Just because Oculus Connect hasn't officially started doesn't mean there isn't plenty of VR action to see. Tonight's TechCrunch Meetup featured the welcome fare of new Oculus Rift DK2 games, a metaverse, and developing controller devices by the likes of Control VR and Sixense. However, the surprise of the evening was an early look at Gear VR thanks to an impromptu appearance of Next VR.
Co-Founded by David Cole and DJ Roller, Next VR is a professional grade VR camera system that captures 360-degree stereoscopic 3D content that is compatible with head-tracked HMDs like the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus. It's technology like theirs that will make it possible for users to remotely experience events from far distances. Forget Pay Per View -- think Pay Per Experience!
Gear VR is the result of a strategic partnership between Samsung and Oculus VR. A hybrid of a Samsung Note 4 smartphone and the Gear VR add-on, it represents an easy-to-use VR experience on the go. It's too early to comment on what Gear VR is ultimately capable of, but even though the Next VR footage I saw was not processor intensive, Gear VR was definitely one of the best mobile VR implementations I have seen to date. The Next VR footage was also far better than what I had seen at CES 2014 in January, so this looks extremely promising.
Another highlight was Darkfield VR, a space combat game that is preparing for a Kickstarter launch. According to Mark Schramm, VR Bits' Director, they've been working on Darkfield VR for a year and a half – and the effort shows. Given its limited budget, with a little more money and polish Darkfield VR could seriously give EVE Valkyrie a run for its money.
Tom's Hardware will have more to share from Oculus Connect soon enough. Stay tuned.