Oculus Rift Interview with founder Palmer Luckey

Everything you want to know about Oculus Rift.

Oculus Rift is an exciting new tech that aims to make virtual reality more popular. It was unveiled this year and the response from consumers and critics was fantastic. There are a lot of unanswered questions that people have regarding the tech, regarding weight, side effects and so on, but we have all the answers for you.

The tech’s founder Palmer Luckey answered our questions regarding the product, and we have to say they were really satisfactory. The dev kits will reach people by December and the consumer version of the product does not have a release date yet, but we’re hoping we get our hands on it soon, since it looks so good.

Questions by Kartik Mudgal.

GamingBolt: The dev kits for Oculus will be released later this year, of course, the question everyone is asking is, when will the consumer headsets be out? Can you give a specific time frame?

Palmer Luckey: We don’t have a specific time frame yet on the launch of the consumer headsets. We want to release them as soon as possible, but our most important goal is top-notch quality, not meeting a specific deadline.

GB: Virtual Reality is something that is still a unproven tech, but the Oculus Rift headset has got good word-of-mouth so far and has also won quite a bit of awards at E3, how do you think it will be received by the general public?

PL: I think most gamers are going to be blown away, as they have been in all the demos we have given at game conventions to over 1000 people now. Virtual reality is what FPS and other games have been trying to achieve for years, and the Rift is the best tech out there.

GB: Kickstarter has proven to be a successful platform for bringing crazy ideas into reality, how do you think this has benefited Oculus in terms of publicity?

PL: Kickstarter really helped provide a high visibility, easy-to-use platform for launching our developer kits. Not just gamers, but a lot of technology enthusiasts as well, browsed the Kickstarter site looking for cool projects, and we got a lot of backers that way.

GB: Do you think 3D is something that will be one of selling points of this headset?

PL: Absolutely. The stereoscopic 3D in the Rift is one of the highest quality 3D experiences you can have! Objects can be rendered at actual life size, and unlike 3DTVs, there is no flickering or crosstalk.

GB: Are there any side effects of using the headset for a long period of time? How safe is it exactly?

PL: Side effects heavily depend on the person, and how well they have calibrated the unit for themselves. There should not be any concerns safety wise – all the optics do is make it appear as if you are looking at a huge screen focused at infinity. This is actually a lot more comfortable for your eyes than converging and focusing up close on a standard 2D monitor.

GB: Let’s talk about games: How many games do you think will support this tech. We know for a fact that Hawken will support it and that game looks totally rad. Are the dev kits in demand?

PL: Without getting into specific numbers, we are confident that a lot of games are going to support the Rift. Our developer kits are being shipped to basically every large developer in the world, and many of them are talking to us about the projects they want to integrate with our headset. That said, we are leaving game announcements to developers. It’s really for them to announce, not us.

GB: John Carmack is a big fan of this tech and Doom: BFG will support it too. I think in a way that helps spread the word. Do you see a bright future for this tech?

PL: Of course I do! If I did not, I would not have founded Oculus.

GB: How does this virtual headset enhance games and provide a unique perspective to gamers? Do you think they will be appreciative of this tech?

PL: The Rift allows you to actually step inside the game, not just control a representation of it on a screen. All the gamers we have shown it to have been appreciative, and I am sure that will continue in the future.

Image credit: Egmnow

GB: How comfortable is it exactly? Weight and all? It’s something that is very vital when it comes to influencing consumers to make a purchasing decision.

PL: We’re pretty certain that weight is one of the factors in the purchasing decision. Which is why we’ve focused on making the Rift extremely comfortable. It weighs 220 grams, not much heavier than many ski goggles. It weighs less than half of what some of the competition does, and it distributes the weight more evenly across the face as well.

GB: I mean for something like 3D you need to personally experience it to see how it is, what about Oculus Rift? How are you guys planning to market it?

PL: The same way we are doing now. You can’t fully understand or appreciate the Rift until you actually see or try it, which is why we show it to the press, and to people like Gabe Newell and John Carmack. People trust your opinions, and the opinions of well-known developers; and if you and they say something is good, then people are more willing to check it out.

GB: The project was completely funded, what is the next course of action for your team?

PL: Our next steps are purchasing the parts for the dev kits, getting them manufactured, and onto people’s doorsteps in December.

Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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