Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick calls Oculus Rift "anti-social technology"
The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is an exciting piece of hardware, and valuable too, judging by the recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook. Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe referenced that acquisition last month, when he said he envisions reaching "a billion users" with the device by broadening its functionality beyond just gaming. But the top dog at Take-Two Interactive has a different view of things, describing it as "anti-social technology" that will only appeal to core gamers.
"It is apparently great, our people have tried it [and] love it," Zelnick said in an interview with Bloomberg, although he acknowledged that he hasn't yet tried it himself. Nonetheless, he expressed doubts that the device will be a mainstream hit.
"I think for a core gamer it could be a wonderful experience, someone who really likes to be immersed. But a lot of people who play videogames, for example my kids, they play with their friends sitting next to them, and so that technology is not going to appeal to them," he said. When interviewer Erik Schatzker described the Oculus Rift as "anti-social technology," Zelnick agreed, adding, "It is an anti-social technology, but we will support it to the extent it's brought to market and it works for our games."
Is he right? I'm inclined to think so, at least for the foreseeable future. That kind of intense immersion is very much the hallmark of core gaming (or at least what much of core gaming would like to be), but I'm not sure that more "casual" gamers are going to find the prospect of strapping on a pair of blinders and cutting themselves off from the outside world to be terribly appealing.
Zelnick wouldn't comment directly on whether Take-Two is working with Oculus or Facebook to develop games for the Rift, but he did say he "has no insight" into how long it will take the headset to be ready for the mass market, implying that for now, the company remains a spectator.