Oculus Rift Release Date: Still Not Set, But CEO Wants '1 Billion People' In VR MMO Game

By Alex Riviello , Updated May 07, 2014 04:21 PM EDT
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As the world impatiently awaits new about Oculus Rift's consumer release, the CEO of the company reveals their lofty plans. How lofty? They want 1/7th of the population to jump into virtual reality.

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That's right- Oculus Rift and Facebook have stated that they want to put 1 billion people into a massive virtual world. "This is going to be an MMO where we want to put 1 billion people in VR," said Oculus's chief executive, Brendan Iribe told attendees of the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York on Tuesday.

How absurd is this number? World of Warcraft, the most popular MMO of all time, peaked at 12 million monthly active users in 2010. Farmville topped 80 million users in 2010, but of course that was in a free game playable in your web browser, not with a $350 piece of hardware hooked up to your computer.

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"Do you want to build a platform that has 1 billion users on it, or only 10, 20, or 50 million?" Iribe asked the crowd.

That would mean that Facebook would need sell more Oculus Rift headsets than all of the gaming consoles sold globally since 1982. Combined.

So no, there's no way they're going to get close to that number, but they're still going to try. The whole reason that Facebook bought the company was because they saw its potential in social media platforms and indeed, Iribe understands that the only way to do this is to take the device beyond gaming. But since Facebook only has 1.23 billion monthly active users itself, this goal seems a little absurd, although their thought is to use the Oculus Rift to create an interconnected virtual world similar to Facebook's social network. (Like Second Life, perhaps?)

You have to shake your head at the chutzpah of this but hey, if anyone can do it...

As for now, we're going to keep an eye on E3, where it seems likely that Oculus Rift VR will announce the release date and price for the consumer version.

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