15-year Electronic Arts veteran David De Martini could have retired to a life of playing golf, but he instead joined Oculus VR as its head of worldwide publishing, it has been announced.
The former EA executive, who oversaw EA Origin and the EA Partners Program while at the Battlefield publisher, confirmed his move to the virtual reality company in an interview with GamesIndustry International.
"I was ready to potentially retire to the golf course, and this was just so ground-breaking that it took me out of playing golf three days a week," De Martini said. "The potential was just so large that it was really something I'd been searching for at least the last five years within EA. It's the most exciting thing I've been a part of since at least Rock Band at EA."
De Martini is not the first former publisher executive or industry veteran that Oculus VR has brought on board. The company's ranks include former Activision and Gaikai executives, as well as Doom co-creator John Carmack, who joined the company full-time in November..
At Oculus VR, De Martini's job will be to introduce the Oculus Rift technology to developers of all size. He said he expects companies like EA and Activision, as well as numerous independent developers, to jump on board the new technology. Still, De Martini is aware of the challenge he is faced with in getting the platform off the ground.
"We have exactly zero production units sold in right now," De Martini said. "So they look at that and ask how many are you going to have? When are you going to ship? How many are you going to ship? And we point them to directional answers. And developers like certainty. They like specific answers."
Still, De Martini argued that the time is right for Oculus Rift to succeed because people don't care about more advanced visuals, but rather new experiences, he said.
"People are so tired of the last 15 years of the game industry, hearing about 'greater visual fidelity,'" De Martini said. "No one cares about greater visual fidelity anymore. It's already good enough. We don't need things to look even better; we need the experience to fundamentally change, and the Oculus platform is a fundamental change to how people will experience games."
Also in the interview, Oculus VR vice president Nate Mitchell said console owners like Microsoft and Sony may be interested in the company's virtual reality efforts, despite CEO Palmer Luckey saying on record that consoles are "too limited" for what the company has in mind.
"I think there's a huge demand for Oculus on the consoles because frankly, the gaming community is there," Mitchell said. "There's a huge PC gamer base at Oculus, but there's also an enormous console base. So many gamers out there own consoles; of course it makes sense that we'd want to have the Rift working on those machines. I think there's a ton of enthusiasm from the community to get the Rift on consoles. We'll see where we end up."
The Oculus Rift headset remains in development at Oculus VR, though no release date has been announced yet for the commercial version, which is expected to be available for $300 when it does launch. Development kits went out to developers earlier this year.