Zuckerberg tried PS4 VR headset a week before Facebook bought Oculus Rift

Founder of social networking giant tested out Sony's Project Morpheus a week before surprise $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR.

by

Just a week before paying $2 billion to buy Oculus VR--maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset--Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg tried out Sony's own virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus, it has been revealed.

PlayStation marketing executive Guy Longworth said today during a Games Marketing Summit 2014 session that he remembers Zuckerberg asking, "Can I have a tech demo?" for Project Morpheus. Longworth said he wondered why, at the time, Zuckerberg might want to see Sony's headset.

Now, it appears Zuckerberg wanted to check in on the rival to Oculus Rift to make sure he was making the right decision in buying Oculus VR.

"I wish he bought ours," Longworth said with a smile, referencing Facebook's surprise purchase of Oculus VR, which was approved today by the Federal Trade Commission, according to a Reuters report. "All the folks at Oculus have got big smiles on today."

Just because Facebook chose Oculus Rift over Project Morpheus, it doesn't mean that Sony has become soured on the prospects for virtual reality. Not at all, according to Longworth.

"If you think about VR, not just in terms of gaming, I think wearable technology is a huge trend that's going to continue," he said. "I think that being able to have experiences that are truly deep and immersive...that it somehow makes you feel you are there...is something that people want. If you could really deliver that in the future, that would be huge."

Ubisoft senior vice president of sales and marketing, Tony Key, also spoke during the panel. He said virtual reality technology like Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus represents a "breakthrough, technologically speaking," but explained that he believes it won't take off unless the content is there.

"How many people are willing to put this thing on their head? It all depends on the content," Key said. "It's going to be content-driven in the end whether these things are successful or not." Key went on to say that he tried Oculus Rift and it made him sick.

Finally, head of product planning for Xbox, Albert Penello, offered some quick thoughts on virtual reality before the panel came to an abrupt end. He said "I think [VR is] great," going on to note that he gets the same feeling using VR today that he did when he first tried Kinect in 2008. In short, he said he's excited about the future for VR, but said there are still hurdles to overcome. Microsoft is reportedly working on its own VR/AR technology, and even paid as much as $150 million to acquire assets related to wearable technology earlier this year.

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

Discussion

295 comments
goodemon
goodemon

Haha kinectvwas a total bust. But Morpheus with move support is going to be sick!

clasiker_raggim
clasiker_raggim

"I wish he bought ours," Longworth said with a smile"

Are you aware mister Longworth about the fact that this would have destroyed the project for gaming technology? Would you sell the entire company for enough money if you'd own Sony if Dumberberg would say that he wants to change its profile from making games to making dildos?

Why are you working for Sony again?

-s3r6i0-
-s3r6i0-

The PS4 VR is already owned by Sony. It makes sense to say this now that you've invested in the competition. 


Anyway, I don't care if the Oculus Rift doubles as a vibrator, Mark Zuckerburg can shove it up his @$$. I will never put money into that guy's pocket.

Alecmrhand
Alecmrhand

Zuckerberg could have built his own headset for a small percentage of 2 billion. It makes zero business sense to overpay for a piece of tech that is being reproduced by other companies this very second.


Zuckerberg just bought MySpace instead of starting Facebook....

FlyingAce1016
FlyingAce1016

Soo basically Oculus rift was bettter obviously or zucker would have fucking bought sony xD thank god he didnt though still facebook oculus saddens me :( glad they are mostly leaving it alone other than funding them

okmarshall
okmarshall

Of course it makes sense for them to buy Oculus over the Sony VR. Facebook is a PC and mobile based service which is what the Oculus will work with. The Sony VR is at the moment exclusive to PS4 and is owned by them to be used by them. Why would Sony even sell it to Facebook when they are a massive company in their own right. Makes no sense.

nobody490
nobody490

Nah, as long as you have to wear a big, uncomfortable device on your head, I don't think VR will ever become popular.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

This is some TMZ level shit right here.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

I wonder if Tony Key cares that he makes me ill?  Funny how he seems to be trying to dismiss the technology by adding that "oh, by the way" statement.  jmo

Anyway, Oculus at this point has invested a lot of effort into reducing the sensing/movement lag time and that will help with the motion sickness.  I also get the feeling that FOV also has an effect on it as a result of eye separation distances and also peripheral vision.  Making it adjustable could help both headsets.

On the other hand some folks will probably always have motion sickness using this tech.  Such is the nature of our adaptive analog balance system.

billlabowski
billlabowski

People were trying it and getting ill. They had a prototype at CES this year but cut it short because it wasn't looking good for them. It needs work. Who would want to buy Sony's VR in the first place? It's connected to a closed platform. Oculus was the obvious choice. Do I like that Oculus is owned by Facebook? No. But Oculus is the better product, it is for an open platform and will sell better than Sony's VR. It's just facts.

LJNkickstarter
LJNkickstarter

Whatever people say here that Mark didnt buy Morpheus because Ocolust is much more better.. Sony is huge they wont sell their product to Zuckerberg.

Pewbert
Pewbert

"I wish he bought ours" - because it's all about getting that money rather than developing an amazing product.

Tangsta03
Tangsta03

An actual Jurassic Park via VR. Make it happen and I'm on board! :)

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

All I know is...

E3 is going to be outrageously good. Battle of the big guns!

ank000
ank000

Regardless of who bought what, future of VR and Sony looks pretty bright to me.

NikoKun
NikoKun

@clasiker_raggim Just FYI, FB certainly did not "destroy" the Oculus Rift, as a gaming technology. The Rift is just as gaming oriented as it ever was, it's always been about games, and that's still the main goal. In order for the technology to be useful for ANYTHING, it has to be good at games first, that's just the nature of good VR. What's good for games, is good for everything else.

VR was ALWAYS going to end up being used for more than just gaming, and that's great. It will change the world, not just the gaming industry. That's always been the whole point, from the very beginning.

So if you're point was that FB has killed Oculus for gaming, you're crazy, there's no evidence of that, and plenty to show it's still a hardcore gaming device. Anyone who puts any effort into following the VR/Oculus community, can see that, clear as day.

packers904
packers904

@clasiker_raggim  it's a business at the end of the day, and yeah sony would totally sell out for that money and would never look back.

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

@-s3r6i0-  Don't worry; I'm sure he has a way to make money off of you every day already anyways. Cheers!

gamespotpanayis
gamespotpanayis

@Alecmrhand  Of course it makes sense.  He took a look at what Sony could produce, with it's enormous R&D budget and hardware know-how.  Facebook has the resources but not the know how.. so they would expect to produce something not quite as good as Morpheus on a good day.

He was obviously so impressed at the quality of the Rift over Morpheus that a demo of Morpheus just made up his mind.

2 Billion is a whole lot of money, but now they own technology they would probably have never been able to produce themselves.

Of course, whether the technology is worth that price, who knows?

NikoKun
NikoKun

@FlyingAce1016 Oculus Rift IS better than Sony's Morpheus prototype, in virtually every way. Sure, Sony will eventually make great VR hardware, but that takes time, and they're still in the prototyping stage, whereas Oculus is already focused on making their Consumer model.. Zuckerberg bought Oculus because it was currently the best, and closest to a consumer viable device. It will beat Sony's to market. Also, Sony never would have sold to anyone anyway, so that'd be impossible.

Another thing to note, the PS4 was not designed for VR, so it will never be as good at VR as the PC experience will be. Sure it will work, but it wont be an ideal experience. Sony is going to have to release a new console, like PS5 or PS4VR in a few years, if they want to really compete in the VR world.

dysonlu
dysonlu

If Oculus Rift was worth $2B, Sony would have cost at least 10x more.

gamespotpanayis
gamespotpanayis

@nobody490  I dont see this as much different to wearing gaming headphones.. except it covers your eyes.

I understand it's supposed to be pretty comfortable.. but I guess each user's experience will vary.

NikoKun
NikoKun

@nobody490 But they wont be a "big, uncomfortable device on your head". That's just how the prototypes look.

The consumer models will be light weight, so you'll barely notice them, and compact to be roughly the size of ski goggles, eventually maybe even the size of sunglasses.

silversoul420
silversoul420

@TimberWolf_CLT  The Oculus team already achieved sub 20ms latency, so latency is not an issue anymore. Motion blur also makes you sick extremely fast but they also adressed that issue with their low persistence display technology, As for FOV I've never heard about someone wearing sky goggles getting motion sickness. 

Lack of positional tracking will make you sick as well but their tracking system with LEDs and a camera fixes that.

The hardware is already almost motion sickproof however certain features in apps/games will always make you sick as it also happens in real life. You will also naturally adapt to whatever you use. 

Developers must be educated on how to develop for VR. For that purpose the Oculus team released a pdf document a few months ago containing useful info explaining what should and what shouldn't be done while developing for VR.

The Oculus Rift is ready to rock but they won't release it until its absolutely perfect.

borednerdy
borednerdy

@TimberWolf_CLT About 8 years ago, I was a "research test subject" on a virtual reality goggle prototype.  I am pretty sure that they ALL will make you sick, at least at first.  I went 5 minutes before I had to stop, but gradually worked my way up over the span of 2 hours, and I then was able to go as long as I wanted without getting sick.  They will all just take getting used to! :)

silversoul420
silversoul420

@billlabowski  I agree with you except for this: "They had a prototype at CES this year but cut it short because it wasn't looking good for them" - What do you mean? The prototype wasn't good enough? Please give me the source to that. 

I saw a few videos and read a few reviews/articles about the Crystal Cove prototype and while most said its not perfect (low resolution, 1080p) its pretty much close to it. The positional tracking and OLED display are great, there's no motion blur and no motion sickness (although they were only being demoed for about 5-15min).

As for Sony's VR HMD, they were demoing 2 games (at least) and 1 of them was being played on a PC. Still Oculus > Sony.


silversoul420
silversoul420

@LJNkickstarter  Sony tried to buy OculusVR for billions. However the Oculus team is not stupid. Sony is "huge" and they have a VR team that has only been drinking coffee and watching TV for the past decade until Oculus came around. 

Sony never took much interest in VR to begin with and the best VR experts in the world are currently part of the Oculus Team. Now that FB invested $2B on Oculus, Sony is not so "huge" anymore when it comes to VR.

The Oculus Rift is much better than Project Morpheus regardless if you are a Sony fanboy or not.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

@LJNkickstarter Oculus is better based on the fact that Project Morpheus is built based on a technically inferior product (meaning PS4) Oculus will get better as computer hardware gets better and more powerful as Project Morpheus potentially stays the same throughout it's life cycle based on the lack of power from the PS4 with no hope of playing it with higher resolutions or better framrates.

MAD_AI
MAD_AI

@LJNkickstarter  

Then why did they invite him to test the product? They weren't going to sell him their product for sure, but he would've been a huge investor in it.

SkyAboveThePort
SkyAboveThePort

@ank000  Yeah I agree with Ubisoft's Key here. Sony has the tech near ready, as well as huge content. Facebook has the tech only, and Microsoft is still to produce even a prototype. Therefore Sony is going to have the first move advantage on this one imho..

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@silversoul420 Excellent points and info, thank you! 

I was reiterating the latency issue purely because I remember suffering with that back with the equipment in the 70's.  I don't get motion sick but even I struggled with that back then.

I was really impressed when I received the first dev kit and ran it against their demos and then Skyrim and other games.  All of those bad VR memories faded away.  My only gripe was the screen and feeling like I was looking at the world with my nose pressed against a screen door.  That was fine when I was 4 but not trying to play a game.  :)  However they have that well in hand and with financial backing from FB (crap, I mentioned the evil empire didn't I?) I'm curious to see what custom parts they get made for them.

I'm scraping up the money for a DEV2 kit and am looking forward to seeing the current gen in action.  Maybe even open the screen door and step outside this time... :)

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@borednerdy @TimberWolf_CLT You make an excellent point, thank you.  With that in mind, I hope that with minimizing the lag we can lower that threshold.  If not, it's going to be a hard sell for some people.

Your experience shows just how adaptable humans are.  Which circles back to the need for great existing content to make folks want to adapt.

I've been working with VR since the '70s and this current time seems to be the closest we've ever been to mass acceptance.  Should make for an interesting time.

zerocrit
zerocrit

Is that what the article said?....... Cuz I read "PlayStation marketing executive Guy Longworth said today during a Games Marketing Summit 2014 session that he remembers Zuckerberg asking, "Can I have a tech demo?" for Project Morpheus. Longworth said he wondered why, at the time, Zuckerberg might want to see Sony's headset."

NikoKun
NikoKun

@SkyAboveThePort The simple reason you're wrong, is because Oculus already has WAY more developer support, and a huge head start. But regardless, they're not competing over the same platform, so neither will win over the other, as they're not in the same game.

There's already over 60k DK1s out there, and probably nearing 50k preorders for DK2, before it's even out. Sony has a prototype, which hasn't been given to anyone yet, with only a few hopeful games supporting it on PAPER at this stage.  The Rift has over a hundred indie-developed games, and dozens of big-budget games in the works for it, many are being made from the ground up for VR, making them exclusive to VR.

No idea what makes you think Sony's got the first move advantage. They're like a year behind. lol

merrickx
merrickx

@SkyAboveThePort @ank000  What? There is a shitton more content for the Rift right now, whereas Sony has announced support in like, what, two triple-A titles, EVE V and Drive Club? Two of their GDC demos were running on PCs as well.

pixeljunkie69
pixeljunkie69

@SkyAboveThePort @ank000 You must be high. There are 80,000 Rift dev kits in developer hands and already about 100 demo's on the Oculus Share site.  That's not even counting the larger budget games released/and coming with VR support, including Star Citizen, Routine, Alien Isolation, Doom 3 BFG, Half Life 2, Team Fortress 2, the Forest, then there 3rd party apps that already convert a few hundred of non-rift games to support Rift, including Alan Wake, Assassin's Creed, Bioshock, Farcry, Crysis, Dead Space, Elder Scrolls, Splinter Cell,Witcher, Mass Effect.


How many Morpheus dev kits are there? And how many console games have VR support already? None?


Also, the PS4 is going to struggle to offer a good 1080+, 90hz+ VR experience, it's just not a capable enough machine. I don't really care WHO has the better VR, but I do care that people don't just make shit up, and you're making shit up.

borednerdy
borednerdy

@TimberWolf_CLT I agree, I can't wait for the advances to come!  I think the main source of the motion sickness was movement on a horizontal plane rather than any lag issues.  Looking around was fine, but when I started walking around and opening doors, it felt very odd without the physical gratification of doing so.  I'm sure there are ways to minimize that though, so it will be cool to see what they come up with. I'm excited! :)

NikoKun
NikoKun

@dysonlu LOL! Oculus Rift is on PC, And PC as a platform has orders of magnitude more games on it, than any console in existence. That alone means PC will likely have more VR OR games.

Sure, PS4 might have some exclusive big budget deals for VR.. But they will NEVER have as many games as PC has. Console-fanboys always assume they're system is better because it has a few big budget exclusives.. What a joke.

The PC VR scene is gearing up to have dozens of big-budget/mainstream VR titles and hundreds of indie VR games COMPLETED and ready, by the time the Oculus Rift consumer model comes out. All that, and the "market is not even born yet", so I'd say PC has a BIG chance at being the top VR platform. Of course it will also perform better/smoother/faster/prettier VR than any console, until consoles are designed specifically for VR, which is another console hardware generation away, 5 years or so from now. PC VR will long have a foothold by then. lol

dysonlu
dysonlu

@pixeljunkie69  

People claiming that there *will* be more content on OR are delusional.   Sure there's probably more content on OR right now but right now, the market is not even born yet!  Get real.

silversoul420
silversoul420

@pixeljunkie69  Plus over 50,000 Dev kit2 pre-ordered, hundreds and hundreds of other demos that are not hosted on Oculus Share site (there were 250 demos on VR Jam alone) and Unity and UE4 support.

Also being high does not make you stupid. Being ignorant does.

TimberWolf_CLT
TimberWolf_CLT

@SkyAboveThePort @pixeljunkie69@ank000 An issue I have is that your view is "console only".  FB and Oculus are taking the longer-game approach.

Also, regardless of Sony's library of games, how many have baked-in VR support?  There's a panoply of games incorporating VR where the developers are using the Rift Developer kits.  (Who knows, maybe Sony hopes to vampire sales by piggy-backing on that development effort.  It would be ironic.)

Sony will no doubt sell a large number of the Orpheus headsets due to their install base as you pont out.  However, I wonder how many will end up collecting dust along side the Eye...


merrickx
merrickx

@SkyAboveThePort @pixeljunkie69 @ank000  


"30 fps only"


You really don't know what you're talking about. Firstly, there's no way Sony's headset is going to be 30fps. That just won't work for VR. People will not use it at that frame rate. It is unbearably uncomfortable. Secondly, that resolution and frame rate would not prevail regardless of how much good content there was to utilize it.


You keep saying "probably," but all your claims are completely baseless. You assume that Sony is just keeping announcements "under wraps," but the truth is they haven't even had a working prototype for more than a year and a half to two years (do not claim their original HMZ-like designs were of any merit in this regard).


So, again- no, Sony doesn't "got the content," OR the user base. There are far more PC gamers than there are users of any one console. You say, in your second paragraph, many "probably's" and "maybe's," then wrap it up by flat out calling it fact.





Sevenizz
Sevenizz

Sony Move says hello...and goodbye.

SkyAboveThePort
SkyAboveThePort

@pixeljunkie69 @SkyAboveThePort @ank000  Yea, so l you're not only stupid but also rude. And can't read. Or accept other opinions. Either way, I'm here to help you out by some more explanation why I think what I think. You're welcome.


I said I agree that content > tech. So even if Sony's product will be 720p and 30 fps only, they'll be able to offer hundreds of first-party games and who knows how many thousands of movies. Once the device is out, third parties will also support it, so your list of outdated games for the Rift doesn't matter; nobody's going to play Alan Wake more than half an hour.. The fact that you don't read about titles being adapted for Morpheus only means that development is kept under the hood. Certainly Sony has shitloads of stuff being readied for the launch of the hardware.. And for everyone owning a PS4, there's basically just one option. By now the install base of PS4 is probably already > than PCs being able to handle the Rift in 1080p / 90 Hz, and this gap is going to increase.


So again, Sony got the content (and the user base). While the Rift is "probably" the better tech, it won't matter in the end.