Oculus’ Jason Rubin: ‘VR Is About To Shift Into Its Second Gear’

by David Jagneaux • July 13th, 2017

Ever since Facebook purchased Oculus VR back in 2014 it was clear the company was playing the long-game when it came to their strategy in the VR marketplace. Rather than rush to deliver a product or clamor to release as many games and apps as possible, the Oculus Home marketplace is a more finely curated “walled garden” approach. In terms of consistent quality it’s definitely working.

Earlier this week Oculus dropped a bomb shell on the market when they announced that their flagship VR headset, the Oculus Rift, would be part of their ongoing “Summer of Rift” promotion by dropping the price for a Rift with Touch and all of its free software down to just $399 for six weeks. That’s the same price as a standalone PSVR headset (without the required camera or the recommended Move controllers) which makes high-powered PC VR more accessible than ever before, especially when compared to the twice as expensive $799 HTC Vive room-scale setup.

The Rift first launched back in the first half of 2016, over a full year ago, and the Touch controllers didn’t hit shelves until December. Nevertheless, Oculus has come out to say that almost all Rift owners have also purchased the Touch controllers. In this way, they’ve slowly built up their user base and content catalog in such a way that, when you consider the sale, it’s hard to not recommend someone purchase a headset at this point.

“People online and in general are starting to say positive things that weren’t really said over the last 90 days,” said Rubin during a phone interview last week. “Now you can broaden that out to a larger audience that isn’t an early adopter and may not understand the nuance. We feel really really good about the content we’ve released and a lot of the things that are coming soon.”

With the Rift and Vive both coming up on being a year and a half old at this point and a solid list of releases for both headsets so far this year despite the E3 absence, things are looking good for the budding VR market right now.

“We are entering into a period in which VR is gonna shift to its second gear,” explained Rubin. “The strategy of content investment is paying off. If you look at the last 90 days the community is clearly saying that price, content investment, and content quality does matter, as we have always been saying.”

What exactly that second gear looks like remains to be seen, but hopefully it points to a strong finish on the year and a big CES and GDC 2018 for all hardware manufacturers and software developers.

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  • “People online and in general are starting to say positive things that weren’t really said over the last 90 days,” lol He must’ve been reading my comments. But price point is the key factor to adoption (hence PSVR sales surpassing 1mil). And this makes Oculus the most competitive out of the high-end HMDs. Now they need to work on their consumer confidence and hopefully good content will do that.

    • Robbie Cartwright

      I really hope so. ^^

  • polysix

    please for the love of *** stop calling them ‘headsets’, it’s really annoying (and wrong). It’s a full VR system, though even if it was just a HMD it would still be an annoying term.

    Call them “VR Systems” because that will encapsulate everything involved (including controllers, tracking and any future additions) even if it’s just a lone HMD – Head Mounted Display. “headset” is just a ridiculous word anyway, it reads bad, it sounds bad, and should be left in the 70s.

    “It’s hard not to recommend people now buy a VR system” (VRS for short). There, makes much more sense doesn’t it? And doesn’t sound like it was written by a grandad who survived WW2.

    No “buy a VR” (even worse) either! That’s reserved for the extremely dull.

    • Caven

      When I hear the word “system” as related to computing, I expect a complete product that does not require additional equipment to run. I think referring to any of the main VR products as systems is more misleading than calling them headsets or HMDs. Those terms make it a lot more clear that the product is a peripheral, and not something that will work by itself.

      • Covert_Death

        yea sorry, polysix rant is stupid.

        what he is referring to is components, a SYSTEM includes the PC, and that is NOT what you are getting with these bundles right now, they are the VR components to add to an existing system.

        a VR System, as polysix would like to refer to them as would be a standalone kit that includes HMD / Controllers / Tracker / and a renderer (likely a desktop computer but it doesn’t have to be, it could be its own ‘console’ type thing).

        • polysix

          it’s just a really annoying word and doesn’t correctly convey what VR (the HMD itself even) is. I know oculus themselves call it a headset, my rant was to ‘all out there’ not just UploadVR, cos it’s irked me since dk1 days. Ok so “VR System” may not be perfect but I don’t think, unless you’re being pedantic, that people would assume it has to include the PC/computer too. It’s not my job to find the best word, only to register my distaste at terms like ‘headset’ and ‘handset’.

          Oh and obviously “VR goggles” and “VR Glasses” are even worse, those guys need to be forced to use google cardboard for ever more for using such shitty/throway/trivial terms.

    • johann jensson

      Oculus is a periphery unit, like a monitor. Nothing wrong with “VR headset”. The germans call it “VR glasses” btw. 🙂

      • polysix

        except it’s just a really annoying word and doesn’t correctly convey what VR (the HMD itself even) is. I know oculus themselves call it a headset, my rant was to ‘all out there’ not just UploadVR, cos it’s irked me since dk1 days. Ok so “VR System” may not be perfect but I don’t unless you’re being pedantic that people would assume it has to include the PC/computer too. It’s not my job to find the best word, only to register my distaste at terms like ‘headset’ and ‘handset’.

    • Jeff

      pretty funny rant but I agree. Ever heard the term “handset”? waaayyyy worse! 😉

    • Blake Ball

      I remember when i was 12 years old too.

  • Roman

    fine, and now plze make the Rifts compatible to the lighthouse from Steam, sell the HMD without the own tracking for 299 and deaktivate the compulsion to run any Software vom Facebook.

    • Rob Heath

      Rift uses infrared light and vive uses depth sensors, plus its inside out vs outside in tracking.. not going to happen.

  • CMcD

    Dear Jason Rubin, please make the oculus rift work on the new xbox one x. I have many friends who thought this would happen and are holding out for a day when they can play oculus with touch on a console…. psvr already has their sub par answer… just make it happen. console price plus oculus at $399 is a viable buy in for everyone i know. but hey, that’s just me