A GEARVR NEWS ANALYSIS
As of February 11th, 2016, these are the rankings for GearVR applications downloaded and/or purchased so far; in essence, what people using GearVR wanted to see the most thus far…
“Buys” here just means downloads, as some titles were free.
Item #1, Oculus Video, has more than double anything else in the Store. That means what people want the most from VR is a life-like theater for watching movies. These numbers don’t lie. Of course, at this point, the resolution is too low for VR movies, leading to so much complaining you’d think people hate Oculus Video! The complaining isn’t a bad thing, what it is unrealized desire. People want something but can’t get it yet. That’s because what is needed for good video is at least an 8K screen. I guess it’s good news, then, that they are bypassing 8K screen altogether and going straight to a Samsung 11K Screen for 2019! This is unbelievable news, as that will help this app realize it’s potential. As the number one app on GearVR, that’s something to get super excited about!
Items numbered 2-4 are standalone Stereoscopic-Depth movies with embedded positionally-tracked audio, which is why these videos was required to be applications. The audio is actually codes to your head movements. That means people want immersive CGI-Rendered Stereoscopic movies with positionally-tracked audio to boot.
Item #5 is Netflix, another Movie/TV-show application which embeds video in a really cool modern log-cabin environment that makes you feel like you’re watching somewhere clean and beautiful where only rich people get to hang out. So … um … do you see a trend happening here? The top 5 spots all belong to video applications! That means Video is far more important to VR (despite all the complaining) than you might have thought.
Item #7 (Titans of Space) is a curious thing. It’s the first science and educational application to hit the one of the top spots. That means, if done right as this app was, you can really reach a mass market! It is a bit uncomfortable but that hasn’t stopped so many from downloading it anyway. People are hungry for space travel and exploration. That’s what this tells you. On a side note, I think Chris Roberts is a genius for creating Star Citizen when he did, just as VR is breaking out. That’s one game that’s going to rock your world in VR and Titans of Space certainly knows that too.
Item #8, Temple Run VR, stymies me a little. I guess people really just want to know how a phone game translates to VR. That’s the only question that drove me to install it myself. I liked it for about five minutes, but the gameplay just isn’t right for VR. But as the Oracle told Neo in the Matrix (small irony here), sometimes it’s the question that drives us.
Item #10, theBlueVR, again is another science-exploration application. Learn about whales and dolphins with a beautifully-voiced female narrator whose voice really soothes me. There are two long VR movies (rendered live on the CPU, not video) so the visuals are amazing. And a small trailer is here, hinting at possible updates to this series. I would think so, with this many hits! They’re sure to clean up with their next app release!
Item #11, Strangers with Patrick Watson, surprised me. From all the negative comments I’ve read online, I was sure I was the only one who actually liked this video. It has some good 3D-Depth, spatial 3D audio, one messy apartment (like mine, wink) and a crazed but very talented singer who gives a live performance that really amazed me due to its ambient-sound effects. But I didn’t hear anyone else raving about it. Yet … as shown before, people are so curious about video, especially 3D Video, and this one is necessary to experience once at least.
Item #15, GUNJACK, is no surprise to me personally. The game is impressive and has high production values. And no matter what people say about lack of game-play or other issues, at the end of the day, they still want to see this game whether they like it or not. That’s still a win for the publisher with this many sales. When you put in the work, you’ll get the sales. It doesn’t mean people all liked the game, but they did have to buy it. Let’s hope some of them got it for the sale price, haha.
Items numbered 16-19 are, yet again, all video applications. Some are better than others. VRSE has “Evolution of Verse” as its best video. And DreamWorks is the only publisher able to get a video application looking like an iMax-sized theater due to its use of scale clues that tell your brain how big it is from references it knows. People are always asking Oculus Video and MilkVR and other such video apps to please make the screen look iMax size. They want to be awed by the screen’s size. I love the DreamWorks Theater, too. It is truly marvelous and worth a look if you haven’t already.
Item #20, Land’s End, is surprise only in that I would have figured it would have been much higher on this list toward #1. There’s only a few people talking anything bad about this title online as everyone seems to praise and enjoy it. However, a lot of those downloaded applications were free ones, Land’s End is not. Which leads to another interesting thing to take notice of here…
Of all the items on the list above, items #1 through #14 were all free. The first one on the list requiring purchase is GUNJACK, item #15. In fact, all of the apps except #15 and #20 were free. That means the top 2 selling games on GearVR … (drum roll, please) … are GUNJACK and LAND’S END. So these are the kinds of games and experiences people clearly want to see at this time. However, in speaking with many on Reddit, I’ve found many people detest GUNJACK for being “on rails” … yet still, that hasn’t detracted from its sales any, it appears. But I know just about everyone feels that something more in the vein of Land’s End would really be great. For my money, I would give anything for Smash Hit 2, Dead Secret 2, or Magic Man 2, to name but a few.
Games and Experiences just don’t seem to compare download-wise to video applications, which are the craze on GearVR despite everyone’s apparent dissatisfaction currently. More people are naturally just watchers than doers. From the statistics, it seems they come to VR more to relax, not dive into more challenges or play games. It’s not that they don’t like the video apps, they do, we’re just not there yet pixel wise. And that really ticks people off who have come to VR just for that reason. Games at this time don’t compete against video apps, not unless they are science-exploration titles. Of all the cool things on GearVR so far, I’m really surprised more games aren’t making it into the top download positions. That’s what I like best, personally.
Someone in Samsung’s Analytics Department (like me) must have spotted the trend first. Which explains the $25 million they’ve invested over 5 years, to produce an 11K-Pixel Screen. With 11K worth of pixels, each 90-degree quadrant arc (of which there are 4) would display 2750 pixels (halved for stereo videos). That compares to the 640 pixels (halved for stereo) we have per quadrant now. That means videos will be at least 4 times clearer visually and also be way deeper depth-wise since 3D depth is derived from the Stereoscopic Threshold, which is the limit of how far depth extends away from the viewer, based on image resolution. With that much pixel density per 90-degree arc, the videos will be even better than 4K videos look now on a 4K TV. But they’ll also be WAY LARGER, too, which is why a new codec needs to get invented before then that can shrink videos way smaller. Or … the phones will need TB hard-drives to hold such movies.
Folks, the good news here is that we don’t have to wait until 2025 to enjoy great VR! It appears Samsung is jumping over every hurdle in their path to deliver “ULTRA-PREEMINENT HIGH-REZ” a few years sooner. Thank you, Samsung, this is the most responsible thing you’ve done since launching the GearVR! It shows us that you really do care about our needs and want to give us what we want most based on our download choices in your Store. All this, without making us have to buy incrementally-small iterations from 4K to 5 to 6 to 7 to 8 to 9 to 10 … to 11K. We will go from 4K to 11K in just 3 short years! Truly amazing!