Virtual reality will transform human interactions, claims Oculus boss

Web Summit 2014: The long term impact of virtual reality (VR) technology will be to change the way that people communicate with one another around the world, Oculus Rift chief executive Brendan Iribe has said.

Oculus Rift chief executive Brendan Iribe
Oculus Rift chief executive Brendan Iribe

Speaking at the Web Summit in Dublin today (4 November), Iribe suggested that VR could stand alongside other seminal communication tools like the telephone and internet by allowing people to wear a headset and feel as though they are having a face-to-face conversation with another person in a different location.

“We get asked all the time what will be the killer application for VR,” he said. “It’s still too early to say. Clearly it’s going to have a big rooting in gaming and in other media like movies. But I think this is going to transform the world long term through its impact on human interactions.”

Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2bn (£1.3bn) in March this year. The deal signals the social network’s intention to ramp up the development of VR technology, which has not yet gained mass adoption despite many years of development by different labs and companies.

In September Oculus Rift launched its latest prototype headset, Crescent Bay. Iribe said the hardware is “almost there” in terms of a consumer-ready experience but would not be drawn on when the company would release a device for the mass market.

“It’s a matter of months rather than years, but we’re talking about many months still,” he said. “We want to make sure we get it right and that we are presenting the content makers with a clear roadmap of where we are going.”

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