Virtual reality company targets one billion users

Oculus Rift CEO: ‘We want to be the next iPhone’

The CEO of virtual reality firm Oculus has said that he wants the Oculus Rift VR headset to become as successful as the iPhone.

Brendan Iribe, speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY event, said that the company asked itself “do we want to be Game Boy, or iPhone or Android?” while mulling over the acquisition offer from Facebook, which then went on to buy the company for $2 billion.

“I think Game Boy is an awesome platform, but I think you’ll see handheld gaming largely disrupted by the mobile market,” Iribe explained.

“For VR, where we want to go – connecting a billion people – do you want to be building a platform that has a billion people on it, or 10 or 20 or 50 million people?”

He added some reassurance for gamers who are worried that Facebook’s acquisition of the firm would limit the headset’s focus on gaming.

“For game developers, they’re going to a have a lot more success shipping their content into [a] platform that has a billion users, than [one with] 50 million or 100 million,” he said.

“Consoles and gaming-targeted devices usually only get to a 50 to 100 million total audience.“

Iribe also dispelled ideas that Facebook’s involvement might turn away developers uneasy with the idea of the social network’s involvement. Minecraft creator Notch announced his cancellation of an Oculus Rift version of the block-building title after the Facebook deal was announced, citing the ‘unclear and shifting motives’ of the ‘unstable platform’.

Seemingly referring to such possible unease, Iribe stated: “The biggest thing I think for us was that some of the really large developers out there who typically look at a platform and are late adopters to a new platform – because they need to see the monetisation, they need to see the return, they want to see a huge audience – they turned around to us after the announcement and said ‘we’re so happy to see a new platform. It’s about time. We’re all in. We’re ready to start developing content for this.’

“So now for the general developer, there’s a greater chance that you’re going to be able to develop something and then create a business off of our platform, knowing that with this partnership, it’s going to be bigger, better, faster.”

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