At a time during which the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are set to go head-to-head in a battle for next-gen console supremacy, it might be hard to imagine any other name in the video-gaming industry becoming worthy of note. However, with a brand that seeks to revolutionize the way in which people experience gaming, technology company Oculus VR™ has done just that.
"Virtual reality [VR] is something brand new," Brendan Iribe told Elite Daily's Kendall Wood. "We coin it as day zero of VR finally working for the first time. [In the past] hardware has just not been ready. People's imagination was there, people were imagining this VR thing and what it was going to do and how it's going to change the world. But the technology wasn't ready. It finally is, and now it's kicking off."
Iribe is the CEO of Oculus VR, the tech company that has raised over $18 million in funding since being founded during summer 2012, $2.4 of which was generated as a result of a crowd-funding campaign on KickStarter. Oculus seeks to capitalize on the future of virtual reality technology with their "Rift" headsets that brings users into the world of immersive gaming.
It's an idea that has generated an increasing amount of buzz in the past year, with features written by both Forbes and the New York Times, but one that Iribe insists was not just down to his own brilliance as he says he was brought on board to the project by someone he regards as a true genius.
“It really wasn't me who came up with the idea, it was [Oculus founder] Palmer Luckey, and I got to see it after it was already working. I saw the demo and the first demo I saw just right away I knew this was going to change the world and decided to go for it with Palmer. And we launched Oculus.”
For now, Oculus Rift models are only available for developers who plan to experiment with the headsets at a price of $300. Without the benefit of seeing how the open market reacts to Oculus' virtual reality experience, however, Iribe speaks with confidence when he talks about what he thinks will be the biggest feature that drives customers towards the product.
“VR really mimics reality, it really mimics who we are and our movements; our head movements, our eye movement, our hand movement and people like to interact with other people," the Maryland native said. "So we think the whole social side of VR is going to be what really makes it a huge thing.”
While Oculus carries with it the promise of a gaming experience that is like no other, the company faces an inevitably huge task forcing its way into the worldwide conversation with companies like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, who are all on the verge of releasing their next generation consoles. But Iribe insists that he feels neither intimidated nor threatened by the potential success that the big three gaming companies might experience, so much so that he wouldn't mind seeing them create their own versions of a virtual reality experience.
"We think the new consoles are amazing and that they're gonna be great devices," said Iribe, who intimated that the PC and mobile spaces are where Oculus' focus lies. "We're very excited about what they're doing. Frankly, I think there may be some of them that do their own. We'd love to see VR in as many places as possible. So if another console company comes out with their own VR solution, really that's very exciting."
Though the "big three" will always be a sure bet to continue innovating when it comes to the home-console experience, Iribe hints at an advantage that Oculus might have as it seeks to create a name for itself in its own lane. The Irvine, California-based company is primed to offer opportunities for utility that go way beyond gaming, with the Rift's design as a key catalyst.
"In VR, you look up and you're still there. You look around you and 360 degrees, you're still there. So it really opens a lot of potential for new experiences. Virtual vacations, medical simulations, surgery training; I think you're going to see a lot of experiential applications and games made. So we're super excited about what people will create with VR and I think it will go far beyond gaming."
Whatever is developed to fit the company's platform, one common denominator is likely to be a feature of them all as Brendan Iribe and Oculus continue to further a project that is sure to provide a feeling to users that is truly unique.
"When you get that magical experience where you put it on and suddenly you are totally transformed into another virtual reality and it all adds up its all in the right place everything works it really feels amazing and we're pretty confident we're gonna bring that to the consumer market."