Noah J Nelson on Tuesday, Oct. 7th
Consumer-ready virtual reality is stumbling forward, and this month is likely to see the release of Samsung’s Gear VR peripheral for their Galaxy Note 4 phone. Some Best Buy stores already has demo units under their counters.
One big question is what games are going to be available at launch and how much will they cost? The answer to the latter question is “free.” The reason: the Gear VR is being launched before Oculus VR sets up the payment system for the content marketplace. (Which seems crazy, but apparently there really are not rules in VR.)
This means that most games for the system are going to be released as demos, while Oculus gets the infrastructure in place. There’s one big exception.
”I’ve decided to try something a little crazier: I’m going to release the full, premium version of Darknet for free at launch,” designer E McNeil wrote me. “Once payment comes online, the game will cost $10, but all the early adopters will get Darknet as a free gift.”
McNeil’s Darknet has won design awards and has been gathering buzz since he won last year’s VR Jam at Indiecade. He’s been at it forever, it seems, but instead of waiting to cash out McNeil still feels like he’s toiling in obscurity. He sees the give away as a chance to raise his profile.
“Essentially, I’m making a risky game for a risky platform with a risky launch strategy. But I don’t think it’s completely insane. Darknet is designed to be one of the deeper, more hardcore launch titles for Gear VR. If it’s also one of the only full premium games available, I think it could really stand out.”
If you want an taste of McNeil’s design skills right now, and don’t have an Oculus Rift developer kit sitting around, his first game Auralux is playable online and as a free mobile title.