Update: We spoke with an Oculus representative who essentially said the affiliation with the ITA was a mistake. Though both companies have had a history together, Oculus does not not see itself as part of the new organization:
"There was confusion on Monday whether Oculus was a member of the Immersive Technology Alliance. We’ve spoken with ITA’s leadership and clarified that we are not, and have not been, involved with the initiative.
We appreciate the ITA moving so quickly to correct their website and media to reflect this."
Original story …
Oculus is one of the largest names in virtual reality but has separated from the freshly renamed Immersive Technology Alliance.
Oculus notified the ITA on March 15, 2014 – just days before GDC began – that it was pulling away from the group. Neil Schneider, executive director of the ITA reiterated during the conference meeting that the alliance is still unsure why Oculus decided to separate.
There are reports with Oculus claiming it was never part of the ITA to begin with – however the ITA provided a run down of Palmer Luckey’s involvement with the group before when it was the Stereoscopic 3D Gaming Alliance noting that he was a frequent moderator. It’s also known that Luckey met John Carmack when still part of S3DGA.
Luckey was invited to join the group’s first meeting at GDC but declined due to a time conflict.
Unhappy VR campers?
The ITA seems to be taking Oculus’s departure with a heavy heart with Schneider stating "We think highly of Oculus and we want them to be part of this alliance. [They are] very much part of this industry."
However this was said after a few barbs from a panelist were thrown in Oculus’s direction about how VR companies need to be "accountable for each other" and work together within the alliance.
The presentation also contained notes stating the ITA’s need to take VR to the next level – without solely depending on one company:
"It’s unrealistic to expect Oculus VR to drive the VR revolution – Our industry can’t afford to be dependent on one manufacturer and their whims."
It appears there were definitely differences causing the separation where neither camp wants disclose further information.
Room for other VR stars to shine?
With Oculus out of the picture, the alliance remained eager to continue promoting its other members during the meeting.
CastAR, Prio VR, Avegant, Middle VR, Epson, Vrelia, FPS Creator and Gameface Labs were on hand to show off hardware, tout the importance of VR software and discuss investors.
The future of VR is indeed brimming with possibility and will only continue to grow within the Immersive Technology Alliance – and likely outside of it thanks to big names like Sony who’s supposedly unveiling its own device this week.
- Keep checking back for more on virtual reality and more as we continue to cover GDC 2014