The UpTake: Don't be distracted by the news of a sexy new virtual reality headset made in partnership between two popular tech companies. The real news here is that four new products also announced today could change entertainment software forever.
By Michael del Castillo
This week, Oculus VR formally announced a secret yearlong partnership with Samsung to turn its new mobile device, the Galaxy Note 4, into a virtual reality headset. But it’s the four new “experiences” that are part of the deal that could throw a huge wrench in a lot of other businesses plans.
“We don’t have the raw horsepower of a high end gaming PC (yet), but there are valuable compensations that make it a very interesting trade off,” said Oculus VR CTO John Carmack in a statement. “And many developers will thrive on the platform, especially as it improves at the rapid pace of the mobile ecosystem.”
A year ago I told Palmer Luckey's story, about how he'd invented what would become Oculus Rift in his parent's garage. He was the boy wonder swept up in a rollercoaster of success after John Carmack demoed his VR headset at E3 2012. Zoom went the Kickstarter campaign; zoom went the flood of excited, experimental game support; zoom went the increasingly massive piles of money raised by investors. A year later he was a millionaire, and now, two years later, he's a multi-multi-millionaire, his company acquired by one of the biggest around, Facebook, and for a staggering $2bn.
This morning's Samsung IFA event was almost two hours of treacly scripted banter. But midway through, we got a solid four minutes of Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack (who pioneered 3D graphics with games like Doom and Quake) going over the principles of virtual reality displays and how to get blur-free video on the Note 4-powered Gear VR headset. This is one of the few opportunities you will get to watch a brilliant man in a T-shirt and cargo pants explain kernel drivers, clock rates, and context-prioritized GPU threads during a major corporate launch event. Don't squander