The Oculus Rift team still intends to ignore the Xbox One and PS4 and focus on PC and Android, concerned that lengthening development cycles for consoles could see them left behind in virtual reality, even with the cloud’s help. “There’s no reason it can’t technically work,” Oculus Rift CEO Brendan Iribe conceded to OXM, but pointed out that “one of the concerns that we do generally have around consoles is that their life cycles are getting longer all the time.” While the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are considered powerful today, they could be seriously out-performed when it comes to VR in the next few years, Iribe argues.
“I think that you will see VR move fast – AR also, but especially VR” the chief exec suggested. “You’re going to see rapid innovation, and one of the concerns that we do generally have around consoles is that their life cycles are getting longer all the time – it’s a seven to eight year lifecycle, and in eight years, VR is going to be insane. Incredible.”
Instead, the headset – which uses a pair of head-mounted LCD displays to create a virtual gaming environment – will work initially with PCs and Android devices, as that “made more sense” according to Iribe. The fact that both platforms are liberal with hardware and software is key to that decision, the CEO explained.
Even Microsoft’s decision to harness the power of the cloud to bolster the Xbox One won’t be of much use to virtual reality, he says. Microsoft has said that each Xbox One will also have access to cloud-based processing equivalent to roughly three more consoles, which could be used for processing richer backgrounds in games, more realistic reflections and textures, and other detail.
The system has met with keen interest from game developers, but is unlikely to be of use to virtual reality systems like Oculus Rift, Iribe points out, because of the latency involved.
Virtual reality “wants a maximum latency of 20-30 milliseconds from your head moving to the headset updating your eye on screen – what we call motion-to-photon” he explains. “Right now it’s at 30-50 milliseconds in the current versions, but we do expect that to come down and reach that 15-20 millisecond ‘Holy Grail’ timing.”
However, while attention on Oculus Rift has been high since the start-up’s Kickstarter back in August 2012, the company doesn’t want to keep VR all to itself. In fact, Iribe is hopeful that Microsoft or Sony – preferably both – wade in themselves, seeing it as a net-benefit to Oculus Rift’s business overall.
“The more that they push into this space, even if it’s a different device, or their own device, a different experience, the more that they’re throwing into AR and VR, the better it is for everybody” he said.