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Palmer Luckey

Palmer Luckey: “We’re Not a Massive Success Yet”

Oculus VR founder and Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset creator Palmer Luckey has reasoned that his company is ‘not a massive success yet’, despite being purchased by social networking giant Facebook for $2 billion USD. Luckey said as much to VRFocus, speaking in an interview at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) Conference & Expo in Mountain View, California last week. He explained that it’s easy to be convinced that VR is already a ‘mainstream success’, but it won’t really reach that point for a long time.


“No, we’re not a massive success yet,” Luckey stated. “What we are is an interesting thing to watch for most people. It’s easy when you’re inside this bubble of VR news to get caught and think that it’s already a massive success. But it’s not, we have a long way to go. The average person might know barely about that Oculus Rift thing they heard about, you know? The ‘travel goggles’ thing, the ‘gaming glasses’ thing or the ‘murder simulator’, who knows what they think of it as? But they don’t necessarily think of it as something they need to have in their everyday lives and it’s a long way to go until we get there.

Luckey recalled a time when ‘very few people’ saw a way for smartphones to fit into their lives, much like how VR is viewed now. He reasoned that, these days, everyone has smartphones, knows how to use them and why they’re useful, reaching all the way up to more unlikely markets such as mothers and grandmothers, a position that VR is yet to reach.

“VR is not to that point yet and when we get there that’s when it’s a mainstream success,” Luckey concluded. “When people think they need it in their lives and are then actually able to successfully integrate it into their lives.”

To put Luckey’s statements into perspective, Oculus VR sold around 60,000 of its first development kit (DK1) and has sold, as of 14th April 2014, another 25,000 units of its second development kit (DK2) due to launch this July. Many VR enthusiasts already own a headset, then, and are convinced of its potential, but it’s far from seeing the numbers of a mainstream product. Nor should it, given that the company is yet to release a consumer product. Just when that device is set to release is currently unknown

VRFocus will deliver the full interview with Luckey later in the week and continue to report on all aspects of the Oculus Rift headset.

    1. Oh, which mistakes would that be? Asking because I’m curious 😀 I figured the things that did not work back then because of too little computer power and bulky tech seems to be fixed now. Is it their mindset? I dunno, tell me! :O

    2. In what way? And what were the mistakes of 90s? VR technology in the 90s really wasn’t able to live up to the expectations of its audience. That’s not so much of an issue now. Oculus also now have some of the best minds in the industry on the problems that VR faces to gain mainstream acceptance. I don’t see how this echoes the 90s VR ‘bubble’ at all.

    3. You mean like:
      – position it at a price point that is consumer friendly
      – making sure there is a lot of content prior to release
      – finally reaching a level of performance and fidelity that it is attractive to mainstream consumers

      Their not rushed and careful approach, focusing on developing the product and not selling an overhyped vision of if, makes me a believer that this time VR will reach critical mass. I waited 20 years before I bought my first HMD (the DK1) and I have been tempted a lot in the past. The DK2 I bought on the same day it was for sale. And my brother joined in this time because the DK1 was already tempting for him. We will see how many will buy a CV1 or Morpheus (or whatever serious competition will arise by then), I see no repetition at all coming.

    4. Could you elaborate how exactly is he repeating them? Because as far as I know he did everything right up to this point. The effect of FB acquisition is still impossible to judge, so might as well ignore it.

    5. UnLuckyMe, thanks for making the most useless and overused comment anyone has made recently about the Oculus Rift. Have you used one? Do you have any idea about how this product has performed? I have and you have no idea what you are talking about. It is a very powerful product considering it’s price point. Please let me know some specifics about what “same mistakes” they are making.

    6. Mistakes? The reason VR didn’t boom in the 90’s was because the tech wasn’t there. It’s there now, as is obvious to anyone who’s experienced any of the hundreds of experiences in the Rift. It’s unstoppable and inevitable at this point, mostly because it already exists in a mind-blowing way.

  1. The VRFocus.com links in this article are broken. You need to add http:// to the URL.

  2. Well thanks for that erudite and eloquent response. The pains you went to, to discuss your point, is greatly appreciated and revelatory. I think I speak for everyone by saying we are all much more informed in how this is a repeat of the 1990’s failings by your comment.

    [Edited by Admin].

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