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A Conversation with Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey
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A Conversation with Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey

September 3, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 6 Next

It's interesting that you have a mobile focus. Can you talk about that a little bit?

PL: Sure. When I say "mobile," I don't mean mobile games as in Words With Friends or Candy Crush, or whatever it is that people play on these devices. Not to insult those games, but that's not what we're excited about. We're not excited about these casual mobile games that people think of when they think of mobile gaming.

The reality now is that PCs, while they're getting more powerful, the mobile market, that's where things are really moving. They're getting much more powerful very quickly. If you look at a phone from three years ago compared to now, it's something like 10 times more powerful in that tiny little space. And we think that that's going to continue over time.

Mobile, it's an open industry. On Android, anyone can make an application. There are a lot of cool things you can do right now with the relatively weak mobile hardware we have today. You can make a lot of cool experiences.

One of the things we've been showing is a VR cinema, a virtual movie theater. And we can run that off of a phone. We can plug a Rift into a phone and you can have a huge screen in a virtual movie theater. You can imagine going on a plane or a train, or whatever, and being able to run that off of a mobile device.

But where it's really going to be interesting is when phones get as powerful as the PCs and game consoles of today, and are able to run really rich experiences. And potentially you can even have these mobile chipsets integrated directly into the headset. You can have a complete untethered --

Like a Tegra or something.

PL: Yes, exactly. Put something like that in a virtual reality headset. It wouldn't need anything else to run it. That's what we're really excited about.

Palmer Luckey

It's going to be interesting to see just how uptake is from consumers. In a sense, it's unpredictable. Have you done real research into it?

PL: We're marking the most badass product we can. If it's good enough we think enough people will buy us to keep us in business.

It's a real challenge to produce consumer products. Have you made any announcements? Are we talking about retail or online?

PL: It's really too early to say. Like I said, we're still working on the hardware. We're starting to look into that stuff and figure out whether we're going to go retail or direct, or specific partners. We don't really know yet. We need to figure out what exactly we're shipping, what it'll cost, and kind of how the business side is going to work, before we do that.

That's an important consideration, the business side. As you're saying, cost is going to determine a lot.

PL: We want to make it cheap as possible. What we've been saying is that we want to keep it in the same price range as the dev kit, so somewhere around $300, but really we'd like to make it even more cheap than that. One of the reasons that the consoles are able to move so many units is because they sell them with the expectation that they're going to make back the money later on games and stuff, off their marketplaces, rather than actually making it off the console. They're even taking a loss.

So who knows? We don't want to make it so that people are tied into anything to use the Rift. You should be able to just buy a Rift. But it would be really interesting -- let's say we're able to sell a bunch of Rifts, and we say, "Hey, the average user is buying this accessory, that accessory, and this game, and we can make this much money," or if we were to work on first-party content and make back a few dollars that way. Potentially, you could sell the headset even cheaper than $300. If you can get the price really low, you can make it an impulse purchase.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 6 Next

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