Searching for an on-line store where you can download the latest content selections for your VR headset usually entails the use of a download and store app that comes with the headset itself or downloadable from the headset’s manufacturer’s site. But what if by some chance you are not able to access the manufacturer’s site or it just so happens that you need to find additional titles that may not be available there.
Introducing WEARVR the Universal Virtual Reality Game App Store for practically all VR headsets. Launched in July of 2014, the store was able to achieve over 200,000 downloads within just 5 months. With currently over 1000 titles available for both VR games and other content, the store caters to general platforms like MAC OS, IOS, Windows, Linux and Android. Currently supported Headsets include: the Oculus Rift DK1 and 2, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Samsung Gear VR, Carl Zeiss VROne, Homido and Google Cardboard among others.
Initially a development project from gaming consultancy KZero and digital development studio Dubit, the store has become the go-to location for virtual reality software for thousands of users on a daily basis.
Recently, the VR app store received an amount of 1.5 million dollars in capital funding from a group of investors from Atlanta with experience in technology, media and real estate. The store plans to grow its community, improve its user experience and increase the availability of its universal content.
WEARVR is planning the launch of a specialized mobile app that will enable users to discover VR software right on their own smart phones. Aside from marketing its new products and features worldwide, the store aims to provide VR app developers the option to upload and manage their own VR product listings.
According to WEARVR co-founder Nic Mitham, despite the minimal marketing, the store has witnessed phenomenal interest from users and developers alike since it became operational in 2014. The funding will allow the store to be able to extend its reach to the growing number of people excited about Virtual Reality development, products and current use as well as expanding the stores capabilities based on feedback and requests by the avid fans of its growing community.
Priorities include the continual growth of the store’s online community by increasing the number and range of experiences available through the store. Plans include a recommendation engine, exclusive content and in-browser streaming, the mobile discovery app as well as 360-degree video experience.
Mitham iterates the importance for WEARVR to be able to offer the broadest range of VR software and to be able to cope up with the influx of new VR products and devices being announced on an almost weekly basis. The company wants people to know that they can download and access games and content from the store for whatever Virtual Reality device they are currently using.
Unlike WEARVR which operates at a more generalized and universal concept, other content platforms like the Oculus Share Store support content and development for their specific headset product. The Oculus Rift has a strong and huge following and its store ensures its customers by strictly reviewing the quality and completeness of its own selection of available titles. Albeit, specifically for the Oculus Rift.
Samsung on the other hand maintains its own VR store through its Samsung VR mobile app which includes a 360-degree VR player that lets you download, upload and play 360-degree VR content on your smart phone anytime, anywhere even without using the Samsung Gear VR headset. However, certain apps are better viewed in Virtual Reality so the option to download and use at another time with the Gear VR itself is of course provided.
The stores functionality is quite intensive as it allows a very user friendly way to browse Samsung’s ever expanding library of 360-degree VR mobile content exclusive to specific models of the Samsung line of smart phones.
Of course Steam can be described as the melting pot for software content distribution worldwide. Despite availability of VR content for other VR headsets like the Oculus Rift, Steam or Valve’s main focus when it comes to VR would of course be on the HTC Vive. The company has recently announced their Steam VR Showcase, Valve’s in-house content distribution platform which features VR content, movies and games. Valve however as a development oriented company focuses its support for game developers both big and small.
From triple A development studios to small Indie developers and the modding community, Valve was able to create a new economic reality in what can be described as a specialized market segment that enabled developers to obtain the needed resources from such venues as crowdfunding and market support. Steam VR’s Modbox demonstrates the development and modding orientation infused into Steam’s direction and driving force.
Compared to these other content platforms that focus on the distribution of specific content for their own specialized VR gaming systems, WEARVR as much as possible caters to all of them where both small Indie and big time game developers as well as VR film makers can come together and share their latest VR content and creations worldwide.