Oculus Conference Puts Spotlight on Virtual Reality Content

At the Oculus Connect 2 developers conference, the company, now a unit of Facebook, focused on its efforts to increase the amount of content available for VR headsets, several of which are slated for launch in early 2016. That’s because a dearth of content is seen as a stumbling block to consumer adoption of VR when it becomes widely available. The conference unveiled newly inked deals for streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix, the popular “Minecraft” game and movies including “The Hunger Game” series.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, at Connect 2, Oculus executives announced a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and Lionsgate, to “bring movies to Oculus, in an attempt to re-create the experience of watching a movie on a big screen.” Among the movies that will be available from Fox are the “Alien” trilogy, “Die Hard” and “Black Swan.”


More content is coming from Oculus itself, which launched a studio in January; so far, it’s produced “Henry,” an animated short about a lonely hedgehog looking for friends (pictured above), and “Lost,” about a robot hand searching for its owner in a dense, dark forest.

Oculus chief technology Officer John Carmack notes that content is a challenge for the VR field, since it’s unknown how long audiences will be willing to wear a headset. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carmack predicts VR gaming will ultimately account for less than half of the time spent in VR.

WSJ says Disney’s Lucasfilm executive Rod Bredow reports his company is testing out short videos that range from five to 10 minutes. “If the answer is yes, we haven’t yet figured out all of the language of that sort of filmmaking to entertain people like that,” he says.

According to WSJ, Facebook isn’t just relying on Oculus for immersive content. The company announced plans to support 360-degree video within its newsfeed and is also working on a standalone video app focused on virtual reality. Other companies investing in VR include Google and several venture funds, which put $542 million in augmented-reality company Magic Leap, and Disney, Sky and other media firms that put $65 million into VR startup Jaunt.

Consumer Edition of Samsung Gear VR to Arrive Black Friday, ETCentric, 9/25/15
Netflix, Hulu to Launch Virtual-Reality AppsVariety, 9/24/15
Oculus Connect: Company Chief Scientist Outlines Research Agenda Including Touch, Hearing and SmellThe Hollywood Reporter, 9/24/15
Virtual Reality Content Creation Platform Voxelus LaunchesThe Hollywood Reporter, 9/24/15
Facebook Takes 360-Degree Video Out For a SpinThe Wall Street Journal, 9/23/15

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