VR Austin Jam # 2

Author: Steve Lukas, Staff Product Manager, Qualcomm Ventures

On November 12 and 13, Owlchemy Labs put on its second annual VR Austin Jam, bringing together developers from all over the country to sit down at over a dozen VR workstations to build great VR software. With their title Job Simulator ranked as the top selling game on the PlayStation VR Store and being awarded Best VR Game for the Unite Awards 2016, Owlchemy has set the goal post, and along with the rest of VR Austin, they were on-site to help coach and encourage new innovation in the field.

Along with Owlchemy, China-based VR Company, Ximmerse co-sponsored the event and brought their outside-in 6DOF control dev kits. As if that wasn’t enough, the event also attracted folks from Magic Leap who showed up just to jam. That made for three members of our Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm Inc.’s family coming together for a great cause and we couldn’t have been prouder.

The event went beyond traditional video games as we saw new work being done in WebVR (which has gained a lot of attention in recent weeks), along with experimentation in tabletop-style gaming and voice-activated services, which will all help set up the expanded use cases of VR. To learn more, I encourage you to check out VR Austin’s own in-depth write-up of the jam.

Jammers working on VR project at Owlchemy Lab’s 2nd Annual VR Austin Jam

I was personally impressed by the collaborative nature of the event and the joint efforts of all these various companies coming together to push the industry forward. Additionally, the speed with which the developers were able to put together their projects was a testament to how far we’ve come in VR, where today we have established fundamental building blocks which have enabled the ease of use in the development engines we seen in Unity and Unreal.

Qualcomm as a whole has taken a very active position in VR, from powering a host of next-generation VR-capable mobile devices to creating our own reference design inside-out tracking headset, and we are working very close with developers on our platform to help them optimize their mobile VR applications. Virtual Reality is very important to us and we believe that local meetups like these are the very backbone of the VR industry where great ideas are formed and greater companies are built.

More than any other discipline, VR not only needs a collective to join forces to solve the hard problems, but also has the most inclusive group of tech insiders that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. If you’ve never put on a VR headset, I say that now is the time to get involved in VR and you’ll encounter a number of people ready to get you up to speed with open arms.

Below are links to just a few of the communities represented at the event:

VR Austin

Women Who Code Austin

SeattleVR

San Diego Virtual Reality

I encourage anyone reading this to go to a local VR meetup and see the future of the computing industry, get inspired, and, you might be surprised, maybe even form the next great company to join the Qualcomm Ventures portfolio.

Qualcomm Ventures led the Series A round for Owlchemy Labs, invested in Series B and C for Magic Leap, and were part of the Series A round for XImmerse out of China.


Steve is part of the business development team of Qualcomm Ventures in charge of portfolio synergy with Qualcomm Inc. Additionally, he is focused on providing technical analysis on software and consumer hardware investments, with a keen interest in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Learn more at https://www.qualcommventures.com/team/steve-lukas

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