Jason Rubin, Oculus’ head of content, during a discussion at DICE Summit in Las Vegas states that it is going to be a couple of years before virtual reality achieves the sort growth that some were expecting. Rubin was responding to a question from Insomniac Games founder Ted Price. The two figures were on stage to discuss the potential of VR and its current state.
The discussion started off with Price asking Rubin why there was such a huge gap between early expectations of VR and current reality of the technology and its adoption. Rubin stated that we have to separate the promise of VR and the VR year-one sales. He states that Oculus believes that VR is going to be the next big thing. He said the company is unwavering in its belief. Rubin stated that high expectations for VR were set by hype and not what those who were involved in the technology were predicting.
Rubin explains that we are now in that reality part of the curve. This is going to last for the next couple of years as we look to get everything right. And then, we will hit that growth. He says that the company believes that VR is a massive part of the future of humanity.
Rubin said that he believes that the path to future success of virtual reality is explained through a 3D graph. Rubin’s graph is made of up three elements which are price, quality, and content. Rubin believes that the current devices are not where they need to be on all three points.
Rubin gave the example of the Samsung Gear VR which is priced at just under $100. He says that the pricing is just about right. The device is powered by a smartphone. It sold over 5 million units and it still continues to sell. However, while the reviews are mostly positive, Rubin explains that the device does not drive the sort of long term relationship and excitement that Oculus wants to see. The gadget is also held back by issues with battery life and the need to put your own phone in the device to power it.
Quality-wise, the Gear VR is knocked out of the park by the Rift but the number one reason people are not purchasing it is because of its price. Rubin said that both devices were on the wrong side of the graph. None of the devices have the content to drive people to get into the business. He said that although it is a fantastic experience today, they still need to do a lot better. He said the Rift needs to maintain its quality and drop in price.
Rubin and Price also talked about the sustainability of VR software development. He said that the platform is not yet ready to support studios creating big games. Price said that virtual reality is a budding enterprise and the audience is still growing. He said that they believe VR is here to stay and it is important to get in early. Oculus Studios has published three VR games by Insomniac entitled Federal Rites, Edge of Nowhere and The Unspoken as published by Polygon.
The biggest lesson Rubin had for new game developers, is to experiment a lot with concepts. He said developers should do a lot of small throwaways. Rubin gave an example of a developer that got it right which is Superhot. He said the developer behind Tiltbrush did a lot of experimenting as reported by gameindustry.biz.