The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has served as a good way-point for VR’s progress over the years. With CES 2017 kicking off next week, here we take a look back at the highlights (and low-lights) from 4 years of VR at CES to gauge how far the industry has come and look for clues as to where it goes from here.
Wedged somewhat inconsiderately at the very start of every year (it’s OK CES organisers, no one in the tech industry have families they want to spend time with), the annual Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas is still the biggest event for hardware in the world. A swirling mass of corporate marketing excess and the single platform showcasing the best (and worst) new gear from around the world expected to vie for our attention in 2017 and beyond. Virtual reality has figured prominently at the event in recent years of course, quickly rising to become one of the shows hottest technologies. With that in mind, and with CES 2017 imminent, we thought we’d take a look back at the notable VR events from past shows, charting VR’s progress to the present day.
CES 2013 / 2014: The Early Years
From the advent of the Oculus Rift in 2012, we saw Oculus attend the show for the first time in 2013 to show off their pre-production Rift headset prototype ahead of the DK1 launch, following their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. Press response to the closed-doors meetings was almost universally positive. Road to VR was still in its infancy at the time, but Tested.com went hands-on with an interim Rift prototype at the show along with giving us a glimpse at the near-complete Rift DK-1 design that would ship to Kickstarter backers later that year. The demonstration included the now familar Unreal Engine 3 powered citadel scene, one which would become the setting for one of the most famous early VR applications of all time, Rift Coaster. The Rift had of course been covered by media before, most notably when Id co-founder John Carmack at E3 2012 showed an early, modified Oculus Rift prototype sent to him by the device’s inventor (and future Oculus VR founder) Palmer Luckey. CES 2013 however gave us the first glimpse of Oculus VR operating as a company.