In an interview following the company's recent announcement of $75 million in new funding
, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has shared some more info about the team's plans as they work toward an expected consumer-ready model of the Rift head-mounted VR display in 2014.
Speaking with Venturebeat
, Iribe hits a lot of topics, touching on:
- The improved comfort of the latest Rift prototypes with significantly reduced latency:
When you put it on — the latest internal prototype, which is what Marc Andreessen and his team saw – it’s a completely different experience from the previous versions. The latest one finally ties it all together. There’s this switch in your head. Your brain, instead of feeling like you’re looking through a VR headset, suddenly feels like you’re just looking through a pair of glasses into another reality. It’s much more comfortable.
We got our developer kits — the prototype that you saw way back when, at the last CES — running at about 60 to 70 milliseconds. Our most recent internal prototype is now between 10 and 20 milliseconds. Less than 20 [milliseconds] flips the switch and you cross that threshold where the brain feels comfortable with it. You’re not reminded you’re looking at a computer device.
- The team's confidence in impacting the future of games:
Virtual reality — and Oculus, now, because there’s nothing else like it — is what the next generation is going to be all about. When we look back on 2013, 2014, the next two to three years, I’m confident that people will remember that the big change was Oculus. There may be a few more that launch and compete, which should be exciting. Hopefully they do as well or better as we do.
We’re finally going to be free of the 2D monitor. It’s been a window into virtual reality that we’ve all looked into for 30 or 40 years. We’ll have goggles at the beginning. Down the road, a decade or so from now, you’ll get a nice pair of sunglasses and look out into virtual reality. There’s a lot of opportunity beyond gaming as far as where this will go.
I’m bullish that VR is going to reignite the PC race and the GPU/CPU race, which has largely plateaued. People aren’t talking about gigahertz or cores anymore. They aren’t talking about one GPU compared to the next, how many triangles they can do. It’s calmed down. With VR, though, when you put on the headset and it all comes together and works well, you want more. You want higher-resolution environments, even if you’re already running on a high-end computer. We expect to see a huge jump over the next decade in computing performance.
- John Carmack championing the mobile device functionality efforts:
At this point there’s more than 50 of us in the company, and the majority of us are engineers. We have a team of real senior, rock star engineers. Of course, Carmack is at the top. He’s been spearheading a lot of the mobile effort, working with a group of talented engineers on that. He largely works out of the Dallas office. Most of the engineers, though, are in Irvine here, working remotely with John. There’s a handful of other developers in Dallas that John is working with.
It’s spread out. We can do a lot of this stuff remotely. So far, so good. John is known for being head-down. We’re trying to respect his wishes, where he wants to get in and code and solve these problems on such a small platform. To do that well, he needs to focus and have his isolation. That’s what he’s doing.
- Welcoming competition in the VR space:
There will be a handful of big companies, we hope, that get into this. We hope their technology pushes the ball forward. Competition makes for better products for the consumer, usually. As long as nobody does anything too crazy and everyone just tries to deliver the best product possible, it’s going to be a lot of fun to see what other companies come up with.
There's quite a bit more juice in the full interview
, so it's recommended reading for anyone eager or curious about the future prospects of virtual reality.
Iribe finishes the interview with a hint that the latest Rift prototypes might be on show at CES 2014, the upcoming annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 8th.