CEO Brendan Iribe says next stop for company is future smartphones
Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe says his company is considering the possibility of bringing its VR headset to future mobile devices.
The Oculus Rift is due to be released some time next year for PC, and many who've experienced the headset say it's the first such device to really get virtual reality right.
In an interview with Edge, Iribe talked about where he thought the company was headed, and suggested the most interesting possibility was mobile.
"I love consoles but internally we're a lot more excited about where mobile's going to go, and being able to plug it right into a next gen cellphone," said Iribe.
"It's the innovation, and how fast cellphones are now improving - where we'll be with the next Galaxy or the next iPhone compared to where consoles are. Those things are almost doubling every year, compared to a console that's just stuck it out for eight years - it just makes us very excited.”
While the idea that game consoles are “not a focus” for the VR company is certainly a surprise, Iribe's explanation does make some sense.
“There's a lot of improvements that can be made on the hardware side for VR that no-one's doing yet because it's a new thing,” he continued.
“The mobile rate of innovation is going to be able to make a lot of those improvements."
In other words, hardware will need to adapt when VR is a market reality, and the only tech adapting at that rate is in mobile.
Iribe welcomes the possibility of competition, arguing that it will boost the progress and adoption of VR.
“There’ll be other people that end up doing VR, it’s not like Oculus is going to be the only VR provider – and I think there is a lot of innovation still to come,” he said.
“This is one year in, right? Imagine where we go in the next eight to ten years. It’s going to accelerate so quickly, with the resolution, positional tracking, hand tracking – you should be able to be in there and see your hand without any latency in the future, and you should be able to look at other avatars in the game and see mouth tracking without any latency tied to voice.”
With this sort of potential, VR could mean more for games than just a better way to shoot digital zombies.
“I think a lot will come from the social and emotional side that nobody has even seen yet,” explained Iribe.
“Like, you’ll know where the player’s eyes are, and characters can now look at you and say ‘hey what’s up?’ and if you look away they’ll be like, ‘hey what’s going on?’. There’s a lot of emotion you can spark in [VR] that you just can’t on a TV.”
“When you have headset with a really wide field of view and low latency, your brain flips the switch and says: wait a second – this is reality now? It just fundamentally changes the way you feel things.”