Oculus Co-Founder Jack McCauley Loses Faith

By Ben Hamill - July 17 2019

Oculus Co-Founder Jack McCauley Loses Faith

The co-founder of Oculus VR has lost faith in the concept of VR being the future of gaming. Jack McCauley left Oculus in 2014, shortly after it was acquired by social media giant Facebook and cites his loss of confidence in the product as the main reason behind his exit. McCauley’s take on the matter may seem pessimistic, but when considering the actual sales figures tallied over recent years, the former Oculus man may actually be onto something yet.

Whilst the acquisition by Facebook was considered mired in controversy at the time of the deal having gone down, the new association did open up a world of access in terms of exposure, marketing muscle and general know-how. But whether this will be enough to keep the tech going for another decade or ten, is anyone’s guess.

Or in the words of McCauley, if it were going to sell, it would have by now.

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The Numbers Never Lie

The Oculus Quest has sold only roughly 1.1 million units since it was released back in May. Compare this to Sony’s PlayStation 4 and its 17.8 million units sold in 2018 alone, one starts to see the picture a great deal more clearly and McCauley suddenly doesn’t seem so pessimistic after all. The figures, after all, speak volumes about the popularity of the product.

McCauley said that one of the main problems with VR is the fact that players aren’t likely to sit around or walk around kitted out in headsets and other interactive gear for a typical 6-hour gaming session, as is the case with console play. Add to that the fact that many players have reported feelings of nausea and vertigo experienced as a result of VR tech and the result is a product and marketing disaster just waiting to happen.

Lacking In Exclusive Content

Another downside to VR is that it’s a sub-industry that doesn’t have much to offer in terms of truly original and exclusive VR games. Most of the games supported by VR devices are existing titles; titles that can just as well be played on a standard console. In short, VR doesn’t have a special claim to content fame.

McCauley describes first contact with a VR game and system as being, “Wow, that’s impressive!” followed by “but now what to do with it?”. The fact that Facebook now owns Oculus may turn out to be its only saving grace; at least in terms of holding on for a couple more years. And if it hasn’t happened for VR by then, then it probably never will.