Oculus is taking to the Game Developers Conference to reveal its launch line-up of at least 30 games for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, available March 28.
Oculus is heading to the Game Developers Conference in a big way. The professionals-only event of more than 400 lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions could even be considered one of the major pillars responsible for the growth of VR over the past few years. It's understandable Oculus likely considers this event its home turf. With less than two weeks left before the launch of the high-end Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, Oculus isn't holding anything back.
Today Oculus revealed the full list of confirmed Oculus Rift launch titles – a staggering list of 30 games, with the footnote that others may still make the date as well. All 30 titles, though some are reporting 31, were shown to the press in the days preceding GDC. Meaning that all of these launch games are in a playable state and are more or less ready to go for the Oculus Rift launch.
Some of the games are big, some are small; some of the games are 2D titles now with VR functionality, some have been built from the ground up for virtual reality; some were made within Oculus Studios, but most were made by VR pioneer developers. The sheer variety of the launch line-up should prove impressive to all games. Though the lack of a big, "blockbuster," headlining game like Microsoft's Halo, Nintendo's Zelda, or so on could certainly be considered a weakness.
Of particular interest is how Oculus is listing the games, as it has not only detailed the pricing for each title but provided a "Comfort" level based on the intensity of the VR experience each game provides. If there's a lot of movement, a lot of controller-heavy action, or perhaps just an amount of extreme visual content, the "Comfort" level will help players decide what to avoid. Nausea is a very real issue with VR, even for high-end headsets like the Rift. The scale goes from "Comfortable," to "Moderate," and up to "Intense." Some may see an "Intense" rating as a badge of honor.
Here's Oculus' full launch line-up for the Oculus Rift, including several titles that are being shown at GDC and don't currently have their release dates set:
Only one of the over 30 games will debut at the industry standard $59.99, EVE Valkyrie's Founder's Pack. Lucky for Oculus Rift owners, the game will be a free pack-in for all pre-orderers. Meanwhile, only two of the launch titles will cost $49.99, Gunfire Games' adventure Chronos and the VR-ported driving game Project Cars. Luckily, pricing is very conservative past that point. 19 of the launch titles will be under $20, including 10 that are $10 or less.
It's noteworthy that Oculus isn't focusing advertising on any launch titles in any significant way. Well, both EVE Valkyrie and Lucky's Tale are special cases since they're pack-ins with the Rift, but generally Oculus is letting the rest of the pack stand on their own legs. With the bulk of the launch titles coming from small, independent studios, there are pros and cons to this. Little advertising means little visibility, but at the same time smaller games aren't left in the shadow of larger ones. Hopefully there's enough VR money going around that all of the launch titles are successful.
The Oculus Rift headset will launch on March 28, though pre-orders for the headset are backlogged all the way through July at this point. There are perhaps less than 100,000 people who will have the opportunity to play these titles at launch. Yet all eyes will be on the Oculus Rift's initial arrival and this first wave of VR games. There is much to prove for VR, and also much to lose. Having over 30 launch games on day one, however, is an outstanding start at the very least.
Oculus Rift officially releases on March 28, 2016.