Oculus VR founder and Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset creator Palmer Luckey has reasoned that his company is ‘not a massive success yet’, despite being purchased by social networking giant Facebook for $2 billion USD. Luckey said as much to VRFocus, speaking in an interview at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) Conference & Expo in Mountain View, California last week. He explained that it’s easy to be convinced that VR is already a ‘mainstream success’, but it won’t really reach that point for a long time.
“No, we’re not a massive success yet,” Luckey stated. “What we are is an interesting thing to watch for most people. It’s easy when you’re inside this bubble of VR news to get caught and think that it’s already a massive success. But it’s not, we have a long way to go. The average person might know barely about that Oculus Rift thing they heard about, you know? The ‘travel goggles’ thing, the ‘gaming glasses’ thing or the ‘murder simulator’, who knows what they think of it as? But they don’t necessarily think of it as something they need to have in their everyday lives and it’s a long way to go until we get there.
Luckey recalled a time when ‘very few people’ saw a way for smartphones to fit into their lives, much like how VR is viewed now. He reasoned that, these days, everyone has smartphones, knows how to use them and why they’re useful, reaching all the way up to more unlikely markets such as mothers and grandmothers, a position that VR is yet to reach.
“VR is not to that point yet and when we get there that’s when it’s a mainstream success,” Luckey concluded. “When people think they need it in their lives and are then actually able to successfully integrate it into their lives.”
To put Luckey’s statements into perspective, Oculus VR sold around 60,000 of its first development kit (DK1) and has sold, as of 14th April 2014, another 25,000 units of its second development kit (DK2) due to launch this July. Many VR enthusiasts already own a headset, then, and are convinced of its potential, but it’s far from seeing the numbers of a mainstream product. Nor should it, given that the company is yet to release a consumer product. Just when that device is set to release is currently unknown
VRFocus will deliver the full interview with Luckey later in the week and continue to report on all aspects of the Oculus Rift headset.