In an unsurprising, but still potentially controversial move, Brendan Iribe, Chief Executive Officer for the Oculus Rift, has made it clear that PCs and mobile devices are the focus for their tech. Home consoles are very much a fringe issue. Speaking to Edge magazine last week, he also indicated a 2014 release window as their goal, but was vague about an exact date. Making it clear that having the device ready and free of bugs was more important than having it now.
"Consumer release-wise we haven't set a date yet – it's not going to be this year but we would love it to be next year – we want it to be right. 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.
"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. 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. 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."
The lack of emphasis on home consoles is understandable. They tend not to be as accesible and welcoming of third party hardware, simply by their very natiure as a closed platform. In that respect, the PC will invariably always outstrip them. But it's still really surprising, to me at least, to hear that the mobile/cellphone is their primary target. In no small part because of how much emphasis they seem to have put on the PC thus far. I'm not sure why, but that has actually made me all the more interested in the Rift as a product. It will be fascinating to see how this all plays out.
Whether it ends in overwhelming success, or an ugly, crash and burn failure, it's going to be an interesting ride. My money is on success though, to be honest. But what about everyone else? What do you make of this and where do you see this all leading? Comments below.