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.