Facebook isn’t rushing Oculus Rift. While it seemed for a while that the virtual reality headset could become a reality in the commercial market this year, it would appear as though those rumors have fallen flat. It looks like Oculus Rift will remain a project of the future, as members of the team pointed out, “Oculus is very much in the development stage.” They went on to point out, “it’s very early to be talking about large shipment volumes.”
This though is an expected attitude for Facebook to have about a product that is different than anything Facebook has put out before. They’ve been great in the digital department and have done great work on the software end. However, developing a physical product – like a virtual reality headset – is a unique challenge for two reasons. First, it’s a challenge because it’s a relatively unknown piece of technology. It isn’t something that everyone needs to have, like a smartphone, which has become commonplace for consumers of all ages to have. Second, it’s a challenge given the fact that Facebook hasn’t been involved in the physical consumer goods business before.
This is a new venture for Facebook, and it’s important to remember that they’re going to be working on figuring all of this out, well into the actual development and retail launch of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. That’s why the next year, or that “development stage” that Oculus Rift currently finds itself in, is so important. It will be the single biggest factor that goes into determining how well the hardware functions.
Palmer Luckey, the inventor of Oculus Rift, pointed out earlier in the year though that something would have to go “horribly wrong,” for Oculus Rift to not be on shelves this calendar year. His words though, clearly being undercut by Facebook’s upper-management, who feel the product simply isn’t where it needs to be now, or where it should be when the device would – in theory – actually launch.