Today’s announcement of the release window for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) surprised many people, and yet having a confirmed launch period is most definitely seen as a very good thing for the virtual reality (VR) industry. VRFocus has contacted a number of notable development studios for their reactions to the announcement, to which the response has been unsurprisingly positive.
CGI specialists Framestore have worked on a number of installation pieces using various Oculus Rift HMDs and are undoubtedly keen to see more of the final consumer model. “We’re hugely excited. We’re rabidly combing the Oculus subreddit like everybody else. Is that really a microphone?” Stated Mike Woods, Head of VR Studio at Framestore, “In all seriousness, its great to finally think that this amazing rollercoaster we’ve all been on will finally break into the wider world and justify all of our excitable intentions, and multiple projects to date. We’re gloriously agnostic when it comes to headsets, but it all started at DK1 for us so the romance is infectious.”
Framestore aren’t the only ones holding a candle for Oculus VR’s enviable HMD design. Patrick O’Luanaigh, CEO of nDreams, has been a keen supporter of VR for a number of years, famously announcing that the company was to become one of the first VR exclusive studios in the UK, with Gear VR shooter Gunner already available and a number of other titles currently in development.
“It is fantastic to finally have a launch window for the first consumer version of the Oculus – one of the most eagerly awaited pieces of technology of all time,” states O’Luanaigh. “Palmer [Luckey] and the Oculus team kicked off the new generation of VR, and we’re incredibly excited to see all their hard work come to fruition. Oculus are hugely passionate about VR, and I have no doubt that the final headset will blow people away.”
Both Framestore and nDreams are clearly keen to seen the hardware reach consumers, but other developers have a more appreciative view of Oculus VR with regards to their own business practices. Ikrima Elhassan, co-founder of Kite & Lightning, remains enthusiastic about the hardware but is more so about finally having a roadmap for future development.
“We’re super excited! Having a concrete release date helps us plan and schedule our launch content,” states Elhassan. “And we’re hoping to see this galvanize other HMD manufacturers towards announcing more concrete dates for their release schedules.”
Grounded views of the launch window announcement are also coming from developers already deeply involved in VR. E McNeill, famous for launching his debut VR title, Darknet, for free alongside the Gear VR Innovator Edition release, has clearly been paying attention to Oculus VR’s official commentary. “The launch timing is no great surprise to those who have been following Oculus’s statements closely, but it’s great to finally have a release window that we can count on,” offers McNeill. “I would have loved to see the launch sooner, of course, but I support Oculus taking the time to do it right.”
Reload Studios, who recently revealed their debut title World War Toons, are happy that the confirmation of the consumer hardware is finally with us given their close connections to Oculus VR. “We’ve enjoyed a long standing relationship with Oculus and are excited to see their public announcement for a Q1 2016 release,” offers Pete Blumel, Executive Producer at Reload Studios. Never one to mix words, Blumel boldly states: “2016 will indeed be the year of VR.”
There are many more developers offering comment on the announcement and the current state of VR, and of course VRFocus will bring you more words from these influential bodies as the Oculus Rift consumer release takes shape.