We just got back from visiting Oculus at their new headquarters on the Facebook campus and it seems crazy how much can change so quickly. What was once a small rag tag team is now in the Facebook campus, complete with racks of Facebook bicycles, multicolored walls, and tons of employees strolling around the campus with Facebook TShirts and big smiles on their faces. Life seemed good in Facebook land.
After grabbing some coffee at the on campus cafe and catching up with some friends, I had the privilege of checking out the latest and greatest developments at Oculus. I tried out the new hand controllers, latest headset, and played their latest demos, including some really cool multiplayer experiences. For non-disclosure reasons I can’t go into detail on what I saw, but I must express that this visit really got me thinking.
As the games industry has shown again and again, it’s that this industry is driven on top of disruptive technologies. Everyone wants to be entertained in new ways, and because of this, there’s going to be a lot of excitement for VR. The difference with VR is that you can get physically ill rather easily as opposed to the tiny amount of edge cases of people reporting motion sickness when playing early 3D games on Playstation 1. The endlessly emmersive world that people are looking for will not come right away, and instead we will see lots of small experiences that are very focused to stationary or slow moving cameras with all the gameplay coming to the player, as opposed to the player traversing in the environment and seeking out the gameplay. It’s a complete 180, which means that the best experiences in VR will be the ones created solely for it.
After driving home from the Bay area down to LA, my head was spinning on how to solve this camera traversal problem. Is it possible to be comfortable in VR for a long period of time and actually allow full player movement in the virtual space? This is exactly what I experimented with for 3 days straight, almost without sleep, to solve. After that time I’m happy to announce that we have something really special, but I can’t share this discovery just yet. Check back for more info, I can’t wait for this unveil.