Hold on to your hat…here comes the VR arms race

Jacob Mullins
Sep 23, 2016 · 3 min read

Excitement for Virtual Reality has been building for some time, but come October 2016 we will enter the first round of the title fight. 2016 Holiday sales will be fueled by a VR frenzy backed by billion dollar hardware players looking to carve out their brand, customer base and future platform staying power.

This is Mac vs. PC, iPhone vs. Android all over again. Except this time incumbency will be established far sooner thanks to vibrant indie developer bases and tech hungry consumers. What will start as gaming and entertainment will introduce a new paradigm of compute that will affect the way all people will consume, input and interact with information over the next 10 years.

Beginning within the next 20 days we will see…

October 4: Google’s anticipated “Hardware” event where they are expected to announce full details of their Daydream platform which will set software and hardware specifications to create and enable high quality mobile VR experiences. Mobile VR has thus far been the most accessible and low cost way for consumers to get into a VR experience today, via their mobile phones and a relatively inexpensive Cardboard or GearVR head mounted display, though the quality of the experience has been relatively low fidelity. Google Daydream is expected to set a minimum standard for mobile phone processing, battery consumption, screen resolution and optic refresh rate, as well as a robust software developer platform, which will create a high quality standard for Mobile VR.

October 5–7: Oculus’s Connect conference, the company’s third developer conference is where they are expected to launch the highly anticipated Oculus Touch controllers, hoping to bring experiential parity to the HTC Vive platform, and lock their product suite as they go into Q4 holiday season.

October 13: Playstation VR devices ship and floodgates open. This will be the largest consumer brand push of Virtual Reality we’ve seen yet, to an established customer base of over 40M owners of existing PS4s (necessary to run PSVR). Pre-sales of Playstation VR, which opened in late June, were sold out within “minutes” through both GameStop and Amazon. Sony has smartly coordinated a launch of over 50 AAA game franchises to launch VR titles alongside, exclusively. (UploadVR is keeping a great “50 Days of PS VR Countdown” list featuring these titles). If PS4's launch in Nov 2013 is any guide, which sold 1M units within 24 hours of launch, Sony will be the far and away VR industry leader heading into 2017.

As the hardware platform wars heat up, it’s very promising to see growth on the software side, as well. Survios’ Raw Data game, on HTC Vive, is recently the first consumer VR game to reach $1M in sales revenue within one month. Expect this revenue milestone to bring other hungry creators to the space.

Now the big question will be, which platform(s) to build for ? In the next three months, we’ll see…

If you’re interested in this stuff you should join us at VR Tuesday, next one is Oct 11, 2016 in San Francisco!

Partner at Shasta Ventures investing in Smart Software: Applied AI, Computer Vision, Blockchain, and Financial Services.

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