Virtual reality pioneer Oculus VR doesn’t just want to get its products on your head, it wants them in your hands as well.
The headset maker has been quietly preparing motion controllers — devices that let you drive the action and manipulate objects in games with hand and body movements — to complement its forthcoming goggles, people familiar with the development process say. The result: a more immersive experience in video games and other simulations.
The social networking giant’s $2 billion bet on the virtual reality pioneer is bringing into focus the real costs of becoming a mass market consumer electronics maker.
Brendan Iribe traces the surprising rise of Oculus VR Inc., FacebookInc.’s second-largest acquisition, to a demonstration in a hotel meeting room two years ago.
The videogame-industry executive had traveled to the hotel in Long Beach, Calif., after meeting with Palmer Luckey, a virtual-reality enthusiast who at the time was planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter Inc.’s website for high-tech goggles. His product eventually became “Oculus Rift.”
Programmers have long tailored videogames for computers, television consoles and mobile devices. Now they are also targeting three-dimensional simulations enabled by special eyewear, a key focus of a conference this week in San Francisco.
Many developers descending on the Game Developers Conference are expected to come toting prototype videogames, movies and virtual-reality goggles—updates of offerings that ignited a short-lived technology craze in the early 1990s.