A couple of points of speculation about Oculus.
I was approached for comment by IBTimes writer Kerry Flynn after the Oculus Q1 2016 release news broke yesterday morning. I couldn’t talk at the moment, but took a few minutes to write up a couple of grafs in response to questions raised by this reporter. Her report has gone live on the IBTimes site, but I wanted to share my comments seperately.
My first point tried to address the concern that the Oculus’ commericial effort might not be showing the signs of a confident product development cycle and why that might not be entirely Oculus’ fault.
First, Facebook might be able to give Oculus any resources that it needs to operate, but I imagine lining up a business plan for manufacturing/marketing/releasing the headsets would be tricky. Additionally, lining up developers and publishers to make software available for the headsets might not be so difficult with the early adopters largely being developers, but getting top-tier studios like Activision or Electronic Arts to come on board is an entirely different story albeit one that can make or break the product’s widespread adoption. If it’s priced in the same realm as the current generation of consoles, be prepared for a smaller “day one” crowd.
When it comes the real Oculus competitors are, I imagine that it could be confusing to some folks who might lump in the AR functionality of the MSFT Hololens compared to the sense-depriving goggle systems of the products being developed by Oculus, Samsung and Sony. So I wanted to include a bit about the state of other competitors (as I understood them).
Secondly, regarding competitors: First, even though MSFT’s Hololens has taken quite a share of the media’s attention, it’s important to note that it’s an augmented reality machine at its core, and that makes it different from the upcoming VR devices including the Oculus. It’s not going to provide the experience that the dedicated VR hardware will, because it will never be designed for it or priced for it. The Oculus could be a $300-$500 product, but if you’re waiting for MSFT to retail a Hololens headset for anything less than two grand, you might be waiting for a long while. Another competitor to note is Sony. I think Sony’s device might be a real alternative because (unless something’s changed that I’m not aware of) it’ll be compatible with its PlayStation 4 console and home (presumably Windows-based) PCs. Even with that interoperability, Facebook could snap its fingers and be able to out-spend its competition in marketing and make a huge leap out of the gate.