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Luckey: Motivations for Creating Oculus Rift were ‘largely selfish’

As a pioneer in virtual reality (VR) and largely responsible for the technology’s recent revival, Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) creator Palmer Luckey is set to change the world. Many will be familiar with how the unlikely designer got started with the Oculus Rift, building prototypes for the device in his parent’s garage when he was just 18. What you may not know is that Luckey’s motivations for creating the device were ‘largely selfish’ at the time.

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Luckey recently revealed as much to Daily Pilot. “My motivations were largely selfish, especially at the start,” he said when asked about why he began work on the project. “I wanted to play games in the best way possible, a way that was better than anyone else would have access to. As time went on, it became clear that VR was actually feasible on a large scale at a low cost, and at a quality far beyond what I had been hoping for.”

From there, Luckey started to see how VR could benefit everyone: “That worked as a conduit for better motivation, wanting to change the world and make it a better place,” he said. “That was solidified while I was working at the ICT Mixed Reality lab, where I got to see virtual reality used for treating veterans with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. Focus comes a lot more easily when you desperately want the results of your own work — nobody else is going to do it for you.”

Of course, the Oculus Rift is far from a ‘selfish’ proposition now, being employed by developers around the world to enhance not just videogames but also medical practises, film and TV, industry and more. It’s also helped the technology grow into a hugely promising industry, supported by the likes of Valve with the HTC Vive HMD and Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) with Project Morpheus on PlayStation 4. The Oculus Rift itself isn’t too far off from a consumer launch, as it will be shipping in Q1 2016.

VRFocus will continue to follow the Oculus Rift’s progress in the build up to launch, reporting back with any further updates on the kit.