2014 was a banner year for virtual reality (VR) technology, so much so that you might think the likes of Oculus VR and Samsung had earned a bit of rest at the start of 2015. Well, just as with every other technology company in the world, the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is here to deny them that rest. The four-day event takes places in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA from 6th – 9th January, promising to showcase the usual assortment of jaw dropping technology. Some of these items fans will be able to get their hands on in 2015 while others will appear as far flung predictions of the future. But what news will the show hold in terms of VR?
Expectations aren’t high for major news from the VR frontrunners this year. And, let’s face it, ‘major news’ translates to ‘release dates’ at this point. Oculus VR did reveal its Crystal Cove prototype at last year’s show, but with the Crescent Bay prototype revealed as recently as September 2014 it’s hard to see the next major step in the journey to the consumer version (CV1) being made here. Given that the release of the consumer Oculus Rift is still being talked about as ‘months away’, if not almost a full year, a safer bet for information would be less crowded events in the months to come. Still, Crescent Bay will be in attendance and there could potentially be some smaller news to share.
Gear VR, Oculus VR and Samsung’s smartphone-based HMD seems to be a more likely candidate for some big news. That’s mainly because, despite having launched in the US late last year, the device is still yet to see a release in other countries. Not only that but fans are still holding out on news of the arrival of a full, premium store in which developers can charge for full experiences. Without it, VR enthusiasts are currently left with free demos and videos to sample instead of full videogames to get lost in, unless they’re playing Darknet. CES is obviously based in the US so news on an international launch may not feature, but hopefully there will be some promising updates.
Despite the temptation to think of it as such, CES is not a videogame show. Any titles that do make an appearance are usually sporting some new hardware, be it controllers or PCs. As such, don’t expect to hear all that much from Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and the Project Morpheus HMD at this year’s event. Last year saw the company announce its PlayStation Now streaming service, although this was really taking advantage of the Keynote speech that was hosted by company CEO Kaz Hirai. Again, with a 2015 launch hopeful, videogame-focused events in the coming months will surely be the better option for SCE to make announcements.
But while CES 2015 might not prove to be a big event for the major VR companies, you can expect everyone else to be out in full force. There are no doubt a large number of third party companies working with the Oculus Rift, Gear VR and Project Morpheus set to showcase their technology as well as other hopeful HMDs looking for some time in the spotlight. Pictures of a new 3D Head HMD have already been leaked and VR peripherals will likely be scattered across the show floor from controllers to headphones and more. In that respect, it will be an exciting event to see just how companies are experimenting with VR and trying to take its immersion to the next level.
VRFocus is at CES 2015. You can expect full coverage of whatever VR news does come in as well as hands-on, interviews and much more.
‘VR vs’ is VRFocus’ weekly feature that takes an issue currently challenging the VR industry and discusses how to fix it. Looking at everything from the videogames in development to the strength of the technology, we highlight the problems and try to come up with the best solutions.