The creators of the Unity game engine kicked off a virtual reality event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, and it kicked off a flurry of freebie announcements — perhaps most notably the news that all Oculus Rift buyers will receive four months free , will have unlimited access to Unity Pro.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was on hand at the 2016 Vision Summit to confirm the news, citing Oculus’ original decision to offer shorter free trials for the VR headset maker’s dev kit products. “Before virtual reality, we knew that many of the best ideas and applications wouldn’t come from people you could predict,” Luckey told the Vision Summit crowd. “It would come from people who would create things that you wouldn’t expect.”
This news follows previous announcements of bundled software, including a copy of Eve: Valkyrie for every pre-order of a headset and a copy of the adorable platform game Lucky’s story with all headsets, which might help a little bit with the $600 headset sticker shock.
Luckey said he hopes the four-month free trial will “encourage everyone to start making apps with Unity. They can start thinking about being a creator, not a consumer.” Luckey also estimated that “about 90 percent” of the software for his first consumer-level product, the Samsung GearVR headset, was developed in the Unity language, and he gave attendees a very rough estimate of the number of Oculus Rift headsets that he expects to send. this year: “We shipped a few hundred thousand developer kits, and that’s nothing compared to what we plan to do this year.”
The other major PC VR platform, the HTC Vive, also arrived at the Vision Summit in freebie form. A short, pre-recorded statement from Valve co-founder Gabe Newell confirmed an Oprah-level giveaway: a free HTC Vive Pre-kit for everyone in the room. Those kits weren’t tucked away under attendees’ seats, though; they’ll have to wait for those VR systems to be distributed at a later date.
The remainder of the event’s keynote was rounded off with short, exciting statements from a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer, a VR filmmaker, and a Google Cardboard representative, along with the world’s first presentation of Unity’s upcoming in-VR engine- version — which, like Unreal Engine’s recently announced update, will allow game makers to keep their VR headsets on and manipulate 3D objects with motion-capable controllers. Unity has not announced when it expects to roll out the VR toolset to users.