Oculus CTO: virtual reality is "coasting on novelty"

By midian182 · 18 replies
Oct 12, 2016
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  1. Virtual reality hasn’t become the revolution we were promised. One of its biggest problems is that once you get over the initial ‘wow factor,’ things can get a little boring. Even John Carmack agrees; the Oculus CTO said VR is “coasting on novelty.”

    Speaking at Oculus Connect last week, and noted by GameIndustry, Carmack added that VR developers needed to “be harder” on themselves. “We need to start judging ourselves. Not on a curve, but in an absolute sense. Can you do something in VR that has the same value, or more value, than what these other [non-VR] things have done?”

    Anyone who has used the Gear VR will know that the loading times can feel like an eternity. It’s made worse by the fact you can’t do anything to pass the time, thanks to the headset strapped to your face. It’s an issue Carmack highlighted, saying that 30 seconds is way too long, especially since many VR experiences are quite short in length. He believes the problem is slowing down adoption of the mobile-powered device.

    “An analogy I like to say is, imagine if your phone took 30 seconds to unlock every time you wanted to use it. You’d use it a lot less,” he explained. “There are apps that I wanted to play, that I thought looked great, that I stopped playing because they had too long of a load time. I would say 20 seconds should be an absolute limit on load times, and even then I’m pushing people to get it much, much lower.”

    While he bemoaned mobile VR’s loading times, he still referred to the platform as “the future” of virtual reality. He also reminded people that “it’s still not easy to make a Gear VR app.”

    Carmack tweeted that he will try to turn his comments on VR into a blog post.

    Other announcements at Oculus Connet 3 included the company’s prototype wireless headset, known as Santa Cruz, and a demonstration of Oculus Avatars. It was also revealed the Rift can now run on less-powerful PCs, and that the Touch controllers will be available on December 6 for $199.

    The last two Steam surveys revealed that sales of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have remained stagnant. We’ll have to see if the upcoming PlayStation VR really does bring virtual reality to the masses.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 12, 2016
  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,737   +3,757

    VR will be made or broken by content. This isn't news.

    What is news is that developers don't seem to be doing anything with it. In doing so, it appears to be creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that VR is a gimmick:

    There is no content --> No content means no demand --> Developers aren't serious about VR because there is no demand --> Developers don't create content --> Repeat
    trgz likes this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Maybe VR is here to stay, I can't say but I certainly have little to no interest in it, I wouldn't spend any money on it yet and yes, I have tried it, and I was initially impressed until it made me nauseous and in my entire life I've never suffered motion sickness.
    trgz likes this.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,665   +1,097

    I'm just waiting for the true 2nd gen headsets before I jump in. I tried the rift and it's an amazing piece of technology, but it's still is too early for it to become mainstream.
    trgz likes this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,346   +1,987

    Like any other niche market VR has a very strong market that simply has not been fully explored. Using it for medical school apps, real estate apps and similar instances where being able to explore surrounds like "being there" will increase with more demand, BUT it will be up to the software developers to create those applications in order to create more interest. Like electric vehicles, it will have it's ups and downs but under the right management it can thrive. The GAME market is the big "if". That is the market with the most $$ to spend, but unless they come up with a GTA-5 kind of home run, it might just fall on it's face.
  6. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,307   +429

    Needs porn
    BiffMcMac likes this.
  7. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Has porn.
    Puiu likes this.
  8. gigantor21

    gigantor21 TS Enthusiast Posts: 29   +18

    I feel like it's non-gaming applications--whether it's scientific research or porn--will do far more to determine it's eventual success than gaming.
  9. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    Similar to developers and iOS/Android back in the day - why make apps if no one is using the phone? This will pass - but I think hardware needs to come first.

    Then there's this...
    As if we're at the end of time and never got to use VR. We'll get there - people always think of the present like it's the end. As far as 2020 is concerned, we're living in the past. :)
  10. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    I think that VR to the game world is like 4K is to 1080P. It takes time, better hardware and content.
  11. JayXan

    JayXan TS Rookie

    Vr will become something the moment they make a good, immersive MMORPG within a virtual reality world.

    I doubt it will happen any time sooner.
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  12. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,307   +429

    Needs more and better then
  13. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,106   +1,282

    Lol, well I can't image all the equipment required to make VR porn is conducive to making great content. Remember when POV content first started coming out? Have the performer holding a big heavy camera isn't easy. In the case of VR though it's a whole load of cameras. The cost and limitations are restrictive.

    I think right now the biggest problem with VR is that no one is willing to be a loss leader. You know valve could sell the Vive at price, make no money on the headset, but then turn around and eventually make money with all those sales on it's store in the future. Let's say it costs them $300 to make the headset. How many people would be willing to jump into VR at that price? A hell lot more, and more people buying the hardware means more games.

    At the rate we are going now, people will wait for cheaper headsets to come out or a killer game has to be released for VR. If neither happens VR could take a long time, possibly even flounder.
  14. Techstar

    Techstar TS Member Posts: 94   +18

    It needs a lot more than content. It needs to have no visor that has to be strapped to your head. When the tech is up to that challenge, it will find a larger audience. Of course there will always be a lot of people that just dont want VR in any form the way they didn't want 3D tv and movies every time they trot out that old idea again to see if it will work 'this time around.'
  15. neurovx

    neurovx TS Rookie

    Yes, VR will find niche applications but it will never be for mass consumption. The majority of consumers do not want to be THAT immersed in their media. It takes to much stamina, emotional energy.
    The stereoscopic 3D fads have been around since people wore red and blue glasses in 50's theaters. It comes in waves. Ask Nvidia how many people are still fired up about their stereoscopic 3D capable drivers.
    mbrowne5061, BSim500 and trgz like this.
  16. Wendy Oltman

    Wendy Oltman TS Booster Posts: 129   +16

    They should start by giving up on exclusive content for oculus.
    Panda218 likes this.
  17. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    Couldn't agree more. In fact, my money is flounder - wouldn't be the first time. Anyone remember the Nintendo Virtual Boy?

    I'm betting this wave will stick around in the Architecture industry, maybe some industrial, Civil, and other large-scale engineering application, and maybe in the medical industry (if they can get it by the FDA), and that is about it.

    I think Microsoft's Augmented Reality/Hololens tech will have more staying power, simply because it can function as a new kind of general purpose interface for computers. It will need to become much smaller first though.
    Evernessince likes this.
  18. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,307   +429

    PORN is not great content. Never has been but it has made industries. PORN is lousy. What a way to learn about sex...BUT it sells
  19. batsdude

    batsdude TS Member Posts: 52   +16

    3D TV was supposed to be the next "thing to have!", but where is it now? Unless your product has something it can be applied to, a market of people that NEED to apply it, affordability (and I mean affordability to ALL, not just the rich types that buy the new cel simply because, "I can afford it, and, after all, it IS the new cel!" (barf)), and the UNBUGGY software to run it, it's not, nor will it ever be, anything more than an overpriced-keep-up-with-the-Jones'-toy, destined to sit on a dusty shelf next to that $5 pet rock (fed yours lately?) when the next "big thing" comes along.

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