Oculus announced an all-in-one headset intended to further its aspirations for VR in the mainstream as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of parent company Facebook (pictured), outlined the steps needed to invigorate the industry.
Touching on a previously stated aspiration to get 1 billion people into VR, he said: “We have a saying at Facebook that the journey is 1 per cent finished, and in this case, not even quite. But I’m confident that we’re going to get there.” To take the next steps on the path, “we all need to focus on solving two important problems next”.
Speaking at the Oculus Connect 5 event, the executive said that first up is the creation of a self-sustaining ecosystem. Noting that, while there are already “thousands” of VR titles, “right now a lot of this is indie development, a lot of this is still funded directly by us to get the ecosystem started, some of it is big studios exploring, even if it’s not profitable yet.”
“So the big question is what is it going to take for it to be profitable for all developers to build these large efforts for VR?”
The answer is scale, specifically the need for 10 million people on a given platform, which is “the threshold where the number of people using and buying VR content makes it sustainable and profitable for all kinds of developers.” And, pointing out that is 10 million per platform, “because if you build a game for Rift, it doesn’t necessarily work on Go or PlayStation”, he pledged future versions of Oculus products will maintain compatibility with existing models to create a larger addressable base.
The second need is “to build a product with a form factor that is comfortable, you can take with you anywhere you go, and is powerful enough to run any experience we want”. The Facebook chief identified key attributes of “the ideal VR system” including the need to be standalone; support hand tracking; and offer six-degrees of freedom – before introducing its new Oculus Quest device.
Quest sits between Oculus Go (“the most affordable way to experience VR for the first time”) and Oculus Rift (“for experiences that need a PC to push the edge of what’s possible”). Set to ship in early 2019, it will be priced at $399, with more than 50 titles available at launch and more promised “soon”.
In a statement, the company said that among the promised content is “a yet untold Star Wars story” called Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series, which will debut exclusively on Oculus Quest. It will “let you step inside the Star Wars universe and wield a lightsabre like a true Jedi”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back