The world is getting ready for virtual reality — well, the world of PC, smartphone, and PlayStation 4 owners.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who helped design the Rift head-mounted display that has everyone buzzing about the potential of VR, has said it’s Apple’s fault that Mac doesn’t have Rift support, according to an interview with Shack News. The engineer explained that the graphical-processing requirements for virtual reality are not an ideal match for the way that Apple designs its computers, but he would consider supporting Mac systems if Apple would build something up to his standards. This means Apple’s computer hardware will miss out on a virtual reality market that tech adviseor Digi-Capital predicts will reach $30 billion in revenues by 2020.
We’ve known for a while that Oculus has no immediate plans to support Macs. That led to VentureBeat reporter Jordan Novet building a PC specifically for virtual reality. But Luckey is leaving it up to Apple to join the simulated fun if it wants to.
“[Rift support] is up to Apple,” he said. “If they ever release a good computer, we will do it.”
Palmer’s definition of a “good computer” is one that can handle the demands of VR software. The issue is that these games and tools need a hyper-rapid frame rate in the range of 90-to-125 frames per second to prevent people from getting motion sick. The Oculus founder says that Apple just doesn’t have an option on the market to meet that demand. Also, it’s worth pointing out that Oculus is a Facebook subsidiary, and Microsoft owns around 1.6 percent of Facebook.
“It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn’t prioritize high-end GPUs,” said Luckey. “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. 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.”
On the PC side of things, you need a Windows machine that costs around $1,000. That’s expensive, but you have a range of options when it comes to buying a capable graphics processor. That starts with the $320 Nvidia GeForce GTX 970. And beyond Oculus, you can get the PlayStation 4 peripheral PSVR later this year.
Apple isn’t completely out of the VR loop. You can use specialized devices to turn your iPhone into a simple version of a virtual reality headset similar to Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Cardboard. This mobile segment of VR is already on pace to generate $861 million.