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Thursday, June 11, 2015

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Capital Factory

701 Brazos Street #1601, Austin, TX (map)

  • Capital Factory 701 Brazos Street #1601, (16th floor) Austin, TX (The Omni Hotel Building) The OMNI is between 7th. and 8th. St. and Brazos and San Jacinto . There is parking in the basement for $5. if you get a voucher ticket at Capital Factory.

Oculus Rift, and its virtual reality (VR) proprietary head mounted display device (HMD) has been hyped and demo'd to death for several years now, just about anywhere and everywhere to everyone seemingly possible. Even though the majority of the demos are still more "science-experiment" in nature rather than truly "hit-oriented" compelling, the media have talked about Rift incessantly since its initial rollout, describing it as a complete game-changer which will revolutionize video games, film and other experiences. Indeed, VR developers have had Rift development kits in their hands since late 2013.

Despite major new financial support from Facebook, which acquired them for $2 billion more than a year ago, Oculus Rift has yet to deliver a major proprietary product as originally announced. The only partial rollout product to date has been its joint development licensing deal with Samsung for the Rift-powered Note 4 Gear headset phone solution which Samsung developed and is now selling on a limited basis. It's therefore understandable that with over 100,000 Oculus Rift developers invested in Rift's future success, many have been disappointed and fairly discouraged with the product rollout delays. Some have started to call Rift the new "Segway for the eyes".

But with the recent Steam/ HTC VR Vive announcements, and the expansion of Sony's Developers Program and its upcoming targeted 2016 release of Sony's Morpheus VR system, it appears that VR might be on the verge of a tipping point if promised VR products with killer game content can hit the market by year end. And that's a big "if".

There are many questions around how the VR space is developing ranging from the creation and availability of compelling "hit-based" content to cross-platform development to discovery, distribution channels and our old friend, monetization. At the center of this dialogue is the notable lack of consumer-ready VR devices and killer content available for mass purchase as well as the major marketing programs required to create mass market interest in VR.

Nobody knows for sure. And that is a certainty.

This month our guest speaker, Neal Nellans, CEO and founder of the Austin-based VR Studio Ghost Machine(, will talk about how this recent news affects the independent developer, and how gamemakers both seasoned and noob may be able to take advantage of this new technology as well a possible target game content and markets which might be the most successful to pursue in the future. Neal has been there since the beginning and knows both the promises and perils of developing and distributing video games in VR's unchartered waters.

Ghost Machine is an interactive VR company formed shortly after Nellans demoed his first VR experience, a motorcycle racing game called Superbike TT, at the 2014 SXSW Interactive conference. In the following year, Ghost Machine launched and has successfully been selling 2 VR games onto the newly formed Steam VR platform and currently has several other VR titles in development which will be be released on all major VR platforms including Sony Morpheus.

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