Xbox One and PS4 "too limited" for Oculus Rift creator

VR headset needs to iterate yearly - consoles specs aren't flexible enough, says Palmer

The creator of the Oculus Rift isn't likely to work closely with the next-generation of consoles, claiming that the hardware from Sony and Microsoft is too limiting for his virtual reality tech.

Speaking to Tech Radar, Palmer Luckey said his hardware needs to evolve quickly with the PC market instead of the locked-down specs of console hardware.

"Consoles are too limited for what we want to do," he said. "We're trying to make the best virtual reality device in the world and we want to continue to innovate and upgrade every year - continue making progress internally - and whenever we make big jumps we want to push that to the public."

"The problem with consoles in general is that once they come out they're locked to a certain spec for a long, long time. Look at the PCs that existed eight years ago. There have been so many huge advances since then. Now look at the VR hardware of today. I think the jump we're going to see in the next four or five years is going to be massive, and already VR is a very intensive thing, it requires rendering at high resolutions at over 60 frames a second in 3D."

"It's hard to imagine them running a VR experience that's on par with PC," he added. "And certainly five years from now the experiences and the technology for virtual reality that will be available on PC is going to be be so far beyond anything that a console can provide."

Sony is working on its own PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset, with a release expected late next year.

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Latest comments (14)

matthew bennion Web Development 8 years ago
I think VR is still too "limited" but maybe that's just me. The only way things have moved on is the graphics aren't gradient polygons and the tracking is more precise. The interaction however hasn't changed and that's the issue here, putting on a helmet and being able to look around a virtual world only to be required to move via a controller is not really a great deal of progress nor is it any more immersive.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic8 years ago
Since the image is all that you can see, a huge part of the immersion comes from the hardware and software behind the image, that cannot be understated. Putting on a helmet and looking around a virtual world now is nothing like it was 10 years ago. Higher resolution screens, more frames per second, truly binocular images, bigger field of view, lenses so your eyes are focused at a distance instead of 2 inches in front of your eyeballs, all the other advances in general graphical quality over the last few years, along with the latest motion sensing gyroscopic sensors and accelerometers that provide close to lifelike responsiveness to head movements all make a big difference to the authenticity of the experience that simply wasn't possible before.

Furthermore, who says that interaction in VR is limited to using a controller? You can hook it up to things like Kinect or Leap, voice commands, motion sensing handheld controllers like Move, Wii Remotes or a Hydra, or whatever mode of interface you want to (most of which also wasn't around or even possible 10 years ago).
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
I dont think the occulus rift is a huge leap foward besides being able to see in 180 3d stereoscopic display. It will still feel wierd to turn without actually moving your head or turn around without turning around. Your still strapped to all the existing controller methods that currently exist. Consoles have managed to integrate most of them. I dont know what makes consoles so limited when I cant even pick up an oculus rift to play anywhere, and where is the exact release date of this thing anyway? And at what cost? i like consoles in the fact that they are a very accesable gateway to gaming. And I can see any of the consoles having a VR headset as a peripheral. CAuse really why does the VR headset have to be a console and play games. Why cant the headset simply attach to existing gaming machines and thats it. The machines will gradually get more powerful over time. To me consoles are becoming the central gaming hub that offer the ability to integrate other technologies as developers see fit, this includes none existing and new technologies that may show up later in the future. Already they are integrating mobile technologies well.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 14th November 2013 3:19pm

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Iain McNulty Person doing things 8 years ago
Nobody apart from the massively rich would update their Oculus device yearly, so their point is somewhat moot. If console specs do not change over the course of a generation then they would not need to update their Oculus devices for console use yearly at all.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 8 years ago
Apple certainly drove home the point that if you have the technology toy everybody wants, then you do not need to worry about price that much. An Occulus will certainly be less expensive than most iPads. If there is a 1080p, a 4k version and an intermediate within the first 24 months, nobody will be too surprised. But the point at which consoles can empower the high end version is certainly passed. Remember, we are talking John Carmack now, he is not afraid to produce something that puts too much strain on computers upon release.

The challenge is to make people try the Occulus for a minute. After that, it is apparent why you want one. Turn your head right now, you see your living room, your office desk, that smelly dude on the bus, or the pure panic in your spouse's face as you read this while driving down the autobahn at 160mph. If you turn your head with an OR on, you are still in the game. Which has a psychological impact I grossly underestimated. Even though I did know the VR stuff from the 90ies and Sony's movie goggles. We should not forget, this tech has huge implications for TV and movies as well. This is your IMAX at home.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 8 years ago
Uhm, I guess he's blinded by the fact that he has access to a lot of highend GPU's.. His success has risen to his head, so he lost touch with reality.. mainstream PC's will be just as powerfull for a couple of years as a console, people aren't upgrading their GPU's every year. Just put your product on the market already, otherwise you'll keep updating it to make it even more perfect.. To me, if they aren't releasing the HD version by april 2014 they are already overstretching their stay and people will just look elsewhere..
Yes, consoles may not be as powerfull, but even with a newer HMD you still have to account for older GPU's so you'll have to incorporate upscaling into the HMD itself (when you go to higher resolution screens)..

Personally I don't want a new HMD every (half)year, something tells me then the device isn't good enough. Upgrading resolution just stops at some point as pixels are already indistinguashable on 5" 1920x1080 from a few cm's distant (at least I can't see any single pixel on a Nexus 5, and my vision isn't THAT bad).. So going real 4K on 5" is really just overkill (the eye can't tell the difference anymore, better put the needed power in being able to render more objects than in upping the resolution. I'm still waiting to even see a game that just looks as realistic as a bluraymovie, but we still aren't even close to that..
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Try looking at these screens through a magnifying glass, Andrew, because this is basically what rift is like.
A rocky, inconsistent framerate might be off-putting on a TV, but on VR it can be almost vomit inducing.
I think the rift will be a PC only affair for the near future. We're not yet at a point where consoles can render amazingly detailed worlds with plenty of performance to spare for high resolutions, 120 fps and stereoscopic rendering.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Felix Leyendecker on 14th November 2013 11:41am

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Furthermore, who says that interaction in VR is limited to using a controller? You can hook it up to things like Kinect or Leap, voice commands, motion sensing handheld controllers like Move, Wii Remotes or a Hydra, or whatever mode of interface you want to (most of which also wasn't around or even possible 10 years ago).
Are we really going to consider motion based controls while being absolutely blind and oblivious to the outside world around us?
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matthew bennion Web Development 8 years ago
Being stationary in a virtual world with jazzed up graphics and motion sensors to move objects around doesn't sell it to me. Until you can physically walk around its not progressed much at all.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic8 years ago
@Jim, good point, but since I don't have pets or small children running around underfoot, that wouldn't put me off in the slightest. I can understand perfectly why it might be dangerous in other situations though ;)

As Klaus says, people won't mind paying for the latest version of something as long as it's cool enough, and so far the vast majority of people who've tried the Rift say it's much better than they imagined. Given that factors like response time and resolution make a much bigger difference to a VR experience than a TV experience, and that we're making noticeable advances every year or 2 in graphics technology, I would say this is the exact type of product where incremental hardware advances actually make a significant difference to the user experience, much moreso than for consoles anyway.

By contrast, I honestly have no clue why so many people happily pay to upgrade their phone every year, given that 90% of their use is for texts, calls, browsing websites, and playing undemanding puzzle games for which the user experience will barely change at all from 1 phone to the next.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 8 years ago
Time-hacked from the Googlepolis mainframe of 3200 A.D.

Imagine how much safer life has become.
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Morgan King Animator 8 years ago
Being stationary in a virtual world with jazzed up graphics and motion sensors to move objects around totally sells it to me - the possibilities of that alone are endless. Beyond that, though, we all learned how to effectively move around in a 2D game environment, and we learned to effectively move around in a 3D game environment, and we'll learn how to effectively move around in a VR game environment, and some gameplay styles we're used to today won't translate well to that. I can't wait to learn some new ways of playing games - I'm exhausted with the status quo.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 8 years ago
I am always surprised to see people who are not on board with VR. It's always been the Holy Grail of gaming for me.

You would think people would start pushing for this to happen instead of backing into a corner and shouting gimmick before even trying. It just goes to show you, things never change. There will always be doubters no matter the time or place. That is until it's all said and done. Those people then act like they where on board to begin with xD.

@Iain McNulty
I don't believe they where talking about people updating their VR headset every year. I think it was more along the lines of keeping 60FPS at high resolutions. A console can't constantly do that. As games get more intensive, the less likely they will run at exactly 60 FPS on a console. While a PC you can always upgrade if you really need to. PCs are simply a more open platform that would allow such tech to be used properly is all they are saying.

You don't update your computer monitor every year, so I wouldn't expect you to have to with VR headsets either since it's essentially the same thing. It's just another form of a monitor.

@Jim Webb
Just because it's an issue today, doesn't mean it will be an issue tomorrow. Always look forward. People are always trying to work out issues.

@Matthew Bennion
Pretty much the same as the above comment to Jim. However, I am pretty sure this is essentially already possible anyway. Unless you specifically mean physically being in the game and walking lol.

@Andrew Jakobs
Someone already pretty much commented, but I do have to say, are you serious?
There is a huge difference using your naked eye to spot pixels and looking through an Oculus rift. As the other person mentioned, it's like looking through a magnifying glass. How about this, take your phone and snap a picture of it's screen at about 2 - 3 inches away. Then expand that picture to cover your whole field of vision. Then tell me you can't see the pixels lol.

Also you are underestimating a humans eyes. We don't actually have any known record of the max resolution are eyes can perceive. Anyone who tells you other wise, is a fool. Are eyes are actually capable of responding fro ma single photon, but it takes about at least 5 - 9 within 100ms for us to have a conscious response, or in other words, for us to notice.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Brook Davidson on 16th November 2013 1:30pm

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Luke Carter Programmer, The Creative Assembly8 years ago - if you have the space and the money, this may be the answer to the 'being stationary' argument
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