Oculus Founder on Why VR Won’t ‘Crash and Burn’ This Time Around

Oculus VR founder and designer of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset Palmer Luckey has offered his opinion on why his efforts to make a successful VR headset won’t ‘crash and burn’ like previous attempts by other companies. Speaking to VRFocus during the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) Conference & Expo 2014, Luckey reasoned that improvements in technology and consumer impressions would drive the industry to success where it had previously faltered.


“Y’know, maybe this isn’t the time,” Luckey said in an interview focused on his work that will be published in full later this week. “Maybe it all is gonna crash and burn but the last time around you didn’t have nearly the — if you looked at it objectively I don’t think anyone outside of the VR industry would have predicted that it was going to take off shortly. I mean, like, look at the things we have today: high resolution screens, great motion trackers. All of it’s very cheap and everyone has computers that can render amazing graphics. Back when then you could barely render simple wireframe stuff and then towards the end of the 80’s very high-end work stations can barely render realtime, high framerate bad graphics.”

Luckey continued, reasoning that ‘all of the pieces are there’ to help make VR a success. He explained that, decades ago, consumers that hadn’t tried VR were excited about it, but that excitement would quickly diminsh after experiencing the then lacklustre technology.

“Now people that try it, they’re the ones that are most excited,” Luckey said. “And that’s why you have so many people quitting their jobs, becoming VR indie developers, starting VR start-ups. You didn’t have that going on to nearly the same degree back then because it wasn’t something that instantly transformed people’s perspective like it is today.”

Next month finally sees the release of the second development kit (DK2) for the Oculus Rift. It packs many of the updates Luckey mentioned here, including a high resolution OLED screen that simply wasn’t available to previous VR companies, as well as positional trackers that help replicate a user’s help movements in any given experience. It’s improvements such as this that Luckey and Oculus VR hope will make their run at the technology a mainstream success.

VRFocus will continue to follow Oculus VR on the path to its goals and deliver the full interview with Luckey later in the week.