Oculus Rift: Mark Zuckerberg targets 50m-100m headset sales in 10 years

Facebook boss: ‘When you get to that scale, that’s when it starts to be interesting as a business’

Facebook-owned virtual reality firm Oculus VR has sold more than 100,000 of its Oculus Rift headset’s developer kits, but the social network’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is aiming much higher.

“It needs to reach a very large scale – 50 million to 100 million units – before it will really be a meaningful thing as a computing platform,” he told analysts during Facebook’s earnings call following the publication of its latest quarterly financial results.

Zuckerberg added that this is a long-term target for Oculus VR, which Facebook bought for $2bn earlier in 2014.

“It’s hard to predict exactly but I don’t think it’s going to get to 50 million or 100 million units in the next few years. So that will take a few cycles of the device to get there,” he said during the earnings call.

“And then when you get to that scale, that’s when it starts to be interesting as a business in terms of developing out the ecosystem. So when I’m talking about that as a 10 year thing, it’s building the first set of devices and building the audience and the ecosystem around that until it eventually becomes a business.”

Oculus Rift isn’t a consumer product yet: the company has released two prototypes so far for games developers, while also announcing a partnership with Samsung for its Gear VR device.

“We continue to see a lot of excitement in the developer community and we’ve now shipped more than 100,000 of Rift developer kit to over a 130 countries,” Zuckerberg told analysts.

“It’s still early for Oculus but we are encouraged to see the variety of apps and games being developed for this platform.”

Zuckerberg has already made it clear that his ambitions for virtual reality go well beyond games, even if they remain the focus for Oculus VR in the short term.

“After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face – just by putting on goggles in your home,” he wrote in a status update as the acquisition was announced in March.

“This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

Facebook closes its $2bn Oculus Rift acquisition. What next?


Stuart Dredge

The GuardianTramp

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