We’ve seen a huge amount of new and exciting game content come out of virtual reality in the last year or so, but is this the future of the platform? A chief Oculus engineer isn’t so sure.
In a recent interview with IGN, co-founder and chief engineer Jack McCauley was asked if he thought that gaming was the way forward for VR, or if it would be more useful for scientific applications. Though hesitant, his response was actually much different than one would anticipate. McCauley said that if VR headsets were made purely for scientific applications, there would be no way manufacturers like HTC could sell enough for the product to be worth it. He mentioned that other applications such as virtual tours and the like are quite enticing, but are not enough for someone to drop that kind of money on an expensive VR headset.
He went on to say that he believes that the future of VR accessibility lies in the ability to use it whenever and wherever, with ease. McCauley mentioned that the Gear VR was leading this charge in making portable VR accessible to the mainstream, and that this would likely be the way forward in the popularization of the space. This makes a lot of sense, as people often want to do these VR experiences on a whim, and having to hook up your bulky headset to your gaming PC when you spontaneously want to go through an experience is clunky and cumbersome.
This could also make sense for businesses that want to help people experience VR. Assuming there were some museums or similar businesses that wanted to set up a VR experience to go along with a display, it would be much easier to just tell customers to attach their phones to an available Gear VR or Google Daydream View headset than to have dedicated gaming PCs and Rift’s or Vives that need to be set up and have designated use space. There are many other applications in which mobile VR is much more versatile, so until headsets like Vive or Rift become more streamlined and are easier to use and run, mobile VR seems like it could be the path forward.
What do you think about his statements? Phone processing technology increases incredibly rapidly, so it would not be surprising to see mobile VR catch up with current experiences over the next decade or so. Regardless, it’ll be fun to see how this all plays out over the next decade or so.