There are plenty of popular names in the virtual reality (VR) industry – Gear VR, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard – but one of the first and perhaps of the most well-known on the market is the Oculus Rift, especially now that it is now available in stores across a number of countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and some European countries too. But, there is a chance that Oculus could soon experience both the biggest rise and fall, which is something that none of us want to see.
First things first – what do I mean exactly by “Hoover”? Hoover was the first brand to make an upright vacuum cleaner, which revolutionised the vacuum cleaner industry with its forward thinking and newest technology, and also by making its name synonymous with vacuum cleaning. Now, not many people would consider Hoover to be top of its original game, but the name lingers after becoming less relevant thanks to superior technology.
Okay, maybe “Oculus” or “Rifting” won’t strictly become synonymous with entering VR, but it is certainly one of the first that the broad mainstream recognise when mentioned. But, the key point to take into consideration out of all this vacuum talk is that despite the popularity of its name, there is a possibility of the Rift not coming out on top – and this is down to a few issues that have cropped up lately.
One of the latest dramas to come from Oculus is just as you’d guessed – Palmer Luckey and the funding of Nimble America. If you didn’t guess this, then here’s a recap of what happened: Luckey was revealed to have funded Nimble America, a pro-Trump organisation that is known for producing political memes against Hillary Clinton, to which Luckey denied connection with Trump and was misled to think that it had “fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters”. This resulted in several VR studios voicing their disapproval, and some threatening to cancelling Oculus Rift support.
Despite Luckey denying there ever being any spiteful weight behind what happened, and Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe’s supporting statement saying everyone is “free to support the issues or causes that matter to them, whether or not we agree with those views”, there is still a lasting impact to come from this. It is unfortunately this kind of activity that will make or break a company, even one as big as Oculus.
Yes, this is all politics, and letting politics get in the way of VR thriving is the biggest shame that could happen, but there’s no doubting that it hit the VR community hard, and that’s exactly where it counts. In a way, anything that happens in VR needs to get “approved” in some way before it can blow up to massive proportions.
As I said, this is all politics, and it is not the be all and end all of Oculus right now. However, one of the appealing factors to the Oculus Rift was how it was essentially cheaper than the HTC Vive. However, with the pricing of the Oculus Touch controllers coming out lately, it quickly became apparent that for the whole shebang it would come up equal to the HTC Vive, and therefore the edge has been taken off. This also comes after customers becoming displeased with the service Oculus has given following its late shipping earlier this year, so it can seem like one thing after another.
This is only what has surfaced as of late, and it is clear that the Oculus Rift has so very many redeeming characteristics to it if we cover our ears from the news. We can only keep our fingers crossed that no more drama rears its head for the sake of Oculus, and that it becomes more of a Xerox or Kleenex rather than a Hoover. Perhaps Oculus Connect 3 will help patch this all up?