Strauss Zelnick, the guy in charge of Take-Two Interactive - the company that owns 2K games and Rockstar Games – doesn’t believe that Virtual Reality has enough of that mass market appeal to break out beyond the core.
"It’s apparently great," Zelnick said of the Rift on Business-focused Bloomberg TV. "Our people who have tried it love it…Everyone says it’s great. I think for a core gamer, it can be a wonderful experience, someone who really likes to be immersed. But a lot of people who play video games, for example my kids, they play with their friends sitting next to them. So that technology is not going to appeal to them. So I think it’s very much a core technology."
As you can probably glean from his wording, Zelnick himself has yet to try the Rift or any of its competing technologies – which very nearly renders his expert opinion worthless. The biggest problem with Rift, he believes, is that it’s inherently anti-social – and the main reason mass market people do things like play games or even watch movies is to do them with other people. Virtual reality devices like the Rift shut the user off from the world.
"It is an anti-social technology," Zelnick said, adding that “we will support it to the extent it’s brought to market and it works for our games."
I have tried the Rift, and I actually have to agree with Zelnick. It is pretty amazing stuff, and I’m sure developers will make games for the Rift that go beyond any of our expectations. I just don’t see it taking off as a broad appeal, mass market technology any time soon. People in general, don’t want to be walled off. Where VR could really take off is in the realm of augmented reality, social experience…which might be where Facebook’s prowess lies.
Rift’s CEO Brendan Iribe wants the rift in a billion homes, connected to a billion people’s faces, while founder Palmer Luckey believes Virtual Reaity will replace traditional TV. I think they\re both rather mad.
Last Updated: June 2, 2014