Every once in a while you get to see not one but two legends occupy a single stage. It happened for music lovers when Billy Joel went on tour with Elton John. It happened for sports fans when LeBron James joined Dwayne Wade in Miami (he came back so I can talk about it again without retching). And it happened for nerds at this year’s VRX conference in San Francisco when Ted Price and Jason Rubin interviewed one another during a fireside chat.
Price and Rubin are two giants of the video game industry that founded Insomniac (Ratchet and Clank, Sunset Overdrive) and Naughty Dog (Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter) respectively. Price remains as Insomiac’s head but Rubin is currently serving as the head of content for Oculus after selling Naughty Dog to Sony in 2001. Rubin’s job now is to produce as many outstanding VR games and experiences for the Rift virtual reality headset as possible, and Insomniac has already established itself as one of the early scene’s major players with three VR titles released for Rift to date.
Price and Rift took the stage at VRX to participate in what was expected to be an informal conversation, but became an in-depth look at the highs and lows of VR game development. For his part, Rubin took the opportunity to speak to the future of Oculus content. Despite the deluge of launch titles for Rift and Touch, many of which have been very well received already, Rubin still stated that the best days for VR content lie ahead.
“I don’t think we’ve quite struck gold yet when it comes to the content that consumers want to buy for VR,” Rubin explained. “The next 12 to 24 months are where the real creativity is going to happen in VR. These are the experiences that will truly strike the consumer and that’s where greater [hardware] adoption starts to happen.”
Rubin elaborated that at Oculus they subscribe to a “hockey stick” outlook for the VR industry, meaning that they fully expect the industry to scale very slowly at first, if at all, before rocketing to extreme mass market success in the future. However, this timeline may be less optimistic than some might think.
“We don’t believe its this year [that mass adoption will take place], and we don’t believe its next year but we do think it’s coming,” he said.
Rubin was most recently responsible for orchestrating the 50+ title launch library for the Rift’s new controller platform: Oculus Touch. Those games were mostly received by the community but apparently despite this early success Rubin still has his, and his team’s, eyes focused on bigger and better things for the future.