Virtual reality is still far from being a certified household name, but its continuous leaps mean it's headed there eventually, and it's headed there even faster once October rolls around, with Google, Sony, Microsoft and Oculus all revving up VR-related announcements next month.
For most, the concept of virtual reality is still a daunting sideways glance, going largely undiscussed but marveled at upon direct contact, like touchscreens back in the day, which were revolutionary the first couple of years, until they were just obviously and unthinkingly the right input mechanism for phones.
Come October, with these huge companies slapping their brands as prefixes or suffixes to their individual VR ventures, expect VR to filter through more channels of murmurs in and out of circles, expanding VR dialogue by leaps and bounds.
But enough about forecasting. Here are some of the biggest announcements in VR on October:
Coming out of its beta stage, Google's own VR effort, dubbed the Daydream VR, had recently opened its doors for developers. Daydream is much more sophisticated than the Google's makeshift Cardboard peripheral, allowing users to port their favorite Android apps onto Daydream as VR experiences.
Google announced its Daydream platform back in May during its Google I/O conference, but details about it are scant to this day. Google is expected to provide more details about its direction for the Daydream platform on its upcoming Oct. 4 event.
Google is credited for largely letting casual users understand VR technology in a way that's sufficient enough to make them care about it. It's Google Cardboard peripheral is raw and not very high-tech, sporting a toolshed, shop-class aesthetic, but it gets its message about VR clear: It's the next big thing in a lot of ways you don't need expensive and fancy gear to experience it, and most importantly, it's not about to go away anytime soon.
Sony will release its own PlayStation VR headset a week after the Oculus conference at $399. It will be the first mainstream VR gear able to integrate natively with a gaming console, specifically Sony's own PS4. The PlayStation VR had a huge presence back in the E3 bubble but has since remained laconic despite excellent preorder figures, outselling at a rate much faster than any product at GameStop.
Consumer adoption for the PlayStation VR headset will possibly be much easier than some VR gear because of the PS4 units already sitting in millions of households. It's also priced much lower than the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift, but the main drawback is that it offers a lower-resolution experience compared to other PC-based VR setups.
Sony promised that the PlayStation VR will come with eight demo titles upon its launch on Oct. 13, with a stellar list of titles still in the pipeline, not to mention Sony is also bringing Vive and Rift games available to play.
Minecraft: Gear VR Edition
Starting October, Xbox Wireless Controllers will be compatible with Samsung Gear VR headsets, Tech Times previously reported. The first game to take advantage of the Gear VR and Xbox One controller pairing is Minecraft: Gear VR Edition, and if you have Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition, you can go ahead and download the Oculus store version.
Following a store display spotting in London, the Oculus Touch is rumored to be released on winter, with the exact release date still vague. As per the store displays, the Oculus touch will cost £190 ($246) in the UK, with the US price is still obscure for the time being.
Once released,the Touch controllers will offer more sophisticated and complex motion control mechanisms and options for Oculus Rift headset owners who have been waiting since its unveiling. More details about the Touch controllers are expected to make the rounds once the Oculus Connect conference begins on Oct. 5.
Fans and enthusiasts closely following developments in the VR realm should have plenty of material to chew on this October, and who knows, there may even be surprise announcements none of us saw coming, so expect due coverage as we reach the dates. Meanwhile, October isn't the end for VR announcements and news. On November, the Virtual Reality Developers Conference will be held in San Francisco, with developers expected to showcase new VR apps before the holiday season.
Photo: Marco Verch | Flickr