The Day 1 Keynote Speech was all about what is coming to the Oculus and the state of VR. The Day 2 Keynote Speech is when John Carmack shares his honest thoughts about the state of VR.
This has been a tradition at Oculus Connect and many come to hear what the industry pioneer has to say about the state of VR.
The Brightside of VR
Carmack started the keynote with some positivity by sharing his thoughts on how far VR has evolved. Most of this was about the advancements with the Rift S. He praised how much of an improvement the Rift S has been compared to the Rift in regards to its quality.
The intro also highlighted the success of the Oculus Quest and the experience it offers despite its limitations.
The End of Gear VR
Going back to the theme of doom and gloom, he began with what he described as “The Eulogy of Gear VR”. With the advancement made with Go and Quest along with Samsung not having its latest phones support it, the end of Gear VR is now. He did note how much of an influence it had on early days and how it set the foundation for what good VR should be.
Noting some of the positive attributes such as easy access to the VR world and was comfortable to wear. However he also noted some of the problems such as how it overheated the phone and drained the battery. Carmack also looked back on the many paths not taken (especially regarding controller design) and how it did influenced the current path taken.
He ends this eulogy by advocating for archiving the apps made for the Gear VR to preserve its history. Very little has been done to preserve the first VR apps and it would be great to have access to some retro VR titles 20 years from now.
Gaming in VR
Given his status as a gaming pioneer, Carmack shared his thoughts on the state of gaming in VR. He goes into the success of several major VR titles along with what he sees as the key to make a successful game.
Carmack praised the success of Bear Saber for introducing VR to a large audience along with Red Matter that has pushed the visual boundaries for VR gaming. He also notes that good graphics don’t make a good game as it takes more to create an unforgettable experience.
Social vs. Isolationism
This is one thing that Carmack and Facebook are clashing with, social VR or isolation VR. Carmack digs into how he prefers to be isolated in VR which comes into conflict with the social mission of Facebook. He does notes the benefits of both and praised some of the social aspects that Facebook has added to Oculus.
Carmack ended his keynote speech by going over the hardware decision tree at Oculus. No new upgrades or hardware would be announced, this was just a look at what might happen regarding future updates.
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