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Founder of Facebook’s new virtual-reality company: Sony’s Project Morpheus is ‘a good thing for VR’

Above: The PlayStation 4's Project Morpheus virtual-reality headset.

Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Yesterday, Facebook bought Oculus VR, the company that’s working on bringing virtual reality to consumers. This comes just after Sony introduced a competing device last week — only Oculus isn’t really worried about that.

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just dropped $2 billion to purchase Oculus VR and its head-mounted virtual-reality display. The two companies plan to bring the product, known as Oculus Rift, to market potentially later this year or in 2015. At that point, it could face competition from Sony’s Project Morpheus VR helmet, which the PlayStation maker debuted as a prototype during last week’s Game Developers Conference. Oculus cofounder Palmer Luckey doesn’t really think that his device (which works with PCs) will have to compete with Sony’s (which will only work with PlayStation 4).

In fact, Luckey thinks that Project Morpheus is actually a positive for his Rift and the VR market.

“I think it’s a good thing for virtual reality when more people come into the market,” Luckey told GamesBeat. “Especially a big player. It shows that VR really is something that is gonna have traction.”

Luckey reasons that the people making software for VR systems might take more risks if they have more platforms to work with.

“Project Morpheus is gonna have a lot of people behind it — as opposed to just some crazy thing that nobody cares about,” Luckey said while laughing.

We spoke with the Oculus founder before Facebook announced the acquisition, but it was clear even then that people do care about the Rift. Now we know that some people care enough to spend $2-billion on it.

Luckey told GamesBeat that he hasn’t tried Project Morpheus, so he didn’t have any specific thoughts on the device itself. He did, however, note that virtual reality’s potential means that it’s going to take a while before Oculus starts worrying about competitors.

“This market is not even close to saturation, and the Sony thing is just for their console,” he said. “Our thing is not on their console, so we don’t even cross paths.”

Finally, Luckey feels that most games from Project Morpheus will come to Oculus Rift (barring Sony’s first-party releases), but he doesn’t think most Rift titles will hit the PlayStation VR device.

“Most developers that are currently making things for the Rift don’t really have that same option to make something for Project Morpheus,” said Luckey. “We’re an open platform that lets anyone develop anything. Sony is not [open]. There are hundreds of experiences already available for the Rift, and I would bet the vast majority of those would not make it onto a PlayStation 4.”

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More information:

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. is a major video game company specializing in a variety of areas in the video game industry, and is a wholly owned subsidiary and part of the Consumer Products & Services Group of Sony. The company was... read more »

Oculus VR™ was founded by Palmer Luckey, self-described virtual reality enthusiast and hardware geek. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development of their first product, the Oculus Rift, a ground-breaking vir... read more »

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur.[6] He is best known for co-creating the social networking site Facebook, of which he is chief executive and president. It was co-f... read more »

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