Oculus VR co-founder and creator of the Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey, is a well known evangelist of virtual reality (VR). His passion for the new medium is unquestionable, having taken it upon himself to create the first iteration of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) long before the possibility of any financial remuneration was known. However, he remains realistic about the commercial viability of VR, suggesting that it will see long-tail growth.
“In these early days, probably for at least two years, VR is going to be primarily for gamers and enthusiasts that are willing to invest in high-end machines,” stated Luckey in an interview with Re/code. “VR is going to become something mainstream, but it’s not going to happen right away. You just don’t have the horsepower to make it happen on a device, much less a cheap enough and comfortable enough device that a normal consumer is going to want to have. There’s also going to be more diverse content. Right now, it’s almost entirely games, because only the games industry has the tools and the talent to make immersive 3D worlds.”
That latter point was never made clearer than at Oculus VR’s ‘Step into the Rift’ press conference, San Francisco, last week. The company finally revealed the consumer version of the Oculus Rift HMD as well as the Oculus Touch input device, but in terms of software it was solely videogames that were discussed. The potential for other types of experiences remains, but Oculus VR concerted their efforts on attracting the existing videogame audience first and foremost.
In terms of that adoption, Luckey sees videogames as a stepping stone to bigger things. He’s still confident about the potential of VR of course, but is realistic about the commercial proposition.
“I’m the most optimistic guy about VR out there. I have crazy visions of what we’ll be doing in the future. But it’s not going to reach hundreds of millions of people in the next three years,” suggests Luckey.
Oculus VR revealed the consumer edition of their Oculus Rift HMD last week and offered hands-on demonstrations to attendees of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) earlier this week. VRFocus was at both of the events and will bring you all of the latest information as we continue to head towards launch in 2016.