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Months after the Facebook-Oculus deal, virtual reality meetups have become the new rage...

The DeanBeat Months after the Facebook Oculus deal virtual reality meetups have become the new rage GamesBeat Games by Dean Takahashi


I spent a recent sweaty evening at the crowded “Just VR” virtual reality meetup at Unity Technologies’ headquarters in San Francisco. The meetup drew nearly 500 game developers to see 21 demos that used virtual reality. And that was just a week after I saw hundreds of people viewing 19 virtual reality exhibits at the SEA VR event in Seattle. SinceFacebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion last spring, virtual reality has never been hotter.

“This is the biggest crowd we’ve had to date,” said Nick Ochoa, who organized the Just VR demo meetup with Taylor Freeman. “Our first event in May had 64, and now our list has grown to nearly 900. It’s been awesome to see everybody come together on VR. We want to expose VR to those who have never tried on a headset or experienced a virtual world.”

In Silicon Valley, there are nine larger meetups that happen on a regular basis, including one regular event held by Silicon Valley Virtual Reality in Mountain View, Calif., in the shadow of Google’s headquarters. If I had to guess, I’m pretty sure that the virtual reality community in the San Francisco Bay Area is a lot larger than the one in Seattle. But there’s also a growing community in Irvine, Calif., where Oculus VR is based. Don’t be surprised to see more VR communities springing up, as it seems to attract developers who are either tired of console games or aren’t impressed with free-to-play mobile games.

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