As competitors spring up, Oculus plans mobile VR contest

Oculus launched a developer contest today that will distribute $1 million in prizes for games and apps built for Gear VR — the mobile virtual reality headset it helped Samsung build.

The Mobile VR Jam requires ideas to be submitted by April 20, and final products by May 11. Oculus will announce the winners in June. The top game will take home $200,000, and $100,000 will go to the top app.

The announcement comes just days after reports that Valve and Nvidia will release virtual reality headsets at next week’s Game Developer Conference. While Gear VR was the first notable headset to market and Oculus, virtual reality’s harbringer, has sold 100,000 units of its latest developer kit, virtual reality has not yet hit the mainstream.

Content will play a major role in the first headset consumers ultimately decide to buy. That makes Valve scary, as it owns Steam, an online game store with a ravenous community.

A silhouette of a virtual reality headset believed to be the Valve SteamVR surfaced on Reddit February 24.

A silhouette of a virtual reality headset believed to be the Valve SteamVR surfaced on Reddit February 24.

So why put up $1 million for Gear VR, a mobile, but less powerful, device on which Oculus collaborated? Samsung hasn’t released how many units it has sold, but Gear VR doesn’t appear to be a blockbuster (it’s still in the “Innovator Edition” phase, after all). It could use a boost from more big and inventive content. And whatever competitors come up with can be used on Oculus Rift too.

Oculus held a VR Jam back in 2013, when it offered up around $50,000 in prizes for content developed for its prototype headset. The gaming winner, Darknet, is still in production today.

As the virtual reality race heats up, let’s see which headset emerges as the Playstation and which is the Dreamcast. But, please, no Virtual Boys.

More on Apple’s Billions: This Time, It’s iTunes

Billions and billions. It’s a theme that has accompanied me all week. In fact, I imagine I know a little how Carl Sagan must have felt. After writing about Apple’s (s aapl) billions just a few days ago, here I am again — but this time it’s not data centers and custom silicon — it’s music.

We reported here back in early February that Apple was running its 10 Billion Song Countdown Contest. Yesterday afternoon, as Steve Jobs was (probably not) blowing out the fifty five candles on his birthday cake, the odometer stopped when, according to The Loop, Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia, downloaded Guess Things Happen That Way by Johnny Cash.

The download likely earned Johnny Cash the usual pittance in royalties, while Sulcer became the lucky recipient of a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card from Apple.

Naturally, I’m insanely jealous. Read More about More on Apple’s Billions: This Time, It’s iTunes

10 Billion iTunes Song Downloads Could Equal $10K for One Lucky Customer

Planning on buying any music anytime soon? If you are, you may want to keep an eye on the new counter Apple (s aapl) is running over on its web site. You can find it by visiting the special 10 Billion Song Countdown contest page the company has set up as it nears the momentous milestone.

When that number does hit 10 billion (as of this writing, it was almost at 9.9 billion), one lucky iTunes customer who actually makes the 10 billionth purchase could win a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card. That’s a lot of songs, TV shows or even apps, depending on what you fancy. Especially if rumors prove true and TV show prices drop to just a dollar. And at the current pace of around 100 songs per second, it will be just under two weeks until that milestone is hit. Read More about 10 Billion iTunes Song Downloads Could Equal $10K for One Lucky Customer

NTV Money Maker: Win $10,000 To Produce A New Web Series

The yet-to-be-launched episodic video content site Hitvidi.com just announced a new contest that promises ten online video makers $10,000 each to finance the production of new shows. Producers have until May 1st to come up with a proposal for an original series as well as shoot the pilot episode.

Hitvidi.com claims to be open for all genres, but there’s a bit of pressure to create something that’s gonna generate lots of views. After all, the site’s claim is “the space for hit shows.” You know, just in case you needed the meaning of the site’s name spelled out.

Read More about NTV Money Maker: Win $10,000 To Produce A New Web Series

Winners of Our LessConf Competition

Last week, we offered free passes to the upcoming LessConf in Jacksonville, Fla., to the three WebWorkerDaily readers who gave the best answer to the question, “Which of the speakers at LessConf you’d most like to meet and why?” I’m pleased to be able to announce the winners as:

  • Tom Nagle, who wants to meet David Hauser of Grasshopper. “I have been a customer and a user of Grasshopper (and GotVMail) for years, but I have been most impressed with the arc and growth the company has taken over the past six years. As an entrepreneur, watching what they have done is as impressive (and educational) as anything I could read in a book or take in a class. How they launched their company with no outside money, and how they have scaled their growth is worth a two-day business retreat in and of itself.”
  • Adam Teece, who wants to meet Gary Vaynerchuk, because “He has been a huge inspiration to me to really work my passion and find ways to make money doing it. Because of him I found one of my passions is teaching people and I love gaming and geek culture.  He has been a big inspiration for my work on creating The Successful Geek brand.  It is still in its infancy and I’m starting to get some great support to really develop it and turn it into something big.”
  • Duane Brown, who wants to meet Derek Sivers of CD Baby. Duane “would love to learn about how he came up with the idea, future plans and how he feels he can beat the competition in this indie music scene.”

Win a LessConf Pass

logo3LessConf is an event for marketers, designers, coders, business people, freelancers and anyone who wants to be inspired by amazing business people. It has a stellar speaker lineup that includes the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk (founder, Wine Library TV), Derek Sivers (founder, CD Baby), Mike McDerment (founder, FreshBooks) and Kevin Hale (founder, Wufoo). The conference is being held in Jacksonville, Fl., on Saturday, Oct. 17th.

Thanks to the kind folks at Less Everything, we have three tickets to give away to WebWorkerDaily readers. For a chance of winning, simply email [email protected], letting us know which of the speakers at LessConf you’d most like to meet and why — the best three answers submitted by midnight PT, Monday, Oct. 5th will win a free pass.

Win a Copy of WinAutomation 3.0 Professional Edition, Worth $199

Earlier this week, Meryl reviewed WinAutomation, a package that lets you automate many of the routine tasks you do every day on Windows PCs. The kind folks at WinAutomation have offered us three copies of the Professional Edition of the tool, worth $199 each, to give away to WebWorkerDaily readers. To get a chance to win, leave a comment below, letting us know how you would use automation to improve your productivity and reduce wasted time. The best three answers (as selected by WinAutomation’s Jag Foo) will win a WinAutomation 3.0 Professional Edition license. Entries close midnight PDT, Sunday, August 8, and we’ll announce the winners next week.

Win a Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go Device

Picture 1Thanks to the kind folks at Virgin Mobile USA, we have a free Broadband2Go USB device, worth $149.99, to give away to one lucky reader. The device works with the Broadband2Go network, offering prepaid (no contract) nationwide 3G mobile Internet access.

To be in the running to win, send a description of the craziest thing you’ve had to do in order to get Internet access to [email protected] The most deserving story received by 4 pm PT, Friday July 10, will win. Please note that as the device only works in the U.S., this contest is only open to readers from the U.S. The deadline to get in entries closes at 4 pm PT Friday.