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Oculus Rift seeks mass market appeal

News, 19 May 2015

NEW YORK: Oculus, the manufacturer of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset, believes this technology can become a mass market phenomenon, rather than simply being a product for gamers and early adopters.

Nate Mitchell, Oculus's co-founder and vp/product, discussed this subject at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2015 conference.

"We want to reach a state where we have hundreds of millions - if not billions - of people in VR," he said. (For more, including why retail should play a key role in the Rift's launch, read Warc's exclusive report: Oculus Rift aims to become a mass market reality.)

"We do see VR, ultimately, as a mass market product - and we want to get there," he said.

Business Insider forecasts that 26.5m VR units will be sold in 2020, with the category posting a compound annual growth rate of 99% between now and that date. Oculus, HTC and Sony are among the main competitors.

Oculus will begin taking pre-orders for the Rift later this year before the product ships in the first quarter of 2016.

The Gear VR, a mobile-powered headset made in conjunction with electronics giant Samsung, should be available this year - and launching these offerings would represent short-term success for Oculus.

"But for us," Mitchell continued, "our focus is really not only that but the long term and, again, getting VR out to the mass market and delivering an awesome consumer VR product.

"So, right now, the focus is - again - on nailing the user experience for the broadest market, and that's what the Rift is all about: consumer VR that we've been waiting for."

Expectations for the Rift have certainly been set high, with Oculus raising over $2m in donations on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and later being acquired by Facebook for $2bn.

"Ultimately, if we can deliver a great product that people are excited about and that they're using every day, then we've definitely had success," Mitchell said.

Data sourced from Warc