The day after Unity’s highly-anticipated inaugural Vision Summit was over, a sold-out crowd of 200 developers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs and VR enthusiasts convened at Google for SVVR’s 27th meetup. While I regretted missing Vision Summit (where attendees had an Oprah moment when they were told they’d be getting a free Vive) I’m not entirely missing out.
In San Francisco and Silicon Valley there’s a VR meetup just about every night of the week where you can build virtual worlds or explore Mars using the latest disruptive tech since motion pictures, television, the Apple II or mobile devices depending on who you ask. If you want to purchase a Vive, HTC and Valve’s hype-worthy answer to Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlaystationVR, consumer pre-orders start February 29th.
Organized by Karl Krantz, Bruce Wooden, John Oakes, and Nana Tsui, SVVR is the largest VR Meetup group in the world. Their 1st gathering was in the spring of 2013. As of this writing SVVR has 3,410 members. They’re followed by NYVR (2,570 avatars) SF’s UploadVR (2,162 enthusiasts) BosVR (2,132 avatars) VRLA (2,061 dreamers) and SF Virtual Reality (1,1920 pioneers.)
In 2014 the SVVR team produced the 1st Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference and Expo, the world’s first professional conference dedicated to consumer virtual reality. SVVR 2016 will be at the San Jose Convention Center April 27th-29th. (Full disclosure: I’ve volunteered at SVVR meet ups.)
The buzz around VR is intoxicating. Seeing – or experiencing rather, is believing. While hefty price points for premium VR headsets and AR devices (Oculus, Vive, PlaystationVR, Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap and now Meta 2) will still be a roadblock for mass consumption over the next few years, Andrey Doronichev, a Group Product Manager at Google VR and one of the founding members of the original Cardboard told the crowd that so far, over 5 million cardboard viewers have shipped and over 350,000 hours of YouTube360 videos have been viewed.
Asked to comment on reports Google is developing its own premium mobile headset Doronichev reiterated what he heard at Vision Summit: it’s too soon to predict the future, but speculating about it is the media’s job.
If you want to try VR in the East Bay, Quirkeley has you covered with our 2nd OffPlanetVR mixer Thursday February 25th from 6-9pm.
Inspired by the Bay Area VR community (and a line from the movie Oblivion) I started OffPlanet VR to explore, create and promote positive VR experiences.
SVVR will be joining OffPlanet VR 2 with their Vive to give attendees a taste of room-scale VR, along with demos from VR pioneers including Tony Parisi of Wevr, who will show their official selections from Sundance, Theresa Duringer Co-Founder and Designer, Temple Gates Games, Nick Ochoa of Kaleidoscope VR, and a special guest chat from Allen Yang, UC Berkeley researcher, Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research Grant Recipient – and lots more! Purchase tickets on Eventbrite. Follow on Twitter @OffPlanetVR.
While the world waits for virtual and augmented reality to hit mainstream, its true believers are building the community and industry to bring it you – in real life.
Follow @OffPlanet #OffPlanetVR