VR market 'more tolerant' than 3D sector

VR market 'more tolerant' than 3D sector
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

December 14th 2012 at 9:30AM

Gamers willing to wear 'funky' gadgets more than the average consumer, says Oculus inventor

The market for virtual reality has greater tolerance than the 3D market, which has struggled to take off in the home, claims the creator behind Oculus Rift.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said that his VR headset won’t suffer from the fate of reluctant consumers because its audience of gamers are more open to wearing bulky entertainment gear.

“It’s something we’ve thought about,” he told Develop, when asked if he was concerned that the headset could be as tough a sell as 3D TV has turned out to be.

“It’s a bit of a different market. I’ve always loved 3D too; I’m on of those guys that doesn’t mind wearing glasses while I watch TV. 3D TVs give you an advantage in terms of immersion, you see things in stereo; but they don’t immerse you nearly as much as a VR headset.

"There’s no head-tracking, its not a wide field of view and it doesn’t block out the outside world. So it’s cool, but it’s not nearly as compelling for gaming if you’re trying to immerse people as much as possible.”

TV is a social activity and, as Palmer concedes, eyewear impedes with that. Games companies and film studios have had an uphill battle convincing consumers that 3D is an experience for the home because for a number of reasons, starting with the high cost of 3D glasses and the immediate divisions they create.

In an interview with Eurogamer, SCE UK’s head Fergal Gara admitted that 3D in the home isn’t important to the major of consumers.

Oculus Rift is targeted at PC gamers and development enthusiasts, and as a result, Luckey believes it stands a greater chance of being welcomed.

“[By comparison] PC gaming is set up for one player. You know, one or several monitors, a keyboard, a mouse and desk," said Luckey.

"It’s not meant to be a social activity where you’re all interacting and doing other things, like eating at the same time. It’s just a very different market. Gamers will wear things like gigantic audio headsets that completely block out the outside world, so there’s obviously a lot less resistance from PC gamers than from the average guy sitting in his living room, watching a 3D TV with funky glasses.

“So I think a lot of the criticism levelled at 3D glasses and TVs just doesn’t apply, because our target audience just doesn’t care as much about wearing bulky stuff on their head. They’ve proved it.”