Oculus CEO: "We want to put a billion people in VR"

Brendan Iribe describes ambitious vision for, "the largest MMO ever made"

By Matthew Handrahan.Published Tuesday 6th May 2014, 8:57am GMT

With the backing of Facebook, Oculus VR now has the freedom to think big: roughly the size of a billion-player MMO.

Speaking at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe illustrated the scale of ambition that Facebook's network affords. Iribe claimed that the company the choice of using, "any part of Facebook or not," and Oculus is already targeting a huge portion of Facebook's near 1.3 billion user base.

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"We know with Oculus, with a virtual world, if you're putting on this pair of glasses and you're gonna be face-to-face communicating with people, you're gonna be jumping in and out of this new set of virtual worlds, this is gonna be the largest MMO ever made," Iribe said.

"This is gonna be an MMO where we want to put a billion people in VR. And a billion person virtual world MMO is gonna require a bigger network than exists today. Why not start with Facebook and their infrastructure, and their team and their talent that they've built up?"

While Iribe framed this goal in the language of gaming, he also admitted that, while most of the team at Oculus is composed of game developers, the context of the way the company views itself has changed. The company remains committed to gaming, but after the Facebook acquisition it is a matter of what they want the platform to be: Gameboy or iPhone.

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"Do you want to be a platform that has a billion users on it, or 10, 20 or 50 million?" Iribe asked. "In terms of content, for game developers, they're going to have a lot more success shipping into an ecosystem that has a billion users rather than one that has 50 or 100 million users."

Oculus VR is currently in a legal tangle with ZeniMax Media, which has claimed that former id Software boss John Carmack has used tech and code developed at ZenIMax in his work on the Oculus Rift. The claim has been roundly dismissed by both Carmack and Oculus.

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