Oculus VR CEO sees potential for an MMO with "a billion people" in virtual reality

Patrick Carlson

When news surfaced that Facebook had agreed to buy up Oculus VR, it became clear the headset maker had big plans for its virtual reality technology. Now we have an idea of just how big. Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe says the Rift headset could potentially serve as the platform for an MMO with "a billion" people, according to a report at The Verge .

Speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt this week, Iribe reportedly described a goal of a theoretical MMO using VR technology. "This is going to be an MMO where we want to put a billion people in VR," Iribe said.

With this kind of scale as a goal, it's logical that Oculus would look for a partner such as Facebook, and not just for social network's deep pockets. The Oculus Rift developers are clearly interested in its massive, well-established user base as well.

But Iribe also says that the Oculus Rift would be restricted in pursuing these types of goals if it only focused on games, according to The Verge's report. He poses the question: "Do you want to build a platform that has a billion users on it, or only 10, 20, or 50 million?"

After the announced buyout of Oculus back in March, we debated precisely this point in our look at the pros and cons of Facebook's purchase. The social network currently enjoys a unique saturation throughout the world. This ubiquity could expose people to gaming experiences that they would not otherwise come into contact with if it wasn't for the attraction of a device such as the Rift.

If nothing else, the kind of hopeful speculation enjoyed by Iribe represents a turn away from the other Oculus news of the moment— fights with Zenimax over intellectual property .

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