EA Founder on VR: I Don't Want to Put on Goggles and Then Spill My Beer

Trip Hawkins says technology like Oculus Rift not only causes practical issues in the living room, but it might make people feel alienated or isolated.

Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins isn't too thrilled with the idea of virtual reality, specifically the way in which the technology--like Oculus Rift--forces you to wear goggles. In doing so, you become disconnected with the physical world around you, which can lead to a number of practical issues, Hawkins told GameSpot.

"Personally, I'm not really a big fan of goggles. I don't really think that it's necessary," Hawkins said. "Having to put on glasses is kind of annoying and alienating. If I'm in my home, playing games, I don't want to knock my beer over, I don't want to not be able to find my phone if it rings; I don't want to not be able to make eye contact with other people in the room, you know?"

"You see in the movie industry, every decade or two they try to cram 3D into the movie theater and nobody really cares" -- Trip Hawkins

Hawkins likened the virtual reality industry to what we have already seen play out in the movie business for years, without great success. "You see in the movie industry, every decade or two they try to cram 3D into the movie theater and nobody really cares," he said.

Hawkins isn't the only well-known game industry person to pour cold water on Oculus Rift and virtual reality in general. Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two Interactive, questions virtual reality's mainstream appeal and thinks the technology is "anti-social." In addition, Doom creator John Romero said recently that he thinks virtual reality could just be a fad. It's important to note, however, that both Zelnick and Romero say they are excited about the future of virtual reality, even if they don't see it gaining mainstream success.

We have reached out to Oculus VR for a response to Hawkins' comments and will update this story with anything we hear back.

Trip Hawkins

Hawkins' current project is If Game, an education-themed iOS title that aims to offer children a fun way to learn social and emotional skills in a fantasy world. Speaking with Hawkins this week about the project, I asked him if virtual reality technology like Oculus Rift could be a good fit for his game. I wondered if, at least in theory, virtual reality could allow children to more deeply immerse themselves in the learning adventure. Despite his personal disinterest in virtual reality, he didn't disagree with my premise.

"If we're talking about an immersive fantasy where you're trying to project yourself into the equivalent of an interactive movie, I think it's actually one of the better use-cases for technology like Oculus Rift," Hawkins said. "If I really want to be immersed in a sophisticated, real-life situation, then it makes the most sense."

By no means is this a confirmation that If Game is going to add Oculus Rift support. Introducing such a feature would be particularly problematic from a technical standpoint, too, considering Oculus Rift is a PC-focused peripheral at the moment. It may not be that way forever, though, as Oculus Rift designer John Carmack is currently working on a way to bring Oculus to mobiles.

Virtual reality technology has been a major talking point in 2014, thanks to investments in the space from two major companies. In March, Sony revealed its own virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus; just a week later, social networking behemoth Facebook announced that it had acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion. Neither Sony nor Oculus VR is saying yet when its respective headset will go on sale and what it will cost. Oculus VR does sell a special, developer-focused Oculus Rift headset, but this $350 unit is not the final consumer version.

We will have more from our interview with Hawkins about his new education-themed efforts in the days ahead.

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

334 comments
Talyab
Talyab

I hope the first VR MMORPG comes before I die.

deadpen
deadpen

Well it doesn't sound like "Trip" Hawkins plays games. "I Don't Want to Put on Goggles and Then Spill My Beer". How are you drinking your beer while playing anything with a controller?......Oh I'm sorry, you must be drinking between EA game glitches.


Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

VR, like 3-D glasses for certain shltty movies is a gimmick, a novelty at best. It's just not practical.

We're not talking a $60 Guitar Hero game controller here. Proper VR peripherals will cost in the thousands. We're at least 3-4 generations (that's about 35-40 years) before VR even comes close to something consumer based.

The Oculus headset is nothing more than a demo show piece. Sorry if you don't like it but that's the truth.

seriousgaming
seriousgaming

Augmented reality will solve this problem. The cameras on the front of the goggles will detect the location of your beer which will then be displayed virtually in-game relative to your location. Problem solved.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

He does have a point. Most people don't want mega uber immersion in games. They just want to sit down and play. Little things like stopping for three seconds to have a swig of a drink are things that most people do, adding a headset gets in the way of that. Having a drink, writing a text message, going to answer the door, trying to play a game stood up behind the sofa while you have food cooking in the other room are all small examples where having a headset on makes the experience worse. They are small but summed up they inconvenience the average gamer.

Slash_out
Slash_out

I don't see any problem with the fact that you have to wear goggles, obviously if you want a VR experience you want to be isolated from the rest of the world for maximum effect. 

It's true that there are games you want to play with friends around, but how many are there on pc tbh? With local coop? Very very few nowadays. It's all online. PC gaming is not the same as console gaming.


But then... Perhaps he is talking about showing off your games to your friends when they come over?

Why not NOT pluggin the VR device when you are playing your games then? It's not an All or Nothing deal.

When you are alone plug-in the VR device, when you are not, play on your screen. 

I can't remember the last time I really had to play with someone around me. If I play with friends or family... it's online. If I had friends over for a lan, I'd just show off my VR device and play the old fashion way...


sirchick
sirchick

Does he think people wear VR 24/7 or something?

VR is being highly praised by those who have used/tried it.. i personally have no yet had a go :(

TheGreatGhoul
TheGreatGhoul

He doesn't want to spill his beer.

Man, this guy know what is the first priority in life....

That make me think he must be drunk all the time when we think about how EA games sucks right now.

Some games developers are afraid Virtual Reality will transform us into anti social humans beings but the only games they create which allow a solid multiplayer system is in games like Call of duty where the only goal is to kill each other for no reason.

I prefer to be anti-social in an awesome virtual reality before wanting to kill anybody for hours like a brainless zombie.

nintendians
nintendians

what does he want vr to be like, like "sword art online" anime series. so at lease he drink virtual beer 24/7.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

He makes a valid point. The day I spill my beer because of obscured vision is the day I look closely at what I'm doing wrong.

No sarcasm here.  Spilling your beer is most definitely wrong.

51gamer
51gamer

The guy who created the 3DO has no room to tell people if their idea is practical or not when he launched that system for $700. 

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Having a headset that gives you complete immersion, among many other things, far outweighs the hassle of having to pause your game, move your goggles off your eyes and take a swig of beer.

What next? We decide that holodecks or mind control gaming aren't worth it because we can't eat doritos while playing?

jeremy-
jeremy-

Yeh, this guys right, id way prefer to be playing madden 35. In fact, I'm really looking forward to chugging that beer over madden 36. Its going to be AMAZING.


What were we thinking Oculus should just give facebook the 2 billion back because I'm pretty sure everybody was wrong and this guy is a genius.

StHapns247
StHapns247

From what Oculus VR has said, this is exactly what they want. Not so much the beer spilling, but for you to be completely detached from reality and only need VR for any type of social interaction. They've said, look it up.

Milennin
Milennin

He'll change his mind once people start spending money on these things.

jazilla
jazilla

This is just like when old people whining about teenager's music. 

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

I (and others who visited me) spent many hours in the Dev Kit 1 and never ever was there any drink spoiled. But hey, if EA hates it, it means it's awesome, after all EA represents all that's wrong

the_fightmaster
the_fightmaster

im no developer, but isnt the point of these headsets to further immerse yourself in a game. being able to look around the game world and feel like your there. i enjoy gaming with my friends, but with a lot of titles now, there isnt a lot of local multiplayer. the idea is to disconnect from the world you live in and enjoy the world that was built by the game developers

Psycold
Psycold

EA is ALWAYS on the wrong side of things. This should be proof enough for people of how awesome the Oculus Rift is. I've spent the past 3 evenings with my buddy switching off playing Elite: Dangerous and flying around in space shooting missiles and going into hyperdrive, and those are some of the most amazing experiences you could possibly imagine in V.R....and yes we were both drinking and smoking the whole time and nothing was spilled. 

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

I can understand his perspective and I used to agree with it. But the simple fact is that it's quite easy to see all the flaws in something if you don't know what the benefits are. I don't think this is a piece of technology that you are meant to be using with a group of people, either. From what I understand, most people have loved it.

Of course, at the same time, it brings back memories of that TNG episode with the game visor.

moomookillah
moomookillah

I may have a solution . .  add a cheap camera to the front of the VR headset. Boom magic. Make different modes to either have the camera view as a small section of the screen or a simple press of the pause button in the game reveals a partially transparent menu allowing you to see everything around you.  

Fenlig
Fenlig

The only worry I have is that I get to immersed and I forget to eat because I'm having to good a time. EA dont have any fingers in the VR pie because its not going to make a massive profit margin. Give it 2 years and they will eat there words. One bit of advice, never listen to what EA says as its just a load of bullshit.

warriors30
warriors30

If you have little kids you just can't put on an Oculus and warp into your own virtual fun land for half an hour. I mean, if you hate your children you definitely can.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"EA Founder on VR: I Don't Want to Put on Goggles and Then Spill My Beer" That makes me want to play Deus Ex 1 with the Oculus Rift. I spill my drink!

CacaPooPoo
CacaPooPoo

I agree with the guy. Plus, I'd feel weird not being able to see or hear anything going on around me. People will talk about how it's going to change game, how great it is the first few weeks or so after these things are released.. and then get tired of strapping these contraptions on their face. Absolutely zero interest in these things no matter what the price is.


hammerfall22
hammerfall22

He has a good point, I give that. Maybe there the place of VR is not so meanstream. But, I think it would be very nice play good games with this occulus rift (but, true be told: the games must be very well prepared to it! You can`t see your keyboard... or controller, so... ).

You will not "dis-plug from reality", you will play it what? 1h? 2h? Maybe at night... not different from games without the occulus. But he is right, the "immerseviness" will be very high.

Ps: my english is a crap today, but ok.

Gazz64
Gazz64

Well said, games are just coming back to the social point they had years ago, friends around the tv all playing the same game drinking a popular fizzy drink. And now tech is trying to alienate every one again. It will have its uses I admit that but they will be limited.

Jawehawk-DK
Jawehawk-DK

I have to agree. Not feeling all the hype for VR.

digitm64
digitm64

Does EA know that if you hear your phone ring, you can take the item off?  It doesn't drill into your skull in that you cannot remove it.
I think the truth might be that EA have looked at it, and realized they would have to put effort into the games to make it work.  And effort is not common enough at EA.

Martyr77
Martyr77

You mean EA who doesn't have involvement in the VR market is trying to insult it and keep it from growing popular? REALLY??!?!?

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

I prefer the Star Trek Holodeck than Oculus Rift, just saying.

LesserAngel
LesserAngel

@Gravity_Slave "Sorry if you don't like it but that's the truth."

>Fails to cite sources of any kind.

What you have there is not truth, but just your opinion. You're entitled to your opinion of course, but don't try to pass it off as fact, it just makes you look like a weenie.

LesserAngel
LesserAngel

@Dannystaples14 Yet a lot people put up with the 'inconvenience' of having a headset tethered to their console/PC or controller. If they have to go out of range of the cord, they do the logical thing and take it off. I fail to see how VR goggles would be different in this regard (though it'll probably take a little longer to remove than a comparatively simple communication headset).

Sl4cka
Sl4cka

@Dannystaples14 I like how you talk about most people. Could you please provide us with your full statistical data?

noladem504
noladem504

@TheGreatGhoul due to your lack of a sense of humor, it's no surprise why you prefer to be anti-social

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@ArchoNils2 This guy has absolutely nothing to do with EA, and hasn't worked there for a very long time.


You fell for the Gamespot clickbait.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Psycold This guy has absolutely nothing to do with EA, and hasn't worked there for a very long time.


You fell for the Gamespot clickbait.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@moomookillah If they don't include that in Project Morpheus, then I'll be very surprised. Phones can already do that very easily so why not!

wookiegr
wookiegr

@warriors30 The rift is for those hat hate other people in general, not just bratty kids.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@digitm64 This guy has absolutely nothing to do with EA, and hasn't worked there for a very long time.


You fell for the Gamespot clickbait.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@Martyr77 This guy has absolutely nothing to do with EA, and hasn't worked there for a very long time.


You fell for the Gamespot clickbait.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

@Sl4cka

And where are your stats? But He's talking about everyone but idlots like you. I'm another person who doesn't want to wear a stupid welders mask to play a game. I want to relax with a controller and a chair. Save that goofy VR shlt for bad B-movies.

ArchoNils2
ArchoNils2

Damn, thanks for the info. Well i guess I'm kinda sick of all those "person x said y about VR" articles, so I don't read them detailed enough anymore :o