Oculus Home, the Android based application that allows for virtual reality (VR) content to be distributed to Gear VR users, has set the ball rolling for Oculus VR’s retail plans. It’s long been known that this application will form the basis of the Oculus Rift’s distribution system also, but in a recent interview with VRFocus Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey stated that this would be the only method of obtaining officially supported software for the forthcoming VR head-mounted display (HMD).
Physical retail sales have seen diminished support in recent years in favour of digital distribution. The cost of shipping physical media has long been seen as a barrier for independent developers but so too are AAA publishers increasingly looking towards digital-only content as a method of raising revenue share. Many might argue that a physical presence at retail stores increases awareness amongst an audience that might otherwise be unaware of a product, but Luckey isn’t worried about this becoming a barrier for entry.
“There’s different magnitudes of problem and the fact that you can’t buy a game physically is not the thing that’s going to stop people from using VR,” states Luckey in a recent interview with VRFocus. “There’s so many other things. You have to have a PC that’s capable of running it, you need to be able to get a Rift, you need to be in that scene. I really don’t think that people are going to not buy games just because they can’t buy it in a store.”
Luckey compares this situation to the current trend in PC gaming, where physical media has long been antiquated despite videogame titles still having a presence at retail outlets: “Even most retail games that you buy right now [for PC]… like, if I go out and buy DOOM retail, in a store, inside it’s just a Steam key. So it’s all digital at the end of the day.”
Discussing the Oculus Rift digital store, which received it’s debut at Oculus VR’s Step into the Rift press conference in San Francisco back in June, Luckey comments on the intention of creating an all-encompassing experience for VR but still offering eases of accessibility for browsing on platforms which may not support HMDs.
“We are going to have a 2D version of the store so that you can buy stuff without having to be in the Rift, but the primary experience has been designed for VR,” states Luckey. “You have things like VR previews of games as you’re browsing them rather than just having screenshots or videos.”
The consumer version of the Oculus Rift HMD is set to launch in Q1 2016, and the digital store will likely be live just prior to its arrival. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on the Oculus Rift consumer launch as well as bringing you the full interview with Luckey later this week.