Final week at GDC Oculus revealed their first new PC VR headset in three years, the Rift S. We sat down with Fb’s Jason Rubin, VP of AR/VR Content material & Partnerships, to be taught extra concerning the technique behind Quest and Rift S, and the place Oculus is attempting to steer its ecosystem.
Jason Rubin joined Oculus in 2014 and has been a key determine in guiding the corporate’s content material investments and technique. Following the current Oculus shakeup and deeper absorption into Fb, Rubin is now overseeing AR and VR content material & partnerships at Fb. Rubin has been a key spokesperson and a tempered voice for Oculus all through his time on the firm; he’s additionally seen as one of many final seen pillars of the ‘previous’ Oculus.
In a wide-ranging interview with Rubin at GDC 2019 final week, we bought to be taught extra about why the corporate believes that the Rift S is the precise option to push its VR ecosystem to achieve a essential level of sustainability.
Rubin was fast to say that Oculus expects to ship a next-gen headset down the street, however defined why the corporate doesn’t consider that now could be the precise time for a ‘Rift 2’.
“Past any shadow of a doubt, in some unspecified time in the future we can have a subsequent era [headset] the place we add some type of function that breaks all of the previous stuff and makes it both not work or appear out of date,” he stated. However the firm presently believes that rising a cohesive viewers is extra vital than pushing technical boundaries.
“Our aim is to carry as many individuals into the ecosystem as potential. Bifurcating the ecosystem with a Rift and a Rift 2—simply to place that on the market—shouldn’t be the precise factor to do proper now.”
Alluding to the preliminary $800 worth of the Rift and Contact controllers again at their launch, Rubin defined that the corporate believes worth is a essential issue.
“We all know from Rift we don’t wish to promote an $800 system. […] We expect these two gadgets [Quest and Rift S] are the precise factor to do to suck extra individuals into the enterprise. As soon as extra individuals need VR, are in VR, and love VR, some subset of them are able to go to the subsequent era.”
When pressed on whether or not or not the corporate might have approached the PC phase with each the Rift S and a higher-end headset (like a ‘Rift Professional’) for the fanatics and early adopters that kind the muse of the corporate’s PC VR enterprise, Rubin defined that the corporate doesn’t consider multi-tiered method is well worth the prices and complexity.
“There’s a price to every thing that an organization does. And whereas there might need been some individuals we’d make very proud of a lot greater decision screens or one thing alongside these strains, some group of individuals must prototype that machine, some group of individuals must cope with the availability chain for that machine, some group of individuals must cope with warehousing, delivery, and every thing else,” stated Rubin. “And people individuals—when you’ll be able to solely have an organization of a sure dimension (we are able to’t develop infinitely)—these individuals could be taken away from the opposite issues we’re engaged on. […] I can let you know, sitting across the room these are onerous discussions [internally], however I feel we’ve made the precise tradeoff with the place we’re proper right here.”
Although there are different VR headsets available on the market, Oculus’ platform is closed, which suggests customers don’t have decisions past the 2 PC VR headsets that Oculus helps. In 2017 the corporate stated they wished “go large” with help for different for third-party headsets, doubtlessly by way of the OpenXR normal.
Once I requested Rubin if this was nonetheless on the roadmap for Oculus, he stated he wasn’t updated on the corporate’s OpenXR plans. And whereas Oculus publicly dedicated final week to offering an OpenXR app runtime, our understanding is that that is primarily centered on permitting builders to simply port apps into the Oculus ecosystem, not enabling help for third-party headsets.
On the content material entrance, Rubin stated that Oculus isn’t slowing down, and believes content material is the important thing to promoting to develop its ecosystem.
“Our content material [investments have] remained constant if not expanded each single yr since that assertion was made [in 2016, about committing $500 million to VR content]. So we’re nonetheless wholly dedicated to creating software program that drives the buy,” he stated. “And albeit, we expect that the content material that’s on the system is the only most vital motive that anyone would wish to get into VR. So we’re a bit of… dumbfounded, if you’ll, by corporations that carry out headsets with no content material to drive them, or aren’t investing in content material.”
And at last, we touched on the nonetheless unannounced VR FPS that’s within the works by Respawn Leisure. Rubin doesn’t anticipate that the success of Respawn’s breakout hit, Apex Legends, will influence the event of the sport in any approach, and Oculus Studios is taking a hands-off method to let the studio work its magic.
“You don’t associate with Respawn after which become involved in designing video games for Respawn. Respawn is a fantastically proficient firm—as far most of the others that we work with: Insomniac, Sanzaru…—we allow them to design the product they need. So, completely, a Respawn product is a Respawn product.”