The Oculus Launchpad Experience

I am now part of the Oculus Launchpad 2018, a program Oculus runs yearly to help selected creators to launch their content to the Oculus ecosystem, they provide first-league mentors, funding and a new ecosystem of creators to collaborate with.

Is interesting that they are not limiting creators to launch their contents for other devices (Daydream, Vive, etc.) which is key when we are speaking about an early technology that still needs to be validated by the market.

The initial boot-camp

This weekend I have been in their initial boot-camp, where they have shown us the best practices to develop for the new devices, like the Oculus Go; and we have listen about the needs that Oculus have, like what kind of titles are they waiting to see in the store seeing the market demands.

For this kind of advise they have put in front of us the best minds that are working with them, like Laura Fryer, from Facebook Reality Labs and former GM at Epic Games; Jason Rubin, VP of Content at Oculus and creator of Crash Bandicoot; Brock Heinz, creator of the mythical Left 4 Dead and Face Your Fears, among others, the list is very long.

And that’s not all! We are going to have an online weekly session with new top mentors for more than 10 weeks. Awesome!

Surrounded by talent!

The best thing about the Oculus Launchpad is that you are surrounded by talent, in the boot-camp, you can speak randomly to any participant, and s/he will have an amazing story behind and amazing plans for the future. You have Unity developers, 360–3D video producers, sound composers, etc.

It is a well balanced mix of different backgrounds, that’s why Oculus is encouraging us to collaborate each other, this is a collaborative competition, they want us to mix our talents to create something bigger than the things we can create alone.

Diversity

Oculus is doing an awesome effort to have the highest diversity possible in the program, we have people from different origins, histories, ages, genres and passions.
This is great for the ecosystem, cause each one has a different point of view to create contents for VR from the reality that is living.

First league mentors

During the boot-camp we have had some very (very!) long Q&A sessions with the top minds working at and with Oculus. It has been awesome listening in first-person what the VP of Content at Oculus wants to see published in the Oculus store. Or listening to the inspiring experience of Robin Hunick, a pioneer woman in the game industry that has worked with EA producing the Wii version of the famous “Sims” among other big achievements, like being the first woman in a Game Jam!

Left: Robin Hunicke, one of the first female game designers and GamJamers. Right: Jason Rubin, VP of Content at Oculus and creator of Crash Bandicoot.

Funding

Oculus will fund the winning participants after the first phase, and this is not a funding where Oculus own your soul, house and kids. It is smart-funding, meaning that Oculus is not owning your product, they want you to succeed to increase the ecosystem of Oculus Apps, and not blocking your access to other markets. This reflects the commitment they have with the whole VR community, including the Vivers and Daydreamers.

Access to Oculus equipment! Santa Cruz?

Oculus is providing access to Rift and Go to the participants, and probably almost all of us are targeting the Go as the platform, I personally think is the way to go, VR is gonna be mobile. And Christmas will be the sweet spot for Oculus, when the Oculus Go will be the hero in the main physical stores.

The Santa Cruz prototype during the development. Source: RoadtoVR, provided by Oculus.

Aaand… I am really willing to try what can be achieved with Santa Cruz, the first 6DOF standalone device with tracked controllers, the first step to cut the dependency from a powerful computer. It is the most sexy thing Oculus have inside right now.

So I am very excited about what is going to happen in the following weeks and months, and I will keep you posted! In the meantime, get a Go! 😎