This article was published on October 12, 2016

Oculus CTO warns VR can’t survive on ‘novelty’

Oculus CTO warns VR can’t survive on ‘novelty’
Bryan Clark
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Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Now that we have a trio of excellent headsets in Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR, it’s time to up the ante when it comes to content.

John Carmack, Oculus CTO and creator of 90s classics ‘Doom’ and ‘Quake,’ warns that Oculus and others could be playing it safe and getting by on the ‘wow’ factor that is most of our first VR experiences.

We are coasting on novelty, and the initial wonder of being something people have never seen before. But 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 things have done?

Strictly speaking, Carmack is correct. We have some amazing experiential games already, and the PlayStation VR launch brought us much more, but are people going to keep paying money for games that, while amazing to play, offer no replay value and a mere 60 minutes of content, a la ‘Batman: Arkham VR?’

Carmack notes another potential barrier to VR: slow load times. While waiting 30 to 60 seconds for a game to load on a console is annoying, staring at empty space in VR is worse.

That’s acceptable if you’re going to sit down and play for an hour….but initial startup time really is poisonous. 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.

On an anecdotal note — as a PlayStation VR owner — I also find this to be true.

The ease of grabbing a controller, pushing the PS button and starting a game is far more appealing than connecting the VR headset (if you don’t like leaving wires strewn across your floor or entertainment center) to its hub, adjusting it for proper fit, configuring the distance between the camera and headset (again), and then waiting on games to load. If I play in VR, it’s when I know I’ve got a significant amount of time to kill, which is increasingly rare.

For what it’s worth though, Carmack still thinks VR is the way of the future. But he, like the rest of us, understands there’s a long way to go.

via Business Insider

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