For 18 months, there have been a lot of exciting developments for VR.
Facebook purchased Oculus for $2bn, while Sony was getting involved in this new space with Project Morpheus. And Valve announced it had partnered up with HTC for its first Valve VR headset, the Vive.
But in recent months, the mood surrounding VR has been slightly dampened. We have Network CEO Neil Young predicting a ‘VR collapse’ as companies rush into the sector before it hits the mass market, while Frontier’s David Braben urges caution towards the new tech. Furthermore, development veteran Warren Spector went as far as to call VR a fad.
But Oculus boss Brendan Iribe says that the dream hasn’t died; rather, the reality has set in.
“VR is the Holy Grail – it’s the Holodeck,” he says. “For a lot of enthusiasts like ourselves, that moment of sensation occurred during the first two years of Oculus’ Kickstarter where everyone was excited about VR and saying ‘Oh my God, it’s finally here’.
“Then it’s: ‘Okay, it’s going to be here and it’s going to ship. Now where are we really? It’s going to work, but how? What is this? Who is this for?’ You’re not going to get a billion people on Oculus Rift when we ship in 2016. You are going to get hopefully millions, and that’s okay. But we have come down from the initial sensation to focus on the reality and on making this an incredible experience. You buy it, you have to love it, you have to want to go back into it every day, you want to show your friends and then they want to buy it and they want to go back into it.
“That domino will start to fall in 2016. It’s going to be very excited. MCV has seen [Oculus’ control input] Touch and the Toy Box tech demo. Most of the world hasn’t seen that. They’ve seen maybe [older version] DK2, probably only DK1. This new Rift is a huge leap. And it’s really where VR starts. The world is about to see that in 2016 – it’s going to be very exciting.
“Then every year or so they are going to see another leap. Not necessarily in consumer VR, but we will have at least a new prototype for a new consumer product almost every year. You are going to see new kit and tech coming at a very rapid pace. There’s more to come.”