Despite more players entering the VR gaming arena this year at E3, Oculus still guides the future.
Despite more players entering the VR gaming arena this year at E3, Oculus still guides the future. This was my reaction after attending E3 2016. 3 years ago I tried Rift DK1 and a prototype for EVE Valkyrie at E3 and thought it stole the show despite it being in a small room and not on the main floor.
3 years later we now have Playstation bringing some power house AAA licenses to Playstation VR, HTC Vive showcasing fully immersive motion controlled experiences, and Microsoft playing the future game. Where does this leave Oculus? Well based on my experience at E3, I say it leaves them unafraid, constantly pushing, and the ones that set the bar.
First of all, the Oculus E3 booth had a level of professionalism that differentiated it from the pomp and circumstance of many video game booths that are set up at E3. The level of organization and customer service at the booth was outstanding. The lines were organized, demos were controlled so many people could have them, and the showcases ranged from several GearVR games to trying Oculus Touch. I personally think that Oculus does not get enough credit for what they are bringing to the mobile VR table since the focus of press has been drawn away from GearVR. The thing is for many people GearVR will be a doorway to help spread VR to the masses and Oculus delivers in the now.
Despite Playstation having several recognizable properties backing the Playstation VR lineup, Oculus looks to help developers create brand new experiences and build from there.
At E3 Feral Rites, the action brawler from Insomniac was playable for the first time; Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight super impressed me with soaring gameplay and control mechanics; and High Voltage Software’s previewed all-new levels of Damaged Core. I recently spoke with High Voltage Chief Creative Officer Eric Nofsinger about working with Oculus Studios and he had nothing but praise for the level of support Oculus offers developers.
One of the biggest things HTC Vive has going for it is it's motion controls and I was intrigued to see how Oculus Touch would compare. Oculus Touch controls felt more natural to me on the get go than my first time with Vive's and I am excited to see where they go with it. That brings me to the point of a gaming community. While Playstation's VR offering had an air of exclusivity with their appointment system, Oculus brought VR to the masses and even did several live stream with people at E3. I ended up streaming a few session of the fantastic western themed shooter Dead And Buried with the man himself, Palmer Luckey which you can see at the :51 min mark of this video.
Palmer Luckey was also a very great person to talk to, interact with, and also really seemed to care about VR fans. The Oculus team grabbed random people to stream with Palmer and it was fun. This fun, loose, and informative demeanor was present with everyone at the Oculus booth. The felling of comfort was very present at the booth and I returned quite often to get away from the cluster craziness and bright lights generally associated with the E3 expo floor. I would come back to play Ubisoft's Eagle Flight as a form of soaring guided meditation. I am the bird!
The thing about VR is I truly believe it is not a gimmick and is here to stay. That Oculus kickstarter from not to long ago started this hoopla and it looks like they will continue to not treat it like a gimmick but more like the future and meow.