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Take-Two CEO skeptical of Oculus' broad appeal

Zelnick concedes Rift is an "anti-social" technology, but says it could be great for core gamer audience

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe wants to put 1 billion people into a virtual world, but his vision is not universally shared. As spotted by GameSpot, Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick expressed some skepticism about the Rift technology's breadth of appeal in an appearance on Bloomberg TV earlier this month.

"It's apparently great," Zelnick said of the Rift. "Our people who have tried it love it...Everyone says it's great. I think for a core gamer, it can be a wonderful experience, someone who really likes to be immersed. But a lot of people who play video games, for example my kids, they play with their friends sitting next to them. So that technology is not going to appeal to them. So I think it's very much a core technology."

Zelnick acknowledged he had not actually tried the Rift himself. He also agreed with one of the program's co-hosts when it was suggested that the Rift was at its heart "an anti-social technology."

"It is an anti-social technology," Zelnick replied. "But we will support it to the extent it's brought to market and it works for our games."

When asked if Take-Two was working with Oculus on anything in particular, Zelnick said the company isn't talking about the subject. However, he noted that the publisher has no insight into when Oculus might launch the Rift, and observed that Facebook is not a hardware company, suggesting a lack of experience in the sector could affect the situation.

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Latest comments (8)

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios2 years ago
but.. it's gonna change humanity, man.
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Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance2 years ago
Expert opinion taken from someone with zero experience in the subject matter. And his expert opinion is, "Everyone I know who tried it has loved it, but I have not tried it, and also I disagree with everyone who has actual direct experience with the product." And how can something be anti-social if they're literally aiming for a BILLION users?

This whole thing seems like an indirect insult to his employees, on top of that.

Catch up to reality Strauss. Online is the preferred method of multiplayer, a transition which was very much completed LAST generation. I'm not saying no one supports local multiplayer anymore or should, but it's definitely a game of diminishing returns at this point, and there's no reason the CEO of a video games company should not be aware of that.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
I've tried it, and I've been a huge supporter of VR AND 3D for decades. A high portion of the problem with 3D at home is that the glasses are isolating. Most people watch TV as a passive activity. The glasses force you to so one thing, enjoy the film, which is not something that non-enthusiasts want to do. Gaming is a very social thing for most people, and those goggles are a hard wall.

Is the Rift great? darn Tootin. Is it a mainstream product? NO. Can it still succeed in the enthusiast world, in arcades and such? YES.

The future of mainstream VR type experiences is augmented reality. It needs to not be isolated. And I expect that Oculus will be starting with the goggles, and then applying that tech to that. They're going to sell piles of units to design firms.

But anyone, including SONY, that thinks that any console currently out there is going to do decent VR at next generation quality is fooling themselves. I'm terrified of the system requirements of Rift Star Citizen.
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Gil Salvado 3D/2D Artist 2 years ago
Does anti-social mean that we don't look into one anothers eye's while communicating with another? If so, we live in quite a anti-social world already. I don't see VR to become mainstream either, not yet. Not within the next 5 years at least. But which new technology has become mainstream within a decade? And don't you say smartphones. Telephone are here since the beginng of the 19th centuary.

Imagine an companion app for VR software, which enables you to see your friends VR experience on your smartphone/tablet. How would that be anti-social?

If you share Zelnick's concept headphone are also really, really anti-social. Still, we survived the Cold War despite Walkmans.
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis2 years ago
I have tried it (have the dev kit) and tbh I don't see it having mass market appeal either. It is very niche and has a long way to go. The fact you have to be connected to the machine you are using it on right now is a big factor. Google Glass + VR is probably the combination I expect to see succeed in future but that future is still a long way out.
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Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance2 years ago
@ Gil,

My point exactly. Your app is a smart idea, but what I was thinking (and what is porbably more likely) involves seeing your friend-controlled teammate/opponents in the game world. You'll still be able to communicate through voice - it will essentially be virtual LARPing.

I can and have made friends of people in MMO guilds - do a raid, grab some drinks. Neither aspect felt more social than the other and what we largely discussed at the bar was the game. (in a way, being advantageous to connect to the closest server also ensured that a large number of us were geographically close).

Social interactivity is now largely web-related and works though Facebook (*cough* SimCity Social, Barrie *cough*), Twitter, etc. Welcome to the future! And remember before you lament it - you helped create it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Steve Wetz on 2nd June 2014 7:56pm

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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 2 years ago
How is Oculus Rift more "Anti social" as current single/multiplayer games, don't see those players behind their big screens being any more social... Also let's not forget most people have their heads in the smartphones anyways these days..
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yeah yeah, and TV was a fad, and the Internet is just for tech geeks, and email whats that? and of course cell phones are only for rich people... yeah yeah I've heard it all before. VR is indeed the future, be it Oculus or some other company, it will become a pervasive tech in everyone lives, book it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 3rd June 2014 4:29pm

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