After Selling to Facebook, Oculus Reassures Supporters That Headset is Focused on Gaming

CEO Brendan Iribe says, "We're focusing on gaming; that's our top priority."

After Oculus VR--maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming headset--sold itself to social networking behemoth Facebook in March, some fans wondered if technology would be shifted away from games. Not so, according to Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe, who says in an interview with Bloomberg that gaming remains a "top priority" for the company going forward.

"We're really game developers at heart," Iribe said. He pointed out that the Oculus VR team is made up of numerous video game industry veterans like John Carmack (id Software), Michael Abrash (Valve), and Jason Rubin (Naughty Dog, THQ), among others.

"We're focusing on gaming; that's our top priority" -- Brendan Iribe

"We're really focused on the game market," Iribe said. "A lot of people think, 'Oh, [Oculus Rift is] going to go into communications and these other areas.' And, 'Now Oculus is part of Facebook and they're not going to be focusing on gaming so much.' And that's really not true."

He added, "We're focusing on gaming; that's our top priority. And the foundation of VR is built on a game engine. It's built on a 3D scene that you have to render in real time at an incredibly high frame rate, which is what game developers do best."

Iribe also pointed out that Oculus VR will develop its own games internally, through a team led by Rubin.

Though Oculus Rift may be a gaming-first platform right now, it may not stay that way forever. When Facebook acquired Oculus VR in March, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the virtual reality tech has an opportunity to impact markets beyond gaming, and Iribe seems to agree. He said virtual "face-to-face" communication is a "longer horizon driver" for how Oculus Rift can reach 1 billion people someday.

Sound familiar? That's because Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey said in April that at some point in the future, it could be considered irresponsible to send people on business trips because you'll be able to have a "meaningful" virtual meeting through technology like Oculus Rift.

Also in the interview, Iribe said he doesn't think of Sony's Project Morpheus headset as a competitor because that device caters only to PlayStation 4 owners while Oculus Rift serves a wider, platform-independent crowd. He also admitted that he has yet to try Project Morpheus.

Lastly, Iribe gave a status update on the consumer version of Oculus Rift. He said the company has created a consumer prototype that is superior to the the latest development kit. It is lighter (it weighs "almost nothing," Iribe says) and is apparently more comfortable than the current version. Plus, Iribe says about 500 people have tried this version and only a "handful" have experienced motion sickness.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

90 comments
JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

"We're focused on money, that's our top priority"

Fixed.

Pewbert
Pewbert

You are owned by a public company who have some of the most powerful people in the world as it's shareholders. They care about one thing only - money. You will focus on whatever Facebook wants you to focus on, whether that be gaming or not.

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

We will see when you release it words are wind my friend.

daikkenaurora12
daikkenaurora12

Well they did hire the team that made the 360 controller.  The new Farmville game will be awesome.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

This is the stupidest thing I seen in gaming in a few years, outside the always on xbox one.

JoInfo
JoInfo

See guys! They're still focused on gaming!

Damnation_6
Damnation_6

I don't care about the haters, if it's as good as they say it is I want one in time for the release of Star Citizen...heck I'd like on for The Witcher 3...so get back to work! :P

Psycold
Psycold

So funny how you can tell all the negative comments about Oculus come from people who haven't had a chance to try it yet and are sick of hearing about it because they can't try it. If you had actually tried any version of it, then you wouldn't be saying any of that. For people who have used it, those comments look so incredibly stupid. 

mattcake
mattcake

No no no... WE will tell YOU if it's for gamers or not when it's released, thanks.

Spartan_418
Spartan_418

The Facebook connection might not be such a big deal, Oculus Rift might still be a worthwhile gaming device, but I hope another company (Microsoft, perhaps?) creates another PC-compatible VR headset to give the Rift some competition

Sohaim
Sohaim

your ONLY priority should be gaming, the rest is trash, after you get an amazing product for gaming, then you go ahead and do other stuff.

meatz666
meatz666

Does any one know if the image generated by the Oculus is 3D too? Does it give the impression of depth too? Because I get sick watching 3D movies with my head still, can't think about moving my head while "watching" something in 3D without barfing...

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Do they really expect anyone to believe them?

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

The more I read about Palmer Luckey and OR, the less I like it (Luckey is just one step from becoming Phil Fish IMHO).  OR may be incredible, but with other companies that are geared toward gaming developing similar tech at a lower price and releasing sooner...

Luckey really needs to come to terms with the fact that he condoned OR's sale to FACEBOOK.  He needs to own up to that fact...  that he aligned with a social network but not a gaming company.  Now he's doing the same dance MS/XBOX is doing...  "... but we're a gaming company, seriously!"  Funny thing is -- at least MS/XBOX has a track record in gaming.  Palmer and co. don't.  With FACEBOOK, Luckey can hire a lot of talent, but nothing sounds cohesive.  It's taken him years to figure out that OR is going to have to create amazing content first in order for the market to follow...  so, OR will potentially release with no content?

I'm sorry but SONY really is schooling this guy.  They may not have the best VR on release, but they will certainly have more content and get to market faster.  I'm also pretty certain SONY will move their VR to 60fps within the first year of release.  Unless FACEBOOK subsidizes OR's sales to keep their headset artificially low, I just don't see Palmer succeeding...

Luckey would have done better to have gotten in bed with MS/XBOX.  FACEBOOK might have spelled the end of good tech   

C-THREE
C-THREE

I said the Rift was my next gen choice last year and I'm sticking to that. I might get a Wii U though, they got some good games coming soon.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I call BS on using it for meetings.  It makes no sense.  There's nothing this thing does better than a simple webcam + an interface to share documents with meeting members.  First of all, expecting business people to know how to work one of these is in and of itself too difficult.  Secondly, they can't see anything with the thing on... so there goes typing right out there window for a lot of people.  Thirdly, it's too expensive for virtually no gain what so ever.  Fourthly, it'll be too distracting for a lot of people.

hystavito
hystavito

@Pewbert Yeah that's the thing, people can talk all they want but in the end they no longer have full control over it.  Oculus itself, it's people right now, might very well be focused on gaming, but there's no way Facebook's grand plans have that same focus.  It's just not a big enough market for them, especially PC gamers, just PCs overall are fading out.  They are already basically saying that with the reaching 1 billion people talk, and how amazing it would be to attend a concert or sporting event with friends in VR from home, and so on.


I think the PC gamers are the ones that need the biggest wake up call in all this.  Face reality, you are a small group on a platform that for gaming or otherwise is getting smaller and smaller.  Facebook is not interested in you at all.  Yes, Facebook might be nice and just let Oculus go on and on with their plans to give great support to PC, but being nice is the key element to worry about,.  There's no substantial financial incentive for them to do that, you'll just have to trust they will for some reason want to be nice :).


And console gamers, you're a much larger group, but when Facebook talks about reaching a billion people, well you may not be all that important a group either :).

Deadlysyns87
Deadlysyns87

@Psycold i get severe migraines when i have something on my head besides my glasses i can't even wear those sun glasses you can put over glasses. Lots of people don't care about VR.

smudboy
smudboy

@Psycold It's not even by those who haven't tried it. They have complete bias over Facebook. But when they got $75 million in December from Andreessen Horowitz...?

Psycold
Psycold

@meatz666 Honestly if you are so sensitive to stereoscopic 3d on a television or in a theater that it makes you sick, then there is a good chance you would feel sick with any V.R. headset on. I have the first version of the Oculus and I don't experience any of those issues, nor do I with my 3D TV, but I've let a friend use it and he couldn't do it for more than a few minutes without becoming sweaty and feeling strange. That version is WAY outdated though and the Dk2 is a huge improvement. I would say wait until the final retail version and try out a friends one because these things will be in a lot more peoples hands by next year.

Senior_Rosa
Senior_Rosa

@meatz666 But obviously it will be different: when you are in the real world, you are being fed a 2d image on each eye, and your brain interprets it. With an Oculus Rift you have the same idea. Each eye is fed with a different image.


Your head movements are as well tracked and your virtual self will perceive the world turning as it would if you were in the real world. You will only have "motion sickness" if the movements are not synchronized: either movements of your real self not being translated into the virtual world, or movements of your virtual self not being perceivable by your real self. Basically ;)

Sohaim
Sohaim

@Thanatos2k i dont think so, they dont really care do they? they got what they wanted.

smudboy
smudboy

@battlefront1943 "Luckey really needs to come to terms with the fact that he condoned OR's sale to FACEBOOK"

He did. Read his reddit. From, like, March.

http://www.reddit.com/user/palmerluckey


As did all the other major players on the team.


To say Sony is schooling the OR team is hilarious. They're doing this how?


How many more billions of bucks does Luckey need in order to "succeed"? What is success to you?

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

@battlefront1943 You must be smoking something strong. OR has already more content than Morpheus will whenever it is released.

DKRises
DKRises

@battlefront1943 Project Morpheous is PS exclusive. Secondly if your a company that needs to create a lot of merchandise and do a lot of research and design, that costs a hellaton of money. So if FB decided to go hey, "here's 2 billion for development if you give us rights", there is no way in the entirety of the Universe you would decline.

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

@jinzo9988 Depends on the meeting. If it's just a bunch of people sitting on their asses behind the desk, then yes. However, if it's to show a new prototype of a car, a new design of a building, etc., I could see how it would be far more cost-effective than creating a physical one.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

@hystavito @Pewbert "how amazing it would be to attend a concert or sporting event with friends in VR from home"

Am I the only one who thinks that sounds boring as hell.

meatz666
meatz666

@Psycold @meatz666 Sure will. After the final product release, it would be a nice idea for me to do a demo somewhere, for 15 minutes at least, to see if I'm prone to sickness.

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

@Sl4cka @battlefront1943 titles?  read the wiki...  yeah, some games, but not much...  and strangely some 3ps games.  nothing that sells this system...  at least not that i see

Psycold
Psycold

@meatz666 @Psycold Yea I would guess places like Best Buy will have these available for people to try in the stores...hopefully with barf bags nearby! 

smudboy
smudboy

@battlefront1943 @smudboy 

What do you think is more likely to make a product succeed (and whatever your loose definition of success is):

1) No money.

2) Billions.

Sohaim
Sohaim

@battlefront1943 @Sohaim HAHAHAHHAHAHAH, oh you were you serious? LOL
.no jokes aside, ms is purely Xbox, name one thing they done to pc gaming in the past years, and dont bring the joke that is GFWL or DX12.

meatz666
meatz666

@Psycold @meatz666 I don't live in US, but I'm pretty sure Oculus will be showcased not only in stores, but other businesses as well...

Sohaim
Sohaim

@battlefront1943 @Sohaim your point?, because we have Windows, MS does a lot for gaming? oh please that is THE MOST BS argument EVER, stop being a MS white knight, they do NOTIN for pc gaming, if your argument is "oh you use their OS" then you better take a look at who is keeping gaming in Windows alive, because its not MS.

battlefront1943
battlefront1943

@smudboy @battlefront1943 deep pockets doesn't make something a success.  if you look at silicon valley startups, many have tons of investment but ultimately fail.  heck, ms spent billions on xbox one dev and game investment. 


luckey & co. made this facebook deal because they couldn't get to market  on their own, but the facebook deal has potentially hurt them as much as it has helped.  with the plummeting interest in facebook, r/d money is there, but market interest (first adopters) is waning.


meanwhile, sony as a company is in trouble and don't have deep pockets, but because of this they have a basic working VR centered exclusively around games.  even at 30fps, sony will beat luckey to market and at a lower (or comparable) price point.

with that said, luckey and facebook are going to have a severe issue getting market penetration -- unless they heavily subsidize or sales and have a large library of "system sellers."  why?  because luckey has no longterm gaming history...  and neither does facebook.

the biggest thing luckey has going for or is 60fps, but even that will certainly evaporate within a year of morpheus release.

luckey made a move because he had to, but even with the money involved, he and facebook are late to the dance.  they have to make a revolutionary vr in order to succeed.  sony only has to make one that works and support a library.

yes, billions help, but business strategy (or lack of) is more important.  there are plenty of amazing techs that were well-funded but failed in the marketplace.      

smudboy
smudboy

@battlefront1943 @smudboy 

The OR is working hardware and software. They have been producing tech demos and development kits. The product is viable, and is being tweaked, upgraded and marketed. It has industry giants behind it, and is backed by billions. I ain't seeing a problem here.


"but the facebook deal has potentially hurt them as much as it has helped."

And one example of them being hurt is?

"with the plummeting interest in facebook, r/d money is there, but market interest (first adopters) is waning."

And when has interest in facebook plummeted? What does market interest have to do with anything? How are first adopters not interested?

Market forces will determine costs, and how it's adopted is based on how many opportunities, ease of use, compatibility and costs are. OR has been ahead of the game, has major game gurus behind, and is non-platform specific.


No long term gaming history? Carmack? Abrash? Rubin? Did you even read the article? And who cares if they didn't have "gaming history"? The tech works. It's how it's marketed to developers, its cost, and how easy it is to implement will determine who makes games (and then some) with it.


OR had over $90 million in angel investing in December, and no one cared. Oh, but when it gets $400 million and 1.4 billion in facebook shares in March? Yup, suddenly it's not going to work out anymore.


Give me a break.


They're hiring, and they're completely focused on making an amazing device.

http://www.oculusvr.com/company/careers/#open-positions