With almost half a million of Oculus Quest headsets sold so far and overall steady growth in VR gear sales, the future of VR is looking bright. At Tribe, we are very optimistic about the impact VR is making on the way people learn and we love seeing how people who love music but never touched a DJ turntable before become performing DJs within a matter of weeks.
Reflecting on Tribe XR’s launch on Oculus Quest, Tribe’s Co-founder and CEO Tom Impallomeni shares his thoughts why Tribe on Oculus Quest creates new opportunities for DJs, takes us behind the scenes to talk about Tribe’s product development, and explains why it’s extremely hard for VR apps to have high ratings from the users and how Tribe won the DJs hearts and remains one of the top-rated VR apps of all time.
Tribe is now available on Oculus Quest - what does this mean for aspiring and professional DJs?
Tom: We’re very excited that people all over the world, whether they want to learn how to mix music or whether they are professional DJs who want to pick up new tricks or prepare for their sets on the go, can now use Tribe on Oculus Quest. Our early users loved how easy and fun it has been to learn new skills with Tribe, although their VR headset had to be connected to gaming-grade PCs. Now with Oculus Quest - an affordable, lightweight, portable and wireless headset - music fans can learn and practice on the go, free of wires and computers.
The apps and games are heavily vetted by the Oculus team meaning that users get their virtual hands-on high-quality content, and we worked hard to make sure that Tribe’s experience meets Oculus highest standards.
Tribe on Oculus Quest comes with many benefits that DJ will love:
Beginner and Pro DJs now have access to virtualized, pro-grade equipment at a fraction of the cost of traditional hardware (compare the Tribe app cost of $19.99 vs the average cost of a pro-grade DJ console of $5,000-$6,000).
Students can learn from home, for less money than signing up to a conventional in-person school.
Immersive training through Tribe is far more effective than learning by watching online video tutorials as students practice as they learn.
Students can access a global network of teachers, and choose to learn synchronously or asynchronously.
DJs can now take virtual CDJs and mixers with them, wherever they are travelling. No need to go to music studios or the venues in advance: they can practice for gigs in their hotel room.
DJs can stream live sets to platforms like Twitch, Facebook Live and Youtube, exploring new creative ways to reach their fans [Max Chapman FB video]
Oculus Quest is making the VR world accessible to millions of people who previously would not consider it due to the high price, complicated set-up and lack of space for new devices in their home. And Tribe is helping people take advantage of the VR technology to learn new skills in a much more efficient and engaging way.
What does this milestone mean for Tribe?
Oculus Quest has been probably the best-selling VR headset on the market this year and, at Tribe, we are honored to be selected as an official title on the Oculus Quest store. The process of ensuring technology excellence for our app for the Quest launch was no joke, and we are happy that the release did not only meet Oculus’ highest standards but that it’s also loved by the users: the Tribe app on Oculus Quest has a 4.6 star rating which is a sign of huge success for a VR app.
Now that Tribe has launched on Quest, we are seeing immediate benefits of being on this platform. In particular, there are high volumes of users buying VR content, and sharing it.
The headset itself is not without its limitations, but it represents a big progressive step forward for Tribe XR.
What are the biggest highlights from behind-the-scenes of working on the Tribe DJ school?
One of the benefits of being a consumer-facing/prosumer VR product is that we have, since launch, built a highly active community of users - from bedroom DJs to professional DJs who have been spinning tracks for a few decades. This community resides on discord.gg/tribexr and is highly active, giving us an endless stream of feedback, suggested features and creative ideas and content.
It’s a real honor to have such a passionate audience helping direct our product prioritization and features. It hasn’t always been this way - when we first launched on Oculus Rift, Tribe wasn’t brilliantly well-received, but since that point, with our users’ feedback, we have been able to iteratively improve and polish the product to its current position as one of the highest-rated VR apps on the Quest store.
We love our community, and it’s our honor to build Tribe with them.
What is Tribe’s most requested feature?
There are so many - here are a few highlights. Based on our users’ feedback, we plan to roll out features such as:
New controllers (e.g. a sample pad)
More in-depth DJ lessons
Import track cue point and hot cue data from e.g. Rekordbox and other software
Easier and better sharing and streaming features
Improved social features
We have an extensive list of features in our backlog, even before we start thinking about things like porting to Playstation VR, building school lesson tools, and other elements.
Did the product development take any unexpected turns based on the feedback you receive from the users?
Some of our most successful features were requested by users. For example, back-to-back (Social) DJing and a 4-channel mixer and decks. We have made it our prerogative to listen to users before building features, and to try to keep the product as streamlined and simple as possible.
It's extremely hard for VR apps to get high user ratings and Tribe is one of the top-rated apps across multiple VR platforms. Why is that and how did you achieve that?
It’s not always been that way for us. When we first launched on Oculus Rift, we launched without some features working on the decks, and without key features like multiplayer and streaming tools.
Iteratively, over time, we’ve continually sought to improve every piece of the product so that it performs at a high level, is stable and ultimately super fun. I think the success of this approach has been borne out in the improving usage and review metrics we have seen.
However, our job is never done. This is a competitive market, and to maintain and improve your position and ratings, you need to constantly improve and iterate the product. That’s what we try to do, and it probably comes as no surprise to know that the majority of our team are engineering- and product-focused people.
Any user stories you are fascinated by?
We have an amazing community of DJs that are at the different steps of their journey who support each other and learn from each other and in Tribe. Their personal stories are often fascinating. We have a number of users who’ve never touched a DJ console before turning to Tribe XR, and who now perform at real-live events and venues.
A VR sculpting artist, DJ Illuminatty mastered DJing in VR and is now performing online and in-person; DJ Budgie Beats also started in VR with Tribe and is now a performing DJ; DJ Trix and MC Se7en are VR influencers and regulars on the HelixxVR channel who now DJ every Sunday and stream their sets to the world; and many more!
Finally, what do you personally love most about Tribe?
The vibrant and fast-growing community of teachers and students that interact through our product every day is what makes me excited about Tribe.
The power of Tribe is that it creates an apprenticeship model, whereby teachers can pass on their experience and know-how, and build a following. With Tribe, students can access a global network of fellow students and mentors and tutors. For us, that’s a really exciting outcome.
Can’t wait to get started with Tribe? Download Tribe XR on Oculus Quest and start mixing!