GDC is right here as soon as once more, all subsequent week we’ll have boots on the bottom bringing you the newest VR/AR information. Held yearly in San Francisco, Game Developers Conference has undeniably been a focus for VR the business, and as augmented reality continues to warmth up, we anticipate it to be more and more necessary for AR as nicely. Here’s a glance at what we’re anticipating to discover subsequent week from the highest VR/AR corporations.
When it comes to HTC, most everybody’s thoughts is on the Vive Pro. The headset, revealed at CES in January, boasts improved resolution, ergonomics, SteamVR Tracking 2.0, and more, however the firm stopped in need of saying the worth or availability of the headset past saying it might arrive in Q1. With GDC being the final main occasion in Q1, hosted only a week earlier than the top of the quarter, and given the presence of HTC at GDC in years previous, it definitely looks like the suitable place and time to reveal the worth and launch date of the Vive Pro, if not a delay.
HTC has stated that the Vive Pro headset alone would be the first to launch (as an improve for many who have already got Vive controllers and base stations), and that a full package (headset with new base stations and controllers) will come later within the yr.
Given the timing, we anticipate to see HTC demoing content material virtually solely on Vive Pro headsets, and there’s a great probability we’ll see a couple of extra experiences utilizing the new Vive Trackers with SteamVR 2.0 Tracking.
Vive Focus, the corporate’s first standalone VR headset, is an enormous deal for HTC as a result of past the headset itself, the corporate is constructing its personal platform to run it, referred to as Vive Wave. For now although, Vive Focus hasn’t been introduced on the market within the US, and so whereas we anticipate to discover it floating round GDC, we don’t anticipate any main bulletins, although HTC will in all probability be encouraging cellular VR builders to have a look and think about bringing their content material to the platform.
HTC is holding one sponsored GDC session, VR Best Practices: Maximize Your Audience with New VDA2 Winners, the place the corporate is bringing a panel of builders, who have been recipients of the current Viveport Developer Awards, to speak about constructing VR titles for distribution throughout a number of VR platforms.
Don’t Expect Valve’s VR Games or Knuckles
When it comes to Valve and VR, two issues instantly come to thoughts: 1) the truth that the company has said they’re developing “three full [VR] games, not experiments,” and a couple of) the Knuckles VR controllers that the corporate revealed all the way back in 2016.
Unfortunately, we don’t anticipate to see both at GDC. For one, the timing doesn’t appear fairly proper. As a personal firm not pressured by shareholders or a board, Valve tends to work at their very own tempo and never present something till they’ve reached their very own inner milestones. And contemplating HTC has confirmed that Knuckles won’t ship with the Vive Pro, it appears Knuckles continues to be a methods off.
We anticipate that when Valve reveals a near-final model of Knuckles, it’ll come at the identical time (or close to to it) that they reveal their first VR title, which in all probability gained’t occur till later this yr, if not 2019.
So What Will Valve Be Showing?
If we’re unlikely to hear something about Valve’s VR games or Knuckles, then what’s the corporate doing at GDC? Well in fact VR solely makes up a small portion of their enterprise, so I’m positive Valve can be busy selling its non-VR content material, however in years previous they’ve devoted a big portion of their GDC area to VR demos from third-party builders constructing SteamVR content material, and we’re anticipating one thing comparable this yr.
Santa Cruz is Oculus’ high-end standalone VR headset. It’s nonetheless only a prototype for now (therefore the bizarre identify), and Oculus has been coy a few launch date and worth, not to mention what the headset will finally appear to be and do when it’s prepared for shoppers.. We’re not anticipating to hear main information about Santa Cruz at GDC, because it nonetheless appears a bit of too early within the headset’s improvement lifecycle. However, Oculus is planning an in-booth session to talk to developers about developing for Santa Cruz, honing in on what makes it totally different from constructing VR apps for Gear VR and the Rift.
Oculus Go, the corporate’s low-end standalone VR headset, was introduced again in October, 2017, and is claimed to be launching in “early 2018.” With Q1 shortly coming to an finish, it appears that evidently the headset ought to be launching quickly, however Oculus hasn’t provided an replace on the launch of the $200 headset. With the Go already spotted in retail packaging, it appears potential that we might see the primary hands-on demos of Go at GDC, however nonetheless robust to say, particularly with rumors that the headset will launch at Facebook’s F8 conference in May.
Years in the past, Oculus used GDC to present their newest hardware, however extra just lately they’ve used the occasion to concentrate on content material. The firm has confirmed we’ll see some brand new VR demos at GDC, however whether or not or not it’ll be all third-party content material or new Oculus Studios content material continues to be unknown. Oculus’ 6,000 sq. foot sales space on the GDC expo flooring is among the many largest within the occasion’s South Hall.
As for more information on recognized titles, we anticipate to hear extra about Marvel Powers United VR, and hope to hear some additional information about Echo Combat, although the latter is much less probably.
Oculus is holding two sponsored periods, one of which promises an overview of Oculus’ roadmap for 2018, and the opposite is about designing VR content for player embodiment.
Beyond these two sponsored periods, the corporate is planning a number of different developer-focused periods, some at their sales space, and a few within the conventional GDC session setting; yow will discover their full breakdown of sessions here.