Oculus VR are, arguably, the most exciting company in the tech industry right now. In the 12 months since I last met Palmer Luckey (Founder) and Nate Mitchell (VP of Product) at Gamescom, their business has exploded. Facebook’s acquisition has catapulted them even further into the public eye and given them the resources to change the world by introducing what they believe to be the last platform, virtual reality. I got a chance to sit down with the dynamic duo at Gamescom 2014 to reflect on a brutal and exhilarating year.

Honest, Open, and Down to Earth

Whilst there’s no doubt that, as Oculus VR’s fortunes soar and the company move closer and closer to that hallowed Oculus Rift consumer release, the company’s most ubiquitous representatives, Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell, have had to become more guarded with their answers to searching questions, though we appreciate that, wherever possible, they’re open and honest.

What’s more, despite what must often be a grueling and tedious task, ploughing through an endless series of press meetings, every time I’ve met them they’ve remained cheery, welcoming and always brimming with enthusiasm for their company’s platform, virtual reality.

And I doubt you’d find many companies of Oculus’ stature that are still so generous with their time, especially when meeting with small, independent sites like Road to VR. They were gracious enough to allow me to ramble on for a good 20 mins before I finally ran out of questions before letting me loose on their latest demos.

Oculus Connect and the DK2 Launch

Oculus have made it clear that they are, having conquered the first wave of challenges confronting them with the Oculus Rift (they’ve stated candidly that the consumer version is a known quantity now), they’re laser-focussed on content. This year they’ve gone public with their plans to self or co-publish dedicated VR titles for the PC platform (Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie, for example), they’ve gone all out at the recent GDC conferences by speaking at length to developers about the challenges of VR and recently they announced their inaugural developer-centric event, Oculus Connect.

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Oculus Connect kicks off next month and I was keen to find out more. The event will be “extremely developer oriented,” as Mitchell put it, and will start off with some headlining keynotes and include networking with Oculus employees and other developers. “There are very few [Connect invites] that have not been rolled out yet,” Luckey said.

Elsewhere, Nate seemed resigned to the fact that the otherwise incredibly efficient and successful DK2 shipping was marred a little by the state of the Oculus SDK. As he says though, all they want is to get the hardware into developer’s hands as soon as possible and, despite any bitching which may come from some parts of the VR community, shipping 20,000 DK2 from 60,000 pre-orders in less than a month is a mighty achievement.

Many thanks to Palmer and Nate for their time and we’ll keep you up to date on further Oculus Connect news as we find it.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • WormSlayer

    Good interview! Palmer does look really tired though, was it first thing in the morning? XD

  • sponge101

    Great interview — straight to the point. 20 buck says CV1 will be announced at Connect.

    • Paul James

      Thanks. I’ll not take you up on that bet, but it does feel like we’re getting closer to finding our more of this long awaited holy grail of VR. Exciting times!

  • Curtrock

    As usual, R2VR is getting it right from the horse’s mouth. Although I don’t live in So-Cal, R2VR extends the sense of community among Rifters! Big thanks, from Toronto, Canada.

    • Paul James

      Thanks man. As someone who’s even further away in the UK, I’m glad our efforts are effective.

  • Paulo Cunha

    Man, I just really love how those guys and their team are insanely and passionately working on this technology. Really… when I perceive little bugs, problems and whatnot on my DK2 I simply don’t worry, cause I know the amount of effort everybody in the community is putting on to make this thing real.
    So, keep bringing the VR to life!!

    PS: (just to whine a bit: higher FOV PLEASEEE, cause I don’t wanna keep calling my Rift “Virtual Diving Mask”, thanks :D)