How To Launch Virtual Headset the Oculus Rift Way
Product launches and product releases are used by companies to bring their new products to the market. Tesla launches are unique with Elon Musk, clad in expensive suits pointing to a big screen going on and on about how the new model can do this , that and the other. Apple, on the other hand left competitors in admiration each time Steve stepped on the stage. His trademark casual look, the clear explanations about the new iPhone 4, left many at the edge of their seats. If a company can organize a super hyped up demo, sales follow in tandem.
The business world has exceptions to this rule. Going by the debut of the Oculus Rift headset. The company bagged the award for the most silent product launch. Oculus is as unique a company as its founder. Can you believe that Oculus’s Founder, Palmer Luckey, made the first headset from a collection of smart phone accessories? Amazing isn’t it? Especially when the 1990s were full of similar gadgets that left a lot to be desired. Virtual reality became a soft spot because users got a taste of a make believe environment.
A designer like Palmer and a company like Facebook were bound to collide. Mark Zuckerberg set a keen eye on Oculus Rift. With Facebook trying to make about the world more social, you don’t have to be a genius to connect the dots. The interest budded into an acquisition when Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion.
The long wait is finally over. The Oculus has already sold out and the new orders aren’t going to be at customer’s homes until this summer. Even though sales have been good so far, they may not be huge consistently over the first year. As Luckey said, “It’s not going to be everyone in the whole world using virtual reality — or even gamers using virtual reality. There is going to be an adoption curve over time, starting with early adopters or PC gamers who either own or are willing to buy a high-end PC. In that sense, it is part of a multi-year process.”
Exact sales figures for the initial Oculus release still haven’t been announced publicly though. The CEO looks forward to the headset being used as often as a smart phone and a personal computer. He dreams of the day when the headgear will be worn just like a pair of sunglasses.
There are many more competitors on the way. Sony is set to stake a claim in the market by releasing PlayStation VR, a unit which integrates seamlessly with PS4. For double the price, HTC Vive has a package that lets you move around in a room.
VR game creator, Jesse Shell thinks that 2017 will see more than 8 million headgears sold. Virtual reality is here and it is here to stay. He has his naysayers though. For example, Unity gaming company’s CEO, John Riccitiello is one such naysayer. He claims that Jesse’s claims are way overboard.
John said, “I called every one of the major hardware guys and told them to rename their launch to beta. I told them to be careful. I’m a little older than most of these CEOs. I would hate to see our industry have to do a recovery year. It’s going to have a spectacular year. It’s just not going to be as big as what the analysts have said.”
Only time will tell.