Our production remains on track for launch later this year. Work on the remaining plastic injection molds is progressing nicely. The molds for the Omni “Towers” are scheduled for test shots by the end of October. The longest lead-time molds that still remain are those for the plastic parts of the Omni ring, which are scheduled for test shots by mid-November.
TRAVR: Training Ops and TRAVR: Shadow Ops
Our Kickstarter stretch goal game, TRAVR, is starting to come together too, and you may be surprised at how much content and how many levels we’ve developed for you! Upon the release of the Omni, TRAVR: Training Ops will contain 50 levels for you to play through while getting your ‘VR legs’. After you have set a few record times and put your name on the universal leader board, you’ll be ready to move onto a real TRAVR mission in TRAVR: Shadow Ops. See below for some screenshots of our latest builds:
To create all this content, we have steadily expanded our content development team under the leadership of our Director of Games, Robert Brackenridge. Our dev team now has six talented developers, and you may have come across some of their forum posts about the process of VR game development and the features that will be included in our TRAVR games. If interested, check out these forum threads posted by Nick and Cameron.
Virtuix attended the recent Austin VR meet-up and came away impressed by the rapid evolution and growth of our VR community. We look forward to showing the Omni for the first time at VR Austin next month!
Meanwhile, our president and COO, David Allan, appeared at the MEMS Industry Group Asia Conference in Shanghai to advise sensor makers on meeting the technical needs of low-latency VR motion sensing. Other speakers included executives from HTC, Bosch, STMicroelectronics, Freescale, and InvenSense.
VR Industry Developments
- Disney led a $65 million investment in Jaunt’s VR camera and content business.
- Samsung will begin selling a consumer version of its Gear VR headset for $99 later this fall.
- Apple is believed to be entering the virtual reality and augmented reality space.
- Facebook is looking to bring virtual reality to mobile devices with a 360-degree video app.
- Canon is getting into the consumer VR game with a prototype head-mounted display.
- PlayStation named its virtual reality head-mounted display and platform “PlayStation VR”, which is scheduled for release in early 2016.
- Both Netflix and Hulu are coming to virtual reality. These streaming media services will offer content for the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR.
- GoPro is now selling its virtual reality rig, “Odyssey.”
- Deutsche Bank has projected the virtual reality industry to be worth up to $7 billion within five years as mainstream adoption ramps up post 2016.
As we all realize, first-person shooters and many other popular game genres require first-person movement in-game. For this reason, moving around inside games and other VR environments (which we call “Active VR”) is how most consumers envision using VR. Who of us hasn’t dreamed of playing Half Life 2 or Skyrim in VR? Yet a major challenge still exists: Active VR causes motion sickness when seated. The alternative, room-scale VR setups, allow for standing and limited walking but are rather unsafe and impractical. Seated VR and room-scale VR both fall short of comfortably and safely delivering the action that popular game genres require. As a result, many of the new VR games in development use novel navigation schemes like teleportation or stand-and-shoot.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to the Omni, Active VR games and experiences are not only possible, they make VR fun and addictive. The Omni provides the only safe way to experience Active VR without motion sickness. Our first-person TRAVR games combine Active VR with multiplayer social engagement, which we believe to be a combination that provides the VR experience that will prove most popular among consumers. Indeed, we are excited about the long-term role the Omni can play to enable the VR experiences gamers dream of, and to become a dominant platform for the emerging VR medium.
Community, we are on track to begin shipping our first batch of Omnis by the end of this year. While our story will not have been without its share of delays, we hope you appreciate the necessity to make sure we do this right. The future is in our hands. Let’s show that VR is fun and can become the primary medium for video games. By achieving this, VR will become a part of people’s daily lives, and the benefits of VR may extend further than any of us can see today.
As always, thank you for your continued belief and support. The Omni is coming soon!
Please join us on our Forums if you’d like to discuss this update or anything VR related: http://forum.virtuix.com
Jan and the Virtuix Team