Sony has announced its PS4 VR headset at GDC, and while many are calling it an Oculus Rift rival, the new tech has at least one surprise supporter.
TechRadar sat down with Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe before Sony’s VR plans became official, and before we could get our preface of "So, Sony is rumored to be launching a virtual reality headset tonight…" Iribe chimed in, "We hope so!"
On whether the new headset, revealed as Project Morpheus, is actually good for Oculus Rift, Iribe simply said, "Totally."
"The more people that jump in and validate that this is a real thing and it’s gonna happen, the better," he elucidated.
VR in the open
Iribe said that Oculus has taken the stance of being open with people interested and working in the world of virtual reality, not a common occurrence in the cut-throat tech-verse.
"Normally when there’s rumors of competitors or things happening, everybody kind of tightens up and gets a little competitive and fierce," he said. "Certainly competition leads to better innovation in tech products, but in this case it was pretty neat that right from the beginning we said, ‘Look, we want to be as open as we can to everybody. We want to be open with anybody that’s going to compete or join or develop or do something alongside.’
"So we tried to be very open with a number of people out there who may or may not end up making their own thing. But we wanted to tell them what we were doing completely and what we saw coming and what it would take to make this great. By doing so, our goal was to inspire them to hopefully make something good or as close to as good as to what we were going to come up with so they didn’t put something out and market it as mass market VR and have it not be as good as what we know it could be."
Iribe said what followed from this openness olive branch was companies reached out to Oculus and became "really open with us." He wouldn’t name names as to who exactly contacted Oculus about their respective VR plans, but he said that his firm now has "a really great relationship with everybody out in the space."
"We’ve been up front with, ‘OK, we might end up doing everything, you might end up doing everything. Let’s start talking about how to do this so we all do it as well as we can so this thing really happens.’"
From one GDC to the next
The change in the conversation around VR in a year – from one GDC to another – has been dramatic, Iribe pointed out.
"At GDC 2013, Oculus was the only [company] around talking about VR. [Valve’s Michael] Abrash showed up with a presentation and Valve a little bit [was] hinting that it’d been playing with this.
"This year, there’s obviously a lot more people taking about VR. We think within the next year or two, boom! That’s going to be hopefully what just about everybody is talking about, especially as it hits the consumer market."
- Oculus was part of a VR alliance, but by mistake