Oculus Founder Delivers First Consumer Unit in Person

The founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, decided that he would deliver the very first consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR headset himself. The lucky recipient? Ross Martin, an indie developer from Anchorage, Alaska, who was the first person to pre-order the consumer Rift, which will be arriving at the houses of the remaining customers starting on Monday.

The decision by Luckey to deliver the Rift had been a move that he desired for a long time but was only able to realize at the last moment, due to the obvious issues with the founder being out of the office just days before the product’s release. “This didn’t come together until the last second, I’ve had a bunch of things that I’ve wanted to do over the years, and I was pretty adamant,” Luckey told Polygon. “I said hey guys, I’ve been working on this since 2009, we’ve been working on Oculus since 2012, I’ll be damned if some random delivery guy is going to get the satisfaction of delivering the first Rift. That’s mine.”

Meanwhile, Martin, who documented his feelings on the experience on Twitter, first posting an image of the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  He continued to state that in further tweets “So grateful to Palmer Luckey and Oculus for coming all the way to Alaska,” and “You guys are super cool!” Leading up to the release, Martin had no idea that he was the first to order the Rift and when he received the call that it would be delivered early and in-person, he simply believed that all pre-orderers had gotten the same treatment. “I would never think that someone doing it by hand would be the first,” he said.

It is great to see that despite the Rift taking so long to come to market and moves that have been considered unpopular, such as their acquisition by Facebook, that Luckey and Oculus VR treat their customers well.

Palmer Luckey Comments On Why Oculus Rift Doesn’t Support Mac

It would seem like Mac-using fans of the Oculus Rift may just be out of luck. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey spoke to ShackNews at an Xbox event and had some harsh comments about the popular Apple computers. His response to the question of whether the upcoming Oculus Rift would ever be compatible with Mac OS was simply “That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it.”

While this may immediately seem like a comment aimed squarely at insulting Macs, it actually refers to Apple’s reluctance to utilize high-performance GPUs in their computers, instead settling for the anemic Intel integrated chipsets in the majority of their computers.

“You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn’t match our recommended specs,” Luckey stated. “So if they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it.”

The result is that despite the high cost of Macs pricing them at or above many powerful gaming PCs capable of handling VR. Regular and power users simply do not need the power of high-end GPUs and a Mac capable of handling the Rift would likely just inflate the price even further. Will Apple ever make a Mac capable of handling the Oculus Rift, or other VR headsets? It seems likely,  as they wouldn’t want to be left behind the curve on VR and AR products, though whether they later come out with their own specialist hardware instead of compatibility with existing products remains to be seen.

Oculus Founder Discusses Adoption Challenges For VR Headsets

The potential of Virtual Reality is rather exciting and is tipped to be one of the biggest attractions of this week’s CES (Consumer Electronic Show 2016), this is also where the gang of eTeknix are currently stationed in Las Vegas and are ready to bring you the very latest news. VR and the accompanying headsets do bring its own challenges, from adoption to market interest; there are many things to consider, so much so that Palmer Luckey, who is the founder of Oculus VR has discussed such issues and it’s very interesting.

On the subject of Virtual reality headsets replacing smartphones, Palmer Luckey stated that “the technology required many years of further development before it could replace smartphone’s for mainstream users” Mr Luckey also stated that VR headsets would need to be more powerful, cheaper and also slim enough for it to be considered to be both a viable alternative and also an appealing product for a wider adoption.

Asked how long it would take before we would see a ubiquitous use of VR, Mr Luckey stated that it could be anything from “five years – ten years”. The price point is also crucial and analysis by “Touchstone Research” have found that US Internet consumers would be willing to spend the following amounts on a VR device. As you can see, 31% would be willing to spend between $200 – $399 dollars, but if you go to the other end of the spectrum then it conveys that 6% would not be happy to spend a single dollar.

Palmer Luckey also recognises that “the current headset design is “obviously not the ideal form factor” as it is too bulky and needs to be slimmer. Further details include the recent announcement by Oculus concerning the finalization that it will be taking pre – orders for the Rift on January 6,th 2016 and shipping would be in the first quarter of 2016.

It will be interesting to note how this product performs and also how quickly this new tech is adopted by the market.

Image courtesy of fastcompany

Oculus Founder Thinks Cables Are a Major Obstacle for VR on PC

It looks like virtual reality might not become as popular on the PC as we have initially anticipated, at least according to Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey. Palmer had a few interesting things to say about the future of VR and about cables, which seem to represent the biggest obstacle in its path to popularity on the PC.

Obviously, the “Mobile VR” part refers to devices such as the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Cardboard, both of which rely on smartphones to provide the display and the needed rendering power. The same cannot be said for the Oculus Rift, which needs to be connected to a rather powerful PC in order to function properly. Even though Mobile VR headsets have an advantage because they can operate independently and wirelessly, wired headsets are able to provide a more immersive and advanced virtual reality experience. The thing is, the user can get tangled up in cables very easily, which is probably why Oculus has often described VR as a “seated experience.” Luckey explained that regular users won’t have someone near them at all times to help out with cables, and I have to admit that he has a point there.

“It is important to design both hardware and software with those limitations in mind. Real users won’t have cable servants. And I say this as someone who has spent many hours as a cable servant, dancing cables around users to keep them immersed!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTAu6GUr6Ms

Oculus Rift to Sell 5 Million Units Next Year – Still Won’t Turn a Profit!

It’s no secret that the Oculus Rift is expected to do well, but given the level of investment and the level of research that has been plowed into the hardware, software and much more, how are Oculus and their current overlords Facebook hoping to turn a profit? Experts are predicting big things for the Oculus Rift, despite stiff competition from the likes of HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. It is expected to sell around five million units in the first year alone, which would be quite an achievement.

“Net-net, we expect Facebook will grow hardware revenue generated from Oculus at a 4% five-year CAGR from $2.1 billion in FY16 to $2.6 billion in FY21,” said analytic firm Suisse.

Facebook has invested a lot in Oculus, so much so that it could take them until 2021 just to break even. Of course, they’re not exactly short on funds at the moment and their investment goes far beyond people playing flight sims, so who how profitable the Oculus may perform in markets outside of gaming.

“However, given our assumption that Facebook will once again demonstrate a willingness to forgo near-term monetisation in return for increased product adoption, we are modeling an initial negative gross profit impact from the initiative – with Oculus gross margins reaching breakeven by 2021 and contributing ~$50 million in gross profit by FY22.” added Suisse.

With the price estimated to be in the region of $350 and a launch in early 2016, the time of VR gaming is almost upon up. Do you think it will be a success?

Oculus Rift Creator Discusses Consumer Model (CV1) Development

At this years Gamescom event, Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey sat down with Heise to discuss their upcoming VR headset. The technology is currently in a development stage, I should know, I’ve ordered their Dev Kit 2 (DK2) model already! But the question we’ve all be wanting answered is “when will the consumer model be ready?”

“A lot of software companies, especially game companies, say it’s done when it’s done,” Luckey explained. “In the hardware industry what that actually translates into is it’s done when it was done a year ago, because you can’t just be done and now it’s ready to ship. When it’s done, when you know what you’re doing, it’s still many more months of getting components made, getting manufacturers lined up, building up stock. It takes a long time to go from there. So we’re at the point where we know what we’re shipping, I guess you could almost say it’s done. We’re not just waiting around to see how much better it gets. But it takes time to get it actually made.”

Palmer went on to clarify that they have the specification nailed down now, they just need to sign off on manufacturing and final design phases, which sounds like “woohoo it’s coming soon”, I doubt it, I still put my money on late 2015 for a consumer release as this kind of development still takes time and they’re of course still holding for content, as 3D demos in Unity and a few source games simply aren’t enough just yet for a consumer release, but lots of content is coming over the next 12 months and you can bet that Oculus VR will be ready for it as it sounds like development is right on track.

CV1 will be the technological leap that VR needs, bringing the screen resolution up to a whopping 2k, which is said to negate the screen-door effect that is present on their DK2 dev kit and very present on their DK1 dev kit.

Thank you VRFocus for providing us with this information.

Facebook Drops Oculus Rift Bomb, Internet Fights Back!

Facebook have swooped in to pick up some serious hardware real estate this week, shelling out a staggering $2bn for virtual reality headset creators Oculus. While this new source of financial support is great news for Oculus and their Oculus Rift VR headset, many of the financial backers, consumers and even a few games developers are not happy and the fallout is hurting both Facebook and Oculus in a big way.

For starters there has been a wave of cancellations for Oculus Rift pre-orders, so much so that the pre-order cancellation page has hit the top of reddit’s /r/gaming and after a while even made the front page. Of course this is hollow as we don’t have numbers for real cancellations, but the evidence certainly stacks up that there are a lot of angry people out there in relation to the sale of the company, so many comments sections full of stuff that I simply cannot repeat here… It’s pretty much all too offensive for publication.

Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey took to Reddit to put peoples concerns to rest (see quotes below), unfortunately I don’t think many people are listening as all they hear is “facebook! facebook! facebook!”, which is ironic as it’s on Facebook that most of these ex-Oculus fans are doing most of their complaining.

“There are a lot of reasons why this is a good thing, many of which are not yet public. There is a lot of related good news on the way. I am swamped right now, but I do plan on addressing everyone’s concerns. I think everyone will see why this is so incredible when the big picture is clear.”

“It is an acquisition, but we will be operating independently. Our ongoing relationship really is more like a partnership.”

“We have not gotten into all the details yet, but a lot of the news is coming. The key points: 1) We can make custom hardware, not rely on the scraps of the mobile phone industry. That is insanely expensive, think hundreds of millions of dollars. This deal specifically lets us greatly lower the price of the Rift. 2) We can afford to hire everyone we need, the best people that fit into our culture of excellence in all aspects. 3) We can make huge investments in content. More news soon.”

“Oculus continues to operate independently! We are going to remain as indie/developer/enthusiast friendly as we have always been, if not more so. This deal lets us dedicate a lot of resources to developer relations, technical help, engine optimizations, and our content investment/publishing/sales platform. We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.”

“Almost everyone at Oculus is a gamer, and virtual reality will certainly be led by the games industry, largely because it is the only industry that already has the talent and tools required to build awesome interactive 3D environments. In the long run, though, there are going to be a lot of other industries that use VR in huge ways, ways that are not exclusive to gamers; the current focus on gaming is a reflection of the current state of VR, not the long term potential. Education, communication, training, rehabilitation, gaming and film are all going to be major drivers for VR, and they will reach a very wide audience. We are not targeting social media users, we are targeting everyone who has a reason to use VR.”

“This acquisition/partnership gives us more control of our destiny, not less! We don’t have to compromise on anything, and can afford to make decisions that are right for the future of virtual reality, not our current revenue. Keep in mind that we already have great partners who invested heavily in Oculus and got us to where we are, so we have not had full control of our destiny for some time. Facebook believes in our long term vision, and they want us to continue executing on our own roadmap, not control what we do. I would never have done this deal if it meant changing our direction, and Facebook has a good track record of letting companies work independently post-acquisition.”

Pre-orders being cancelled, a poorly timed reveal and a lot of heat and backlash from the community is not good for any product. Fortunately for the hopeful (like myself), the cash injection has secured the future of the product for some time and I’m not going to cancel my pre-order any time soon.

Developer Notch has stated Facebook “creeps me out” and said that Minecraft will no longer be coming to the Rift, at least in 1st party support form, there are already mods out there, but they’re sub-par in terms of overall quality. I expect a couple more developers will follow suit, but perhaps time will see them return if the company can prove that it will act independently and not morph into a Farmville accessory as many people are currently fearing.

I’m not sure this is a bad thing for the hardware or Oculus or even consumers, but once again only time will tell who is right and I really do hope I am right. We have a comments section below for good reason, get venting your thoughts on this one as we would love to know your what you think about this deal.