Lost Cities at MWC and a Whole Lot More
Mobile World Congress (MWC) ended on Thursday and it was truly a whirlwind experience. The only other conference that I've attended that I can compare it to is GDC, which takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. MWC is nine GDCs in size. That’s right, nine! I only managed to visit 5 halls of 9 because I didn’t have the time.
As a virtual reality game studio I wasn’t sure that MWC was the right fit for us, and in fact, I would say that this would be the only time I would go. Virtual Reality was the story of the conference and being a VR company at this year's conference was fortuitous. It's one of the times being a small fish in a big pond was advantageous. We also enjoyed the benefits of working with ICT West which represented a consortium of Canadian companies participating in the Canada pavilion. They were very supportive and connected us to trade commissioners with connections around the globe, set up meetings and provided us PR.
There were very few VR companies in attendance, and I suspect that this will change as VR becomes a bigger player in the mobile market. We attended the conference because Oculus had a media showcase that included Lost Cities. We knew it was an opportunity to garner some press for our game. While I was there I did check out the other VR offerings from Lenovo, LG and to see the new Gear 360 camera that Samsung announced.
LG’s VR offering was really bad. I mean really bad. There was so much light leak that I was straining to enjoy the experience. On top of that, it was built on the Google Cardboard SDK which means that it has at least 100 ms of latency. The experience they presented was a rollercoaster ride that was synchronized to hydraulic chairs. I was having more fun bouncing around on the chairs than riding the virtual rollercoaster. There is no way someone could sustain a VR experience in these HMDs. The only innovation they brought to the table was individual focus rings for each eye making it accessible to people with an eye stigma. I think the Gear VR should adopt something like this.
ANTVR for Lenovo
It was awkward to insert my phone into this contraption but it's much nicer that the LG360VR. The one thing I couldn’t find was a button to interact with the content. Maybe I missed something, but from what I could tell it looks like you need a Bluetooth controller to use it. It's a very nice 360 photo and image viewer.
Samsung announced that they will be shipping free Gear VRs with pre-orders of the S7 phone. This was an extremely important announcement for us because we are about to launch a Gear VR game and having a larger market to sell our first game will allow us to bring in more revenue. Whoo! There were 20 million pre-orders for the S6 so I anticipate there will be a similar number for the S7. According to Samsung, the free GearVR HMDs will be available while supplies last. I have heard from some credible sources that it could mean between 3 – 5 million Gear VRs in the market in 2016. It's a good time to launch a Gear VR game.
The big opportunity in 360 video is user generated content. Currently, there are limited options for capturing 360 content and Samsung made a big play at MWC by announcing their Gear 360 camera. It was under glass so I didn't get a chance to try it. I think all these early cameras will eventually be included with mobile phones. That will allow everyone to share 360 experiences, which will open the flood gates for 360 video content.
Press at MWC (Updated)
One the wonderful things for The Campfire Union was the press we received while attending the conference. It was very encouraging for us to know that people are interested in our game.
- Ars Technica
- Fast Company – CoDesign
- Tom’s Hardware
- Yahoo Japan
- VR Focus
- Computer Weekly
- Toy News Online
- Top 5 at Mobile World Congress
We hope that when we launch our players will feel the same way. Now I am preparing for the Digital Hollywood Media Summit New York panel and then off to VRDC at GDC. Then I get to sleep!
- by Lesley Klassen