Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe gave his keynote address at the recently held Oculus Connect 2014 conference, its first ever developer conference in Hollywood on September 19, 2014. Nate Mitchell, Oculus VP Product and Michael Abrash, Oculus Chief Scientist also gave their talks in this opening session. Below is the full transcript of the opening session.
Brendan Iribe – Oculus CEO
Nate Mitchell – VP Product
Michael Abrash – Oculus Chief Scientist
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome CEO of Oculus, Brendan Iribe.
Brendan Iribe – Oculus CEO
Wow! Good morning and welcome to the first Oculus Connect Developer Conference. It’s awesome to see all of you out there. This is a really special moment and this is a special day for everyone.
Today after just two short years of launching the Kickstarter, I truly believe that you will also join us in the belief that VR is finally ready. We have some very exciting things to tell you and show you.
We’re gathered at this time where we thought about VR for decades. We dreamed the VR. It’s been in books and movies. If you’re a sci-fi enthusiast, this is the Holy Grail. This is the thing that you’ve always imagined would finally happen. It’s not 2030, it’s not 2050, it’s 2014.
And today it is happening. Virtual reality is here. Just let that sink in. We thought about flying cars, maybe hoverboards. We thought about virtual reality and it’s now here.
There are more developers in the world creating virtual reality with dev kits than ever before. You guys – the community – made this happen. There is over a 100,000 Rift developer kits, shipped to more than 130 countries around the world. We launched two years ago – that’s incredible.
I never expected it to go this quickly. None of us did. Again, it’s because of you guys. It’s because of the dream of virtual reality and hardware and it being finally the time.
Today you and the VR community have an opportunity to come together and take VR to the next level. That’s what this conference is all about. That’s what today is all about.
Now I hope you have a lot of fun while you’re doing this. We always pride ourselves and say at Oculus, while we’re on this crazy journey, this amazing journey, one of the most important, if not the most important parts of it, is to have freaking fun. We’re going out there; we’re changing the world. We’re realizing this dream. Let’s enjoy it. Let’s embrace it and let’s do it together as a community.
We’re not 10, we’re not a 100. We’re literally over a 100,000. I think it’s 130,000 now on our developer forum. That’s incredible. There has never been a hardware platform with that many developer kits.
Together we have a chance to create something really special — something that will change the lives of the entire future of human race. It’s going to be that impactful. It really is. I didn’t believe it when we first started. I thought it was a neat science project by a 19-year old. That was potentially one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever seen. But I didn’t realize just how important this was going to be for the future.
Think about it for a second. We’ve been looking at different realities, different fantasies on 2D surfaces for over 100 years, whether it’s books, film, photos, video games — we all love video games — but it’s always a 2D surface and you’re trying to immerse yourself in. You’re trying to believe that you’re in that fantasy, in that world.
Luckily you look around and you’re reminded it’s okay, I’m not really there – until now. With virtual reality, when you put on the headset — and it’s good enough — and you’re going to see something very special today.
When it’s good enough, suddenly the back of your brain believes you are there. You now are reminding yourself, no, no, no, I’m not really there. It’s a pretty amazing experience. You start fighting this.
We went from trying to convince ourselves we’re there, to try to convince ourselves we’re not there. So we’re not all going to be running around Call of Duty, you don’t really want to be in Call of Duty. You don’t want bullets going by your head. I have a feeling we’d all be crunched down in a bunker really scared. I know I would be. But that’s what virtual reality can bring. It is truly amazing.
Oculus Mission – Virtual Reality
Our mission is to transform gaming entertainment and the way we interact. We truly believe this will happen. And yes, it did start with games and gaming and it is going to continue with games. Because virtual reality for it to truly work, you have to create two virtual cameras that are on the exact place of your eyes. You have to trick the brain that you’re there with all the movement that’s all built at the core in software and a 3D game engine. And it will continue to be. And it’s us – the VR and gaming community – that are going to make that happen.
PC & Mobile VR
To do this and to really get out there and connect a billion people, two billion people in VR, we see two categories: PC and mobile VR. These each have trade-offs, advantages and challenges.
Today on PC, you get this awesome comfort and high fidelity. And you get the sense of presence, which is the magic of VR. Using features like positional tracking, high frame rates, low persistence, incredibly powerful GPUs, you can create unbelievable worlds. You can create believable worlds.
Again this is just the beginning. It’s only been two years. Think about the beginning of PCs and two years after Steve and Bill brought PCs to the world. Think about where we are now with VR. The next few decades are going to be incredible.
With mobile, the magic is accessibility, affordability and ultimately portability. Not having that cable tethered to your head, yanking at your head is an awesome feeling. It is an awesome experience. Being able to pass around of set of VR glasses or goggles to anybody in the audience, anybody in front of you is awesome. Being able to just share it, being able to take it with you, throw it in a backpack. It is very unique.
I was recently at a Hackathon where I was able to take the mobile VR headset and just hand it around and let dozens of people try it in a room. People were blown away. They never expected it to be so good, and I never expected you to be able to do that so easily. It really is awesome.
What Carmack and the team have pulled off on today’s mobile hardware is nothing short of incredible. But again now it’s up to you guys to carry that forward and create the content and make it a reality.
So long term we do see these two categories continuing to converge, overlap but ultimately complement each other. The cell phone is not replacing your laptop. It’s complementing it and you’ll be using it for a lot of different services just like mobile VR will continue to complement PC VR. We strongly believe it’s important to lead in both to do this right. And ultimately to connect billions of people in VR.