Tag Archives: oculus

Facebook announces Oculus Connect dates Sept. 26-27

The Oculus Connect developer conference is back for its fifth year of chasing the VR dream. Facebook VP or VR Hugo Barra announced that the company’s virtual reality-centric conference would be returning to San Jose on September 26 and 27. In past years, Oculus has used the conference to reveal its latest prototype hardware and to announce new software upgrades. This year, VR took center stage at Facebook’s F8 developer conference with the company using the event to launch the $199 Oculus Go standalone headset while also showcasing its latest prototype “Half Dome.” It will be interesting to see what VR announcements are saved for Oculus at its own developer-centric event and whether they use the opportunity to talk more about prototypes like its positionally tracked “Santa Cruz” standalone, which they have discussed the development of for the past two years. Registration details for OC5 aren’t available yet but the application has typically gone live in mid-summer.

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Whither VR/AR?

“Despite many pronouncements that 2016 was the year of VR, a more apt word for virtual reality might be absence,” The Economist observed caustically last summer, noting that during that year forecasts of combined sales of VR hardware and software dropped from $5.1bn to $3.6bn to the harsh reality of $1.8bn. But hey, one rough holiday season does not an industry make, right? Surely in 2017 things began to — — oh. “ Shock Stat: In 2017, VR Headset Shipments For Most Top Brands Went DOWN Compared To 2016 .” So much for the many predictions that VR headset shipments would grow exponentially for years. Crow appears to be the appetizer for nearly every industry dinner these days. But that was before the Oculus Go , right? Except … the Go seems to have sold at most a quarter of a million units in its first few weeks, far behind the comparably priced Nintendo Switch released months earlier, and as I write this languishes well outside the top 20 of Amazon’s “Video Games > Accessories” bestsellers. I mean. These aren’t terrible numbers. Sony’s PlayStation VR has sold almost 3 million units! … which is to say, it’s reached almost 4% of PlayStation owners. But aren’t VR and AR supposed to be the Next Big Thing, not the Next Little Niche? And doesn’t that mean their reach is supposed to grow exponentially , not linearly? AR is in everyone’s hands, of course, courtesy of Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, Facebook’s AR Studio, etc. But, quick, name a popular/successful AR smartphone app a) that isn’t Pokémon GO b) doesn’t involve furniture! If I’m pointing accusatory fingers at anyone I’m pointing them at myself. I too expected VR/AR to be much further along by now.

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Oculus launches Venues app with a robust lineup of summer events

Oculus wants VR to bring its users into magical worlds dreamed up by game developers, but the company also needs people to see the headset as a way to access the far corners of the real world alongside others. The Oculus Venues app is launching today for the company’s standalone Go headset, as well as the Gear VR. Venues marks a central hub for live events on the service, putting users in a shared social space to watch sporting events, concerts and shows. Facebook isn’t setting up cameras at these events, rather, they’re working with partners to put on these events, including NextVR, AEG Presents, the MLB and Lionsgate. The app was announced earlier this month at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, but Venues wasn’t quite ready for primetime. Today, Oculus is sharing the first chunk of events, all scheduled for the summer, and it seems pretty robust. Events include concerts with artists like Chromeo, movie screenings of films like Reservoir Dogs, MLB games and soccer matches, as well as plenty of comedy shows. For the most part, events seem spaced out every couple of days or so, but this is still a lot of VR content for headset owners coming from the service’s first few partners. The first event is a Vance Joy concert tonight at 7:30 PST. Here’s a full list below, but it’s tiny so break out the spectacles.

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The many twists and turns of hardware

Note: This is the final article in a three-part series on valuation thoughts for common sectors of venture-capital investment. The first article, which attempts to make sense of the SaaS revenue multiple, can be found  here ; the second, on public marketplaces can be found  here . Over the past year, the VC-backed hardware category got a big boost — Roku was the best-performing tech IPO of 2017 and Ring was acquired by Amazon for a price rumored to exceed $1 billion. In addition to selling into large, strategic markets, both companies have excellent business models. Ring sells a high-margin subscription across a high percentage of its customer base and Roku successfully monetizes its 19 million users through ads and licensing fees. In the context of these splashy exits, it is interesting to consider the key factors that have made for valuable hardware companies against a backdrop of an investment sector that has often been maligned through the years, as I’m sure we’ve all heard the trope that “hardware is hard.” Despite this perception, hardware investment has grown much faster than the overall VC market since 2010, as shown below. Source:  TechCrunch A large part of this investment growth has to do with the fact that we’ve seen larger exits in hardware over the past few years than ever before. Starting with Dropcam’s*   $555 million acquisition in 2014, we’ve seen a number of impressive outcomes in the category, from large acquisitions like Oculus ($2 billion), Beats ($3 billion) and Nest ($3.2 billion) to IPOs like GoPro ($1.2 billion), Fitbit ($3 billion) and Roku* ($1.3 billion)**. Unfortunately for the sector, a few of these companies have underperformed since exit; notably, GoPro and Fitbit have both cratered in the public markets.   As of April 3, 2018, both stocks traded at less than 1x trailing revenue, a far cry from the multiples of forward revenue given to other tech companies. Roku, on the other hand, continues to perform as a stock market darling, trading at approximately 6x trailing revenue and a market cap of $3.1 billion. What sets them so far apart? The simple answer is their business model — Roku generates a significant amount of high gross margin platform revenue, while GoPro and Fitbit are reliant on continued hardware sales to drive future business, a revenue stream that has been stagnant to declining

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