DecaGear 1: An Elaborate Scam Or The Revolution Of VR?
How Megadodo Simulation Games promises to revolutionize VR-Gaming out of nowhere
Their promise sounds like the next big step in VR-technology: High-resolution displays to deliver 4K VR gaming, integrated eye- and face-tracking to incorporate a player’s facial expressions into games — a feature which will excite players of VR-Chat the most — and latency-free hand- and hip-tracking with controllers that are designed similar to the current market leaders, the Valve Index controllers.
They also provide a small adapter called DecaAir for around $50 to allow wireless gaming, similar to the Oculus Quest 2.
And the whole package will be available for only $449, with shipping starting from March 2021.
Too good to be true? Until now, no one has ever heard of the company with around 30 employees. Who are Megadodo Simulation Games?
A brief company history
Megadodo Simulation Games was founded in 2018, according to their LinkedIn profile. Its founder is a man named Or Kuntzman, who studied at Tel Aviv University, Israel, and then started his first tech startup in 2004, called Targetpoint Ltd. — a developer of performance-based ad-networks. The company was subsequently sold to Cydoor Desktop Media in 2009, which has been identified as an adware developer.
Following the sale, he founded another company named Install Labs LTD, which was active from 2011 to 2013. Then he worked as managing director for Hong Kong-based company Betastamp for the last 7 years.
I was unable to find any information regarding any of those 3 companies apart from their appearance in his LinkedIn profile, but VR-news website Upload VR asked Kuntzman about the alleged involvement in distributing adware, to which he replied:
“Target point was an text advertising search company, we offered search mechanism with integrated monetisation to websites, until Google came and offer the same. But we manage to sell the company before it happen. install labs was an adware install technology which maybe sounds like a shady business now, but back then it was mainstream. Yahoo and Google fight on global search share and they basically funded all the adware industry by paying for their toolbar installations 80% of our revenues came from Google, the rest was yahoo , Babylon , etc.”
So I’ll leave it to the experts in these areas to judge whether this was shady or not. Megadodo Simulation Games describes itself as a decentralized company, with offices in Bangkok, Singapore, and Brasil.
Their main office from which they do all the work right now is the one in Bangkok and forms the quasi headquarters. The reason for this decentralization is attributed to the difficulties in finding talented engineers and programmers, who are often found in all corners of the world, and getting them all to Thailand is a difficult and costly task.
DecaGear 1 — The revolution of VR-gaming
The DecaGear 1 is their first attempt at developing a PC-VR headset. Their initial LinkedIn description of this project promised a lot of interesting features while being brief about it:
Our long term plan consist of 5 steps:
1. Release the DecaGear 1 , A high fidelity, PC-VR headset, built especially for multiplayer gaming with facial tracking, natural locomotion based on the hip direction and pressure sensitive hand controllers with all finger tracking.
2. The system will be available for pre-order in late 2020 for US$459 and shipping starts around May 2021
3. SteamVR support means immediate access to thousands of VR games from day one.
4. The DecaGear SDK allows developers to easily and quickly integrate all of the system’s unique features.
5. Future plans for a DecaSpace SDKs will allow players to communicate and navigate between games seamlessly in VR
SteamVR has confirmed their support for this project. While it does not mean that SteamVR is in any way involved in the design process, they have confirmed that DecaGear 1 will be fully integrated with the SteamVR framework.
The headset itself promises impressive features in almost all aspects:
- dedicated screens for each eye at 2,160 × 2,160 px resolution, 1058 PPI at 90 Hz — possibly using the same display as the current leader, the HP Reverb G2
- 4 integrated cameras for inside-out tracking of the controllers in 225 degrees
- controllers that incorporate technology from the Valve Knuckles
- A dedicated hip-tracker to base player movement off the hip rotation, instead of the headset rotation
- Wireless gaming through WiFi 6
- FaceFlow technology to track facial expressions, including eye-tracking
- Minimal movement jitter and effective motion smoothing at <1mm
- Adjustable IPD (Inter Pupillary Distance)(not yet defined — the upper range is said to be 72, the lower range may be around 59–62)
- A FOV (Field of View) of 114 degrees
What’s impressive is that most parts of the DecaGear 1 are entirely developed in-house, from the controllers to the lenses.
Such a feature list is even difficult to pull off for well established VR headset developers, so only time can tell if these features will really make it into the final product as advertised. But comparing these specs to current headsets, it’s clear that the DecaGear 1 can become a new leader on the market if they can deliver on their promises.
First Interview, discord channel, and Kickstarter plans
Megadodo Simulation Games founder Or Kuntzman has held a 1-hour interview together with project director Oded Daniel on the Youtube channel of MRTV — MIXED REALITY TV, a technical engineer who covers everything VR on his channel.
You can watch the full interview here. In the video, they explain from their office in Bangkok, Thailand, their plan to revolutionize VR gaming and take the time to answer all questions about the DecaGear 1. They also allow viewers to take a peek at the development process, motion tracking, and more.
They also run an active Discord channel to answer questions from the community, so it’s clear that they want to be open and transparent about the development process.
Currently, people can support the project with a preorder of $10 to secure that they will get the VR headset for $449 and free shipping once the first production batch is ready. More than 7,000 people have already signed up for this waiting list.
In the future, they are planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign to support the project further and start large scale production. They are also looking at VC (venture capital), for which they require provable company traction. Up until now, they have poured millions of dollars into the company themselves, funds they have thanks to their other tech-startup ventures.
A new market leader in the making?
Seeing the effort the team of Megadodo Simulation Games is putting into the DecaGear 1, including public interviews, fundraisers, and more, I think it’s safe to say that these people are not scammers, but legit developers who see a demand on the market and now try to fulfill it.
Other startups also came from humble beginnings. Even Bill Gates worked on his first iteration of Windows from inside a garage. So it’s safe to say that their current appearance has nothing to say about the quality they will deliver later on. What is visible though, is their dedication. The office in Bangkok is filled with VR tech, computers to program the software, and prototype pieces to assemble their headset.
With a little more time and a successful campaign, I’m almost sure that they will create a new leading VR headset in the coming year. So both VR enthusiasts and private investors should keep an eye out for Megadodo Simulation Games. I’m sure this can be one of those moments where investing early on can grant you huge benefits later down the line.
Their success is right around the corner.