Long Term Virtual Reality Strategies
The CEO of CCP, Hilmar Petursson isn’t too willing to discuss the number of people playing Valkyrie which it recently included with the Oculus Rift pre-orders.
“No, I can’t really do that,” he told Polygon when we interviewed him during Eve Fanfest 2016. “I think it would be much better for the platform companies to talk about their own numbers. I don’t want people to be triangulating their numbers out of our numbers.”
CCP also realizes that making money in virtual reality is going to be a marathon and the long term strategy of the company is to take things slow and steady and to get a good grip of what’s going on before hardware is in enough homes to make virtual reality software sales a major source of revenue.
“It’s a 10-year plan,” Pétursson explained. “We have taken the view that the first five years are going to be very slow and they’re going to be very chaotic, and a lot of things are going to change and a lot of things are going to fail. But in the second five years, then we’re going to see a rapid expansion like we’ve never seen before. But it’s going to take five years from this year to sort itself out.”
In other words, this year is going well according to expectations.
“Is there a lot of hardware [right now]? It’s all based on what people are expecting, and I’ve seen people are expecting a lot of hardware this year, but we never expected that,” Pétursson continued. “We had the expectation of the first five years of VR are going to be madness, and we’re going to structure ourselves to find success in that madness.”
CCP games is also well diversified when it comes to virtual reality. The company recently released Gunjack, a game that appeared on the Samsung Gear VR and is now available for the popular headsets, the HTC Vive and the Rift. Valkyrie was bundled in with Rift pre-orders and is coming to the Vive and PlayStation VR as well. Valkyrie will also be the first VR game to allow play across the three platforms.
Aldin Dynamics, another developer in Iceland stressed the importance of long term planning. They have released games on the early versions of the Rift hardware as well as the Gear VR.
“Assume the worst,” Hrafn Thorisson, CEO of Aldin Dynamics, said. “Assume that the worst will happen, and plan around that, and have a lot of redundancy in the plans that you’re making, at least business-wise. Maintaining a realistic expectation has been one of the key factors allowing us to start this early, and to still be here today.”
With the delays in shipping for the Rift and Vive, planning for the worst case scenario may have been prudent.
“The reason we’re here now is we always assumed the worst could happen, and planned around that. Without sounding too dark,” Thorisson said, laughing. “It’s just that this is a really risky space, and everyone going into VR right now needs to understand that.”
Aldin Dynamics figures that in five years’ time, VR will have been widespread enough in homes or businesses to make it a safer proposition. They admit they do not know when VR will hit mainstream or what form it will take but it is dangerous to be in this business as things can change quickly.
“This is a technology that we think is going to be one of the most impactful technologies in the history of computer science,” Thorisson said. “But it’s going to take time, and that has always been our strategy.”