Interview with Oculus Rift Co-founder Palmer Luckey

Terry Olaes

I Used to be the [H] News Guy
Joined
Nov 27, 2006
Messages
4,640
Re/code sat down with the co-founder of the Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey. He discussed the current state of virtual reality, uses outside of gaming, and pricing, among other topics. When asked if VR is the next iPhone, here's how he responded.

I think it is, but the difference with the iPhone is that there had been smartphones for a really long time. The iPhone took it and refined it. It took decades of research into user interface design — you had Windows Mobile phones, you had Palm phones. I had a Nokia N800. It was a really cool device. But it was really clunky to use.

You look at VR, it just … died. We’re not building on a decade of small improvements. We’re kind of starting from scratch here. It’s unlikely that the first things to come out in that range of consumer devices are going to be the iPhone. The iPhone moment is going to take longer, and it’s probably not going to be such a huge, radical jump, it’s going to be more gradual. The Rift is not the “iPhone of VR.” Nothing out there is “the iPhone of VR.” They’re almost like the Palm Pilots and the Treos of virtual reality.
 

Kardonxt

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
3,156
Cost comes up 8 times in the article and we still have no idea how much its going to cost. I don't care how much Rift and a PC to power it cost as a package. I want to know how much your stupid device is going to cost so I can decide if i'm buying a Vibe or waiting for your slow ass to release the Rift.

\Rant
 

Youn

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
5,669
Ya know, it's likely they simply don't know the final cost yet. It'll be more expensive than the GearVR, most likely...
 

Vote4Cats

n00b
Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Messages
2
I think this whole industry is overhyped except for teenage, and hardcore gamers, augmented reality with smaller glasses is the only real way to bring a partial vr solution to industry.
 

DPI

Nitpick Police
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
10,960
Someone should ask him what it feels like to be a billionaire.
You can see for yourself - kid was sweatin' bullets during their livestream because he's put on a few. Must be all those steak and lobster dinners.
 

XeenSD

Weaksauce
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
126
You have to try the VR now at least once. I prefer the VR to the AR experiences in gaming, though both have their place. The comparisons to 3D TV are misguided: I hate 3D movies... the DK2, CV and other VR experiences are incredible: even in relatively simple games like Minecraft.

Palmer is wise to play his cards this way, and IMHO is being honest. I agree that the Rift is not the end all VR solution, but from a tech stand point he/Rift "kickstarted" (no pun intended) VR for the consumer again. He also gave some smart guys the resources to try new concepts (as did Valve) releasing research dollars circulating in the VR world.

The whole world will not immediately adopt VR, not even a fraction of a fraction will. However if several million worldwide use some sort of VR, it will continue to evolve and the user base will continue to expand.

Palmer is trying to start the wave and ride it, (as is Zuckerberg, HTC, sony, valve and every other VR involved company/person - ground floor is often were the money is). I really don't think this genie can be put back in the bottle. And it is only going to get better, haptics, tracking, graphics, gameplay, brain-computer interfaces all of this is coming and this VR wave is what has jumpstarted the consumer side.

There is another side to this: entertainment needs the next big thing, theaters are passe, 3D was a joke... 4k to 8k to 16k? Do we even notice the difference and at what point? It becomes harder and harder to entertain: VR is the next step in entertainment.

For example:

Jurassic world 12 comes out. In VR. you go to your recliner pop the VR set on and a set of nice headphones, cut the tactile transducer on in your chair and begin, the "Movie/world" begins to unfold, you are part of the crowd... and look there is you GF/BF/brother/sister mother in crowd with you watching the initial dinosaur show or flying in on the transports to the island. They will even put in plot points you can choose.... as a group or an individual.

7 million people subscribe to WoW and get lost in a lower quality graphics MMO. Are you telling me the same amount of people will not go for a more immersesive exp where they can BE the elf/orc/human/whatever?

Think about pR0n... I leave that as is...
 

DPI

Nitpick Police
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
10,960
I think this whole industry is overhyped except for teenage, and hardcore gamers, augmented reality with smaller glasses is the only real way to bring a partial vr solution to industry.
Only someone that hasn't experienced one of the recent VR HMD's would think this. Until you experience it, you don't know. It's not hype.

HoloLens is a dead end, same as Kinect. Microsoft slipped a few days ago and admitted that FOV isnt' likely to improve in the future on the device. Maybe some other company comes out with a better AR implementation, but at best it is a tech with its nose pressed against the glass looking at what's happening with the massive VR phenomenon.

VR is getting venture capital thrown at it faster than they know what to do with it. AAA developers are creating new divisions and working groups just to build VR only titles. Crytek for example has a team of 50 people working on a new VR only game (Robinson: The Journey).

Billions are going to be pumped into VR in the coming years. I'm afraid its here to stay.
 

convexion

Gawd
Joined
Jun 15, 2004
Messages
946
I think VR is the future, but I'm not sure it's going to be Oculus at the winning end. It seems like there's so many competitors at this point and, having owned a Rift development kit, I can say that there's room for improvement. It's very cool tech no doubt though I think it will be whatever company can make an extremely lightweight, cable-less and high resolution design that will really get the ball rolling.
 

McFry

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 25, 2011
Messages
1,715
I gotta say I fucking hate these new controllers. I tried the Hydra with the Rift and it was absolutely awful, and not because tracking may have been poor (from what I read they are actually pretty accurate devices). The whole beauty of the Rift and VR in general is to suck you into the world. The moment you start trying to interact with that world you are sucked right back out. Holding these funky hand controllers is about what I would expect using a prosthesis would feel like. You see it there, but you know it's not you. They look like floating mannequin hands. I think the new Rift controllers are supposed to allow for a little bit of finger gesture but they still look lame as hell.

Most of what people want to do in VR is just look around and explore. We dont need to be able to reach out and touch things. Not until some kind of full body immersion with digitized finger tracking can be implemented. Even then I'd imagine it would feel kinda weird being able to pass your arm through things. But until then, let the headset do what it does best, bring you into the world so you can gaze and look around. Use the controller for inputs we dont immediately associate with hand eye-coordination, like the controls for a vehicle or just basic movement.
 

Youn

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
5,669
Pretty sure Vive and Touch blow the Hydra out of the water in terms of immersion and fun factor.
 

DPI

Nitpick Police
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
10,960
I think VR is the future, but I'm not sure it's going to be Oculus at the winning end. It seems like there's so many competitors at this point and, having owned a Rift development kit, I can say that there's room for improvement. It's very cool tech no doubt though I think it will be whatever company can make an extremely lightweight, cable-less and high resolution design that will really get the ball rolling.
Honestly it's really just between Valve and Oculus. StarVR is a concept piece with no hope of mass production any time soon, Morpheus is a value add peripheral for one specific console platform.

Valve will have first mover advantage and they have the superior realtime laser based tracking, and they're pushing an open standard which doesn't require Steam. Valve has sent a metric ton of Vive devkits out and have an extraordinary number of developers working on VR titles. It's like they care more about pushing VR into the mainstream than they do about even SteamOS and Steam Machines. The rumor is that Valve wasn't even going to jump into VR and just keep hooking up Oculus with their research, but the moment the Facebook buyout happened Valve decided to step up as a force for open VR. I'm not sure how much of that is true.

Oculus however has years of a head start and a lot of developer inertia. And deep pockets. What's concerning though is they seem to be pushing toward a walled garden appstore with exclusives, and they suddenly dropped Linux and Mac support plans right before the deal with Microsoft.

So I guess both companies are trying to get into pole position and become king of VR, it'll be a fight for sure.
 
Top