January 19, 2018 // 11:39 a.m.
Facebook-owned Oculus VR has announced a programme designed to encourage the development of virtual reality software compatible with its headset: Oculus Start.
Designed, the company claims, to reduce the barrier to entry for virtual reality development, Oculus Start is aimed solely at smaller developers and relative newcomers to the field: The company's terms and conditions require that participants in the programme 'have never yourself or through a VR project received funding from a platform (e.g., without limitation, Oculus, Google, Microsoft, Valve, Steam, HTC), venture capital, or crowdsourcing over USD $10,000.00' yet also 'as of the date of application, must have published an app on the Oculus Store or another virtual reality platform.' In other words: You need to have already started to qualify for Oculus Start.
That minor hurdle notwithstanding, successful applicants receive what Oculus is positioning as a wealth of benefits not available through rival platforms: early access to developer hardware and beta software, invitations to industry events including Oculus Connect, dedicated technical support, a one-year Unity Plus licence or royalty-free Unreal licence - the former limited to companies or individuals pulling in less than $200,000 per year and the latter less than $5 million per year - and Oculus Wallet credits to 'get to know the Oculus Store better'.
'We're launching this program to offload some of the development costs of qualified developers so that they can focus on what's really important - creating amazing VR applications,' claimed Oculus in its announcement. 'We know there is no shortage of inspired ideas and creative minds breaking ground in VR. Creativity isn't the barrier. Resources shouldn't be either. If your first app is underway, we can help you optimise for more success in this project and your next. Just as we're scaling VR through our devices, we're scaling support to the developer ecosystem.'
More details are available on the official website.