This morning, we gave the VR community a sneak peek of what you can expect from Oculus at GDC. With new Oculus Quest demos and some surprises in store, it feels like a good time to take a step back and reflect on where we’ve been and what’s next.
For some, it was an early prototype; for others, a fully realized dev kit or a drop-in headset and phone. For me, it was the moment I held that duct-taped display and circuit board up and peered inside. No matter how you got there though, that first glimpse of VR was magic.
Three years of MarineVerse
It’s magic because it opens up a world of possibilities—the next evolution of gaming, a fully immersive computing platform, exciting new ways to learn, explore, and connect. That energy we all felt was electric. And in 2019, it’s stronger than ever.
The pace of progress is part of what makes the VR industry so exciting. When Rift launched, you could only play The Climb with a gamepad—something that became pretty much unthinkable once Touch shipped. Today, the industry is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was just a few years ago—and we’re all-in to keep it accelerating.
It’s inevitable that VR will be another key medium for games. We’ve already seen the beginnings of it. Rift pushes the limits of what’s possible and remains the gold standard for high-end PC VR. It’s at the core of a growing and thriving community and home to some of the game industry’s most exciting new titles, like Stormland , Defector , and Asgard’s Wrath . As the Rift community expands, we continue to invest in a platform that gets you into your favorite games with your closest friends.
Virtual Reality Doesn’t Have to be Expensive. The idea that virtual reality is expensive to produce comes up over and over from businesses interested in creating an experience. The truth is although virtual reality can be expensive, it isn’t always expensive. Like most things, virtual reality’s price greatly depends on the scope of the project. Companies can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars investing in the technology. However, other companies like YouVisit can create the same type of experience with costs ranging in the low to mid five figures.
We continue to ship software improvements to Rift on a steady basis, incorporating your feedback to level up our existing hardware while developing new tech (more on that soon). On the content side, we’ve seen the ecosystem continue to come into its own. There’s truly standout games like Ready At Dawn ’s Echo Games universe that more than deliver with an incredibly high bar for quality, and indie upstarts like Beat Saber and Rec Room that have defied expectations and surprised us in the way that we always hoped VR would.
Oculus Go has opened up VR to even more people—87% of Oculus Go owners are new to the Oculus ecosystem. The simplicity of our all-in-one form factor makes it easy for newcomers to get in the game, and the launch of Oculus Quest will jumpstart the next chapter for VR gaming.
When The L.A. Times says VR arcades and location-based experiences are what’s hopefully going to save America’s malls, studios like Survios are answering that call with VR tournaments and fight nights. Do you think location-based VR experiences, games, and attractions will get more people off the sofa?
Coming out of CES, Oculus Quest was called “ the savior VR needs .” The experience is magical, and we can’t wait for more people to try it for themselves soon. We have an exciting roadmap for Quest’s system software, and we plan to update and improve the platform regularly. Quest, Rift, and Go are living platforms that will evolve every month, alongside this community.
Oculus Quest is just another milestone on our long journey to bring VR to everyone. Through Facebook Reality Labs, our commitment to research continues—and it’s accelerating. At F8 last year, we shared a prototype followed by an AI-powered rendering system that mimics, in real time, how we see the world. Research like this gives you an idea of what our teams are working on. We’re looking to make true breakthroughs—from optics and displays to haptics and more.
The U.S. Government Loves VR. Both NASA and the U.S. military are investing in virtual reality. NASA uses the technology to try to connect engineers with the devices they send into space. Using the Oculus, and motion sensing equipment from the Xbox One gaming console, NASA engineers are developing ways to control a robotic arm with gestures made by the operator here on Earth. The military uses VR to recruit and to train soldiers before they are deployed. The simulated scenarios provide opportunities for teams to work together in immersive, realistic environments to better prepare them for the chaos of combat.
VR is bigger than just one company—it’s about you, the industry, and our community as a whole. Collectively, we’re building for the future. We build for gamers and first-time players. For developers. For creators and designers. For everyone using VR to pioneer the future in their field.
With Oculus Quest and much more on the horizon, expect more of that same magic we all felt in the beginning. I’ve been getting some time in with the games we’re bringing to GDC and PAX East, like the latest from Turtle Rock Studios . It reminds me of playing Zelda back when I was a kid—that sense of awe and wonder and larger-than-life adventure.
But you have to put on the headset to get that feeling yourself. So stop reading, get your GDC plans squared away, and get ready for 2019.
Oculus Connect 5 Kicks Off Sept. 26-27
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