC Vive Developer Edition uses two 1200 x 1080 displays with a 90 fps (frames per second) refresh rate. With jitter reduced, the HTC Vive Developer Edition is said to give you a 360-degree views.

Combined with a built in gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensor to track head movement, precise orientation of your physical location in space as where your head and eyes are pointing serve as inputs that Game Developers can use to make very immersive VR experiences.

But what may give the Samsung Gear VR a run for their money is that the HTC Vive Developer Edition comes packing a Steam VR base station, creating a virtual 15” by 15” space within which you can actually move around in instead of using controller. The Samsung Gear VR uses head movements combined with a controller, making the experience immersive, but no different from sitting on a couch playing a video Game.

The HTC Vive Developer Edition is somewhat reminiscent of the Microsoft Kinect, which is powered by 3D Motion Tracking Technology developed by Israeli based Primesense, a company that Apple eventually purchased back in July 2013 as noted in my blog article entitled “Apple buys Israeli-based Primesense that makes the Microsoft Kinect - Apple's Siri and Kinect Heralds of a coming world free of Remote Controls”.

So with the competition piling on and the VR space ripe for developement and possibly the next big thing in Gaming, entering the Oculus Mobile VR Jam 2015 seems like the perfect way for any Game Developer interested in VR and AR to get their head in the Game!

Here's the link:

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