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The Gear VR now has its own version of Steam Early Access

The Gear VR now has its own version of Steam Early Access

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Over the past few years, it's become totally normal for developers to test out their games in public before an official release. The ambiguous status and relative novelty of virtual reality headsets, meanwhile, has made for a chaotic market of VR experiences. Finished games and apps sit often sit alongside exploratory experiments, a situation that's not quite fair to either category.

With the release of Samsung's consumer Gear VR headset, though, Oculus has started organizing its catalog. It's launching a new Oculus Store section called "Oculus Concepts," where developers can advertise new experimental content or unfinished games. A screenshot in Oculus' blog post references experiences like The Night Cafean animated room based on Vincent van Gogh's painting of the same name — and short semi-educational action game InMind. The post describes it as a way to find the "bleeding edge" of VR.

Concepts was announced at this year's Connect conference as a successor to Oculus' wide-open Share system, which allows developers to put (almost) any Rift experience up for testing and feedback. After its debut on the Gear VR, Concepts will be coming to the consumer Rift next year. In practice, it looks a lot like Steam's Early Access program, which carves out a space for unfinished games. Incidentally, it's also one of the first times I've heard anyone imply that there's a non-bleeding edge of VR development — but now that the first mainstream headset is out, that might be increasingly true.