Virtual Reality is still in its infancy but several major players are ready to support Oculus’ plans. At the Oculus Connect conference, it was announced that Netflix, Vimeo, Hulu, and Twitch will deliver content. Minecraft and a new "game" from Epic will also be available in VR.
Movies and TV series in Virtual Reality
We are still waiting eagerly for the first VR headsets to arrive. They will enable you to be experience a virtual reality that feels almost real. Here are some of the first experiences you can expect in VR.
Netflix was one of the major announcements but before you get too excited it should be noted that Netflix does not stream actual VR content. Instead, they have created a virtual living room with a red sofa and a big flat display showing the classic Netflix user interface. At the moment you can only select this particular living room setting. If you own the “Innovator’s Edition” of Gear VR you can start watching now.
Twitch, the live gaming streaming service, will be available soon. You can watch other people play games but only in 2D. In the future, one could imagine that you can get “inside” the game to experience; a kind of social VR gameplay experience.
Vimeo, one of the YouTube competitors, will launch on Gear VR and Oculus Rift soon. Another US-based streaming provides, Hulu, will offer traditional TV shows and movies, and is even working on “short form” VR content.
Facebook recently introduced 360-degree videos. On a PC or mobile device you can shift the perspective but these videos are obviously created with VR in mind. The 360-degree videos can be watched in Oculus Rift and Gear VR.
VR games, Touch, Medium, Arcade and PCs
Gaming in VR could be big and one of the major announcements yesterday was Minecraft. John Carmack, who works for Oculus, said that it had been a struggle to close the deal but that the papers were signed shortly before the presentation. Game developer Epic will also release a “game” called Bullet Train, built on Unreal Engine 4.
Oculus released a short trailer for some of the other games that are coming out and announced that the finished developer tools (SDK 1.0) will be ready in November. These tools will enable developers all over the world to begin building VR experiences. With Oculus Arcade you can play 80s games such as Sonic, Spy Hunter and Pac-Man on a virtual game machine.
"Oculus Medium" is a platform that allows everyone to draw and create object in the virtual world; a kind of 3D drawing.
Oculus also featured its Touch controllers with built-in sensors that allow the user to freely move arms. The physical movement is then translated to movement in the virtual world.
In collaboration with 20th Century Fox, Oculus will offer 100 movies for rent in its virtual cinema environment, Oculus Video.
Lastly, Oculus announced in collaboration with Dell, Alienware and Asus a certification program of so-called “Oculus Ready” PCs that are built to the optimal specifications for VR. These PCs will be available for less than $1000 dollars.