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Oculus Rift Creator: People Don't Yet Understand Appeal of VR

"I don't think they understand why it's relevant to them yet," Palmer Luckey says.

Palmer Luckey speaking at Steam Dev Days earlier this year
Palmer Luckey speaking at Steam Dev Days earlier this year

By and large, people don't yet understand why virtual reality is relevant to them. That's according to Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey, who told GameSpot sister site CNET that companies like Oculus VR still have a lot of work to do to show people that VR is much more than just a new way to play video games.

"I don't think they understand why it's relevant to them yet," Luckey said. "A lot of people, even if they know what VR is, see it as this tool to go in your basement and play Halo. I was about to correct myself and say another game, but that's what a grandmother would say: 'Oh, you're going to plug it into your Nintendo and play Halo.'"

This perception is eventually going to change as VR becomes mainstream and people get to see VR applications in the fields of film and communication, Luckey said. Once this happens, "They're going to see this is relevant to them in their daily lives as a not-pimply-faced-teenage-kid," he said. "That's going to be a difficult perception to overcome."

The new Oculus Rift Crescent Bay devkit
The new Oculus Rift Crescent Bay devkit

Asked how Oculus Rift will overcome this challenge, Luckey said it will be a mixture of creating compelling content, getting headsets out into the wild, and a "lot of grassroots evangelism." Don't expect to see Oculus Rift TV commercials anytime soon, though. "I don't think a television ad can nearly be as effective as showing people this thing," he said.

Also in CNET's interview with Luckey, he teases that some high-profile video game publishers are seriously investing in VR at the moment. Though he declined to name any companies outright, he did say that "there are multibillion-dollar game development studios doing serious work in VR."

Major game companies like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft have talked about the potential application for VR in gaming, but no major industry publishers have announced any VR projects. In fact, some prominent industry figures have spoken out to say they don't have a lot of faith in VR impacting gaming in a meaningful way.

You can read CNET's full interview with Luckey here. GameSpot also got a chance to speak with Luckey recently. Check back later this week for our own interview with the VR visionary.

Over the weekend during the first Oculus Connect conference, Oculus VR revealed the next iteration of its Oculus Rift developer kit, called Crescent Bay.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch

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