VR company Oculus has announced that its groundbreaking Rift headset is simultaneously further away from a commercial release than we might have hoped, but substantially closer than many were afraid of.
Company CEO Brendan Iribe told Dublin’s Web Summit 2014:
We’ve gone out there and set this bar and said, ‘We want to get it right.’ We don’t want it to be four or five years. We’re eager for this to happen.
We’re getting very close. It’s months, not years away, but many months.
There’s just a little pressure on the team to get the Rift right – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has estimated the company needs to sell between 50-100 million units in order to be considered a “meaningful” computing platform (Facebook, of course, bought Oculus earlier this year for US$2 billion in cash and stock). That said, he doesn’t expect to sell that sort of quantity of the first Rift headset, predicting instead that it will take “a few cycles of the device” to get there.
When you get to that scale, that’s when it starts to be interesting as a business in terms of developing out the ecosystem. So when I’m talking about that as a ten year thing, it’s building the first set of devices and building the audience and the ecosystem around that until it eventually becomes a business.
Right now, the latest headset build, Crescent Bay, is “largely finalised for a consumer product”, but that’s still not the same as being ready. As anyone who’s dealt with Oculus can attest, the company is comprised of perfectionists, and right now, they’re not happy with the options for controlling the Rift, whether that be a game pad, keyboard and mouse, or gesture controls.
Hopefully, the solution presents itself sooner rather than later, and we can recognise our childhood dreams of virtual reality in our living rooms.