Next-generation smartphones may be in Oculus Rift's future.
In an interview with Edge Magazine, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe indicated that the team isn't shooting for consoles. Instead, they're focusing on the PC and perhaps even next-generation mobile devices. Why the latter over a Microsoft or Sony game box? Because of the innovation and rapid evolution of the smartphone. Just compare how the hardware refreshes in each sector and you'll understand why mobile is a bit more exciting.
"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," he told the magazine. "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," he added. "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. The mobile rate of innovation is going to be able to make a lot of those improvements."
Iribe also expects the VR space to accelerate like the mobile space, with competitors entering the arena bringing new innovations. With a high resolution, positional tracking and hand tracking, users may be able to see their hands without any latency in the future, or see other avatars within a virtual space using mouth tracking without any latency tied to voice.
"I think a lot will come from the social and emotional side that nobody has even seen yet," he said. "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."
With all this talk about VR, when will we actually see the first Oculus Rift headset? Last we heard, it will be sometime in 2014, but there's no actual confirmed date.
"We want it to be right," he said. "We don’t want to announce any dates because frankly we just don’t know when it’s going to be really ready for the consumer market where everything is tied together – you have the form factor, HD, motion blur eliminated… so we don’t know how long that will take, but it’s close – we have internal prototypes which have a lot of each thing solved and it’s such a magical experience when you see it all together."
Yes, we want magical. Take all the time you need, but make it quick too.