Virtual reality won't become "mainstream" for another five years or more, according to what Oculus VR founder and Oculus Rift VR headset creator Palmer Luckey tells GamesIndustry International. Luckey says that that rather large window of time is fine with him because the Facebook acquisition gives him the space he and his company need to do what is best for VR technology in the long term.
"It might be next year, it might be five years from now," Luckey said about when VR might become mainstream. "Maybe VR doesn't really take off for consumers for some time. But the good news at having such a big backer behind us is that we can now afford to play that long game. Rather than having to make money now or we stop existing and someone else takes over, we can think about the best thing to do for the long-term of virtual reality."
Luckey also notes that – without having content that takes advantage of the technology and does it in a way that impresses consumers, Oculus Rift will stumble.
"For this platform to be as great as it can be, it's all about content," he said. "With publishing, it's not just about what shows off the tech; it's about what is actually going to make people go out and buy a Rift. And that's been one of the gating factors to the consumer version, in the sense that a lot of people would buy the [latest Oculus Rift development kit] right now. But if you did that you would have no games to play. We need to help seed the ecosystem and remove that risk for developers. [That's] super important."
Finally, Luckey says that having to use a controller while wearing the headset is hardly ideal. It has been rumored that Oculus VR is working on something to deal with this issue, but the company isn't saying much about that publicly.
"Controllers are a necessary abstraction right now, but a controller is not the ideal VR input," Luckey said. "You want something that's able to track your body movements, by haptic feedback and all these different things. But it's very challenging to do that, because people have been designing games for traditional controllers for a long time. So it's something that we're actively researching and developing, but I don't think a controller is going to be the answer for VR–at least, not the kind that people are traditionally using. It just makes sense for right now, because it's something that everybody has."
You can read the rest of the interview with Palmer Luckey on GamesIndustry International. A retail version of the Oculus Rift headset is a long ways off – it is expected to release sometime in late 2015.