The Drax Files Radio Hour 11 heads (back) along the VR road, covering the arrival (in July) of the Oculus SDK-2, which can be pre-ordered now and features an updated headset with low-latency positional head tracking, a price-tag of $350.00 (+ tax and shipping, I presume), and comes with a suggestion from OculusVR that those just wanting to try one out should really wait for the consumer version.
VR is an interesting subject, don’t get me wrong on that score, my doubts about it having quite the impact on SL as is perhaps hoped notwithstanding. But I have to say that two back-to-back episodes of TDFRH on the same subject coming on top of all the other flag-waving on the subject going on just about everywhere, did pushed me towards VR overload. Yes, I appreciate that the main reason for this was the Game Developer’s Conference, which itself was pumped full of VR from Oculus VR, Sony and others, but VR fatigue is starting to take its toll hereabouts.
Nevertheless, I’ll include the video from Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey, who has some interesting things to say on the Rift and the upcoming SDK 2.
As well as the Rift, there’s mention of Sony’s Morpheus headset for the PS4, and just after the podcast came further news that Microsoft is definitely looking at the VR bandwagon as well, most likely in respect of the Xbox (and the obvious link with Kinect) and which may well be connected with their Project Fortaleza.
Outside of VR, a few other items are touched upon briefly in the show, such as the recent uptick in SL region numbers. While it is far to early to say whether we’re seeing a new trend or merely the usual March uptick is too soon to say.
The SL bikini banner ad campaign (if I can call it that) is poked at as well. It’s proving controversial on a range of blogs and social media. Some have said it’s simply following in the footsteps of IMVU’s advertising, others that it is simply celebrating spring and the approach of summer, while others have called it tacky. To me, and aside from saying, “all of the above”, it again demonstrates a couple of things. The first of these being that LL is again trying to reach a very narrow audience with this style of campaign and in doing so, it is just liable to turn people away from SL as much as attract them. Kudos to Drax for his observation on the lack of diversity evident as well.
My second thought is that it again leads me to the conclusion that the Lab are still utterly failing to harness the potential of the platform to tell its own story. I’ve long argued for the Lab taking a more narrative marketing approach to promoting the platform, and seeing ads like this one just leave me wanting to pull out my soapbox and start over again on the subject. The Lab has an enormous resource at their disposal by which narrative marketing could really work for them (witness Drax’s TDF video series), yet they persist in remaining blind and deaf to the idea.
Maybe I should get the soapbox and drum out again…
This segment of TDFRH was supposed to have included an interview with Richard Goldberg, but this has been pushed back a week, much to my disappointment. I’ve been working alongside Richard since September 2013, and have found him to be insightful and balanced in his views. I was therefore looking forward to him discuss the August ToS changes from a content creator and businessman’s standpoint, particularly as I know he and I very much share the same views.
Emily Short also declined to being interviewed specifically about Versu and LL. While this was another interview I was looking forward to, I can’t blame Emily for saying no. She has very eloquently and graciously said all that needs to be said on the matter via her blog and in an interview with Gamasutra. Nevertheless, I do hope she accepts a future invitation to join the show and talk about Interactive Fiction in general; it’s a fascinating genre.
With Richard and Emily absent this episode, and in keeping with the theme of the podcast, Ben Lang from The Road to VR took centre-seat for the main interview, and it’s here that the feeling of VR fatigue really started to kick-in – which is not to say I didn’t listen. Indeed, I found the interview somewhat fascinating, but perhaps not for the reasons one might expect.
Ben makes some interesting points on VR’s potential, should something like the Rift really enter mainstream consumer consciousness, and I certainly don’t nay-say his points, and it was good to hear him precede his comments with “if” a lot of the time – too many commentators seem to think it’s a done deal where the Rift is concerned, and that may not be true, even if VR itself does go on to achieve popular consumer success, which would seem a given over time and as headsets become more ergonomic and portable.