We believe in the PC marketplace for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which is that the PC audience is willing to experiment and VR needs experimentation when it comes to software development. As a developer, I need the PC to feed the best quality ideas after consumers have vetted them to the more console-like audience that wants high quality, polished, large titles and not demoware in a more console-like universe. So those two systems have to both survive. And in that world it would be nice to build only one hardware but right now the solutions you’re seeing, hacking wise, yeah they work — yeah you can send a screen from one place to another, great — experience-wise, not very good. So until we, Oculus, can get the quality level to a point where we believe its good enough, um, we won’t launch it. And just keep in mind, like, how hard we worked so that people would say there is a difference perhaps between the Echo Arena pro esport player, with regards to inside out tracking and Rift tracking and that’s the line we’re drawing — not “the tracking’s not as good on Quest” right, like, we have an extremely high bar for quality and we won’t release something until the quality is there. We’d love to have one device that does PC and mobile, absolutely, we would love to have that, but the quality has to be there.
Hamilton: Where does Go sit in your lineup at this point? Because it just isn’t there. It doesn’t compare experientially to what Quest or Rift is.
Hamilton: And with Quest sold out I imagine people are picking up Oculus Go by mistake thinking they are getting a Beat Saber machine, um, just because it is the only thing left on the stand at the store.
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Hamilton: They don’t know what VR is.
Hamilton: Where does Go go in this new world?
Rubin: We are sitting at a game conference. When it comes to gaming it has been clear for a long time people want 6 degrees of freedom and they want their hands in there. Again, I say we launched Touch too late. We should have known earlier that Touch was an integral part of the VR experience for Rift. We learned that and that is what Quest has and what Rift S has because it is so important. When it comes to media viewing, those things aren’t as necessary. We’ve seen from our telemetrics that a lot of people that are playing with Go, or join Go, are using it as a media device. Whether it’s a…in Netflix TV that they are using, they only have one TV in a small dorm room, or whatever, and the other person is watching something you don’t want to watch, put on a Go, there’s a use case, when it comes to games you are correct, I don’t know if anyone is making that mistake, if they are I hope they bought it from a place with a great refund policy because …
Rubin: If they are buying Go for games — there are good games on Go, don’t get me wrong — but the use case is media.
Hamilton: The question I asked earlier about what the future of Quest looks like — what does the future of Go look like?
Rubin: That’s a good question. I don’t really have anything to announce there. The question for us is the media use case worth expanding upon, doubling down upon, continuing with. When it comes to Go it does an incredibly good job with the media use case. I’m not sure what we would do. We could add resolution to the screen to be sure, there’s not that much — we could make it lighter, but its not that heavy a device, its a pretty light device, we could improve the controller but you’re not really using the controller on Go for most of what you do with it. You’re really just starting and stopping and pausing. It’s not really a controller-based device. So what happens to Go is a good question, we continually watch the use cases, see how people retain, how much time they are spending with it, things like that. What we are absolutely positive about is that is it not a game device. It is not an interactive entertainment device. That device is Quest. And being sold out on Quest is, as you pointed out, points us to the fact that a lot of people are waking up to the fact that that’s what they want.
Oculus Rift exclusives
Hamilton: Are you still developing new games, beyond the ones we’re seeing here today, for Oculus Rift first?
Rubin: Oculus Rift first? I’m not sure. If the right project … I mean yes there are some in production, but what we look at is if the right project comes that we think can only be done on PC, and needs to be done to prove something out, we would fund it. Because again innovation is what we rely on the PC for delivering.
We are not graphically married … we are not pursuing graphics as, like, a goal. So if someone just comes and says we don’t want to build it for Quest because we want to have cutting edge graphics and we don’t want to worry about porting it down the Quest, that’s probably not a title we would make. If it can come to Quest, we want it to come to Quest. So for the most part the titles that we’re looking for now will run on both [that we’re funding].
And developers that are experimenting, we point them at the PC and say do whatever you want. I mean crazy ideas. If somebody comes and says we’re going to build a beat based game with swords it’s a hard thing for us to, like, say greenlight that for a device where we’re curating the store. But Rift is a great testbed for something like Beat Saber. And sure enough, the whole world wants Beat Saber, very clearly, right? So we need Rift to do that experimentation.
David Jagneaux: The Respawn game, can you say whether or not that’s gonna be on Quest?
Rubin: As of today we’re not announcing whether Respawn’s game is coming to Quest.
Pocket compute for VR
Hamilton: Is there an option for a mobile compute with a wire that you keep in your pocket, a computer box you keep in your pocket and run your headset. Is that a model that you’re looking at?
Rubin: That’s a model we’ve definitely explored. There’s a lot of upsides to it, like visually having the smaller glasses on your head, big advantage. Battery, keeping the weight away, the heat away from the screen, being able to separate battery. All of that is great. The problem is when you do it, cause we’ve tried it, you have a wire. And you don’t ever forget that wire.
So you’ve effectively ended up with a wired device again. I know it doesn’t seem like that because you can move 100 yards in any given direction, but that 100 yards the wire comes with you. The best way for you to experiment with this is to use the Magic Leap, because Magic Leap has that wire. That’s effectively the setup you’re asking about and while you’re using that ask yourself whether or not the wire ever truly disappears. What we want from a wireless device is no feeling of wire and no massive added weight because we’re streaming from another platform onto some two, you know, pound thing or six ounce thing we’re sticking to the top of your head. And so we’ve tried it, it seems like it would be a great idea, in practice it’s kind of not getting rid of the wire.
Hamilton: So the reason I ask all these questions about platforms is that 10 million person goal that has been stated by Zuckerberg …
The Oculus effort — you had Gear VR first, and then Rift, and then Go even, these are almost like different platform launches and Quest is like the fourth. And it’s confusing for consumers to look at headset after headset after headset and say when is it actually going to be here? But as you’ve repeatedly said there’s a lot of experimentation & exploration on PCs and it seems like there are users on PC who keep coming back to their headsets and spending significant amounts of time …
Hamilton: … in their PC headsets. I’ve been spending time with the Valve Index. I enjoy the clutching-and-release sensation quite a bit and I guess I’m wondering… No. 1, visual comfort on that headset is very very finely tuned and that increases the amount of time that I want to spend in VR in a different way than the wireless on Quest does. But it still serves an audience and makes the experience better and invites people into these virtual worlds that much more. What is the value of the releasing sensation? Is it something that you are going to want to give to developers over time?
Rubin: You’re absolutely right about experimentation. The VR market is extremely early. And unlike the 2D video game market where you basically are pushing things to a screen and there wasn’t as much to experiment with — there were major changes, CD for example, 3D graphics, 2D graphics — but it wasn’t on your body. It didn’t have the trade-offs that VR has. We are still on a long road of experimentation. Having said that, Quest is a success. Quest is clearly proving itself valuable, and we are going to focus on Quest and the Quest ecosystem for a good period of time.
So if somebody is waiting to get in, Quest is the right point. Quest is, we’re going to be there making Quest software for the foreseeable future. There are already great things in the store, we’re showing new ones today, we’ll continue to release new stuff, eventually third parties that we didn’t, kind of pay to make, or ask to make products early, will get in and start making it organically…You couldn’t get a dev kit without Oculus giving you a dev kit but we’ll get into the point at which people are submitting things to us we never expected. Quest is the right space to be in.
Quest is not the ultimate hardware device in the same way that the iPhone 1 was good, the iPhone 2 was better, iPhone 3 [you know the names change over time], but they kept getting better. That’s going to keep happening. And like you can’t pick a point to go in.
To answer your question specifically, because I’m not dodging: I’m not sure … from our research Touch is kind of hitting a home run. And there’s definitely more we can do. If there are things we see others do that pick up a lot of traction we will definitely think about adopting them. But it has to come in at a price point where we’re not again putting ourselves in a position where the vast majority of people can’t use it. Facebook wants VR to reach the masses. And for all its strengths, the Index is not a mass market price device. And we don’t want to get into a world in which … there are amazing things we could do for $2,000 right now.
I will tell you that. We would blow you away for $2,000. You would leave the show and write a awesome article about what we could do for $2,000. For ten grand, we would change your life — and exactly a thousand people would buy it. And so like there’s this interplay between the price point and what we can deliver rationally into an audience big enough to give developers an ecosystem. That we’re very cognizant of.
It is awesome that there’s competition out there. It is great that people are developing different types of controller. We look at all of them, and if people are like Index is just that controller, great. Let’s try to bring that into a price point where we can put it on the shelf for $399 or less, if it’s going to be our, you know, focus device. Who knows? I mean these devices will continue to change. But again to close: if you’re thinking about getting into VR and you are not a PC owner and you do not have that experimental cutting edge kind of focus — which there’s a Rift for that right, the Rift S or maybe it’s an Index for that — if you’re in it and you just want to put it on easily, have it work, love the content, know it’s high quality and know that anything you buy has been vetted, it is an awesome experience. Quest is there and it’s going to be there for years and we’re not going to make you regret it.
Quest console content curation
Hamilton: The vetting. Lets end there on that question. Are you happy with the messaging in this first month of, of, just letting people know how hard it was going to be to get on Quest, and are you happy with the level of support that you’re giving to those devs who were there early but were unable to get in the queue to get on Quest?
Rubin: Yeah. A couple of things. First of all we have a PC product we’re heavily supporting and we turn no developer away unless the thing is really really like not shippable on PC because we want to give them an opportunity to prove their idea has value. And in some cases it’s the idea that has value and not necessarily their instantiation. And another developer says that was a great idea and makes a better version and then somebody else makes a better one. That’s the game industry.
So we want that to be on PC and do not want that to be on Quest. We have never rejected software because we don’t like the concept, we don’t like the idea of the product, it is 100 percent based on quality. There have been a couple of developers that have been turned down for Quest who were not turned down for Rift, so let’s be very clear; Oculus did not turn them down. We said that the quality of the software that they were delivering could not go on Quest at the price point that they were suggesting or could not reach the bar to have a price on Quest because it didn’t compare to the other pieces of software. None of those were based on what was in the content. I’ve heard people say “they don’t like a certain type of lifestyle,” that is absolutely untrue, it is 100% based on quality and value, not based on anything else.
This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2019
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