Arguably the biggest story in the virtual reality (VR) industry over the past 2 years was social network giant Facebook’s acquisition of VR specialist, Oculus VR. The announcement came as a complete surprise back in 2014, though has undeniably allowed the company to advance its work on the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). While Facebook is obviously best known for its social platform, it also works on other technologies. With this in mind, it looks as if the group had its own work in VR going on before its historic acquisition.
Oculus VR founder and Oculus Rift designer Palmer Luckey suggested as much today at the Web Summit conference in Dublin. Speaking in and on-stage Q&A, he noted the pair would have ended up ‘competing’ if the deal hadn’t happened. “When we came together with Facebook it worked out really well because we had a really similar vision of the future of virtual reality,” Luckey said. “It wasn’t like they were coming in to impose their will on us. When we first started talking it wasn’t about an acquisition at all, it was about ways that we could potentially work together on virtual reality.
“It became increasingly clearer that they wanted to do a lot of the things that we wanted to do. And then, in fact, if we were both going to work on virtual reality, we were going to end up competing in a lot of ways, you know, especially as we move towards this idea of a metaverse, a digital world that exists parallel to our own. So, some people ask “Do they let you do your own thing?” and it’s like “Well, we both kinda wanted to do the same thing, so we’re both on the same page.””
The Oculus Rift is set to launch within the first three months of 2016. VRFocus will continue to follow the device closely, reporting back with the latest updates on its progress.