Jason Rubin On The Oculus Rift’s ‘Killer App’

by Joe Durbin • March 17th, 2016

Virtual reality is changing the world, but will it change your daily life? A big question mark on the industry right now is what will become the “killer app” that drives people to put their headsets on for hours and hours each day. Jason Rubin explained his thoughts on this matter during an interview with UploadVR at a press event in San Francisco.


Rubin is the “father” of Crash Bandicoot and the founder of legendary video game studio Naughty Dog. Currently, however, he is in charge of the Oculus platform. One of his major responsibilities is running Oculus Studios, the division of the company responsible for sniffing out exemplary content for the Rift and making sure the studios creating it have the capital and resources they need to finish the job.

Rubin’s past experience and current occupation make him something of a sommelier for content. If anyone would know what VR experience could become the Rift’s  killer app it would be him. When asked if that application currently exists and – if not – what it would look like, Rubin responded by saying:

“If I had the answer to that question we would have produced exactly one game. It never works out that way. Nobody knew Halo was coming but Halo became Halo. When I released Crash Bandicoot, who knew it would go on to be three of the top 10 titles [for PlayStation]. The right thing to do as the providers of the hardware – and the platform that goes beyond it – is to push the technology forward and inspire people and see what consumers respond to.”

This wide net approach will require a sizable content stable in order to succeed. There are 30 titles slated for launch on the Rift, but what about down the road? When asked how many titles users can expect on the system by the end of 2016 Rubin responded with, “Over 100. But I have no way of knowing the exact number.”

Widespread VR adoption for Rubin is less about one killer app or game and is more about a gradual process of understanding:

“Three things are going to happen. The hardware is going to get better and more ergonomic making the experience more comfortable more often. The second thing is the software is going to get better…The third thing that happens is people get climatized. They get more comfortable. This last one is tricky because it means you have to spend time. And also you can never forget that some of your consumers are always going to be first time users.”

Time will tell what the army of soon-to-be-Rift-owners collectively chose to be the most successful game or application on the platform.

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