Oculus Rift has had its fair share of issues, and it doesn’t look like the sun is getting any brighter any time soon for the company. Facebook, the company that owns Oculus outright could be positioning itself to perform a takeover of operations if we’re to take the word of head of content for Oculus, Jason Rubin.
“I would say that, assuming there was a healthy ecosystem and developers were making money and enjoying what they’re doing and continuing to pump back content into the system that Facebook would potentially say, ‘Jason, thank you. You’re done. Now that the ecosystem is set up, let independent developers, let small developers, large developers, publishers like EA, that’s their business, let them do it.'” – Source: GamesIndustry
VR still faces major hurdles
While it may seem like a darkened outlook of the position that Oculus is in, it isn’t out of this world to assume that Facebook; a content delivery system. Is going to look into ways of making more delivery avenues its primary strength going forward. Just look at how Facebook is attempting to ape Snapchat at every turn in messenger in recent weeks. Clearly their strategy is to take what works from other business models and adapt, integrate and profit. Whether that actually lends itself to Facebook eliminating key roles within Oculus is obviously something that only time can reveal.
In the present there is still the pesky issue of pricing for consumer headsets. These things still cost a ton of money on their own and the hardware needed to run the kit isn’t exactly cheap. To get a good experience out of an Oculus headset, you’re going to be spending nearly $3000 and most people don’t have that kind of disposable income. Facebook would probably look to streamline the price, the experience, and the software which again, isn’t necessarily good news for the industry as a whole.
Hardly anyone is making money
In the meantime, this is the kind of tumultuous news that seems to haunt the VR scene these days. Hot off the heels of the news from Gabe Newell that very few VR games even manage to be profitable, it is still a daunting part of the industry to wander into. When only 30 VR apps have made over $250,000 in revenue it might be cause for concern on the development side of things. You don’t want to walk into territory where you know that you’re going to lose no matter what. And it’s never a good idea to spend that kind of money making VR games when you don’t have huge reserves of cash to fall back on. – Source: Polygon
Still, VR is the promise of another world made almost real in your living room. If Oculus and other companies can’t manage to get it together, there isn’t going to much to look forward to on the horizon. Even more worrying is the question of what kind of experiences a company like Facebook would even seek to acquire or develop for Oculus if that situation occurred. Look at the bulk of the stuff you can play on Facebook now. It’s not great. And furthermore, it’s almost in step with the current line of VR games anyway. Lots of brief carnival game kind of experiences that don’t do much to make a case for VR.
No matter what happens, there’s still tons of money riding on VR, and you can guarantee Facebook wants to see something decent for that spend of a billion dollars.