Oculus’ founder Palmer Luckey, who left the company in March, recently opened up on record for the first time in an interview since September 2016. Among a range of topics discussed, Luckey spoke of the timeline of future VR headsets from major hardware players.

Luckey was a long time tinkerer of head mounted displays prior to building the first Rift prototypes which lead to him founding Oculus and taking the Rift to Kickstarter in 2012 for what would become a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign. At the time he teamed up with Brendan Iribe who would fill the company’s CEO role, and, while Luckey didn’t hold any of the company’s executive positions, he was a key figure for the company externally and an important stakeholder internally where he held an engineer-like role as he oversaw the company’s growth and eventual acquisition by Facebook in 2014.

Luckey stuck with Oculus under Facebook for several years, but after the reveal of a polarizing political stance and a major lost lawsuit—brought by a company which Oculus was involved with in its early days—news broke that he had left the company in March.

Now outside of Oculus and Facebook, Luckey recently went on record in a series of interviews with Japanese VR publication MoguraVRwhich have been translated for Road to VR—during which, among other things, he spoke about his expectation for the future of VR hardware.

palmer luckey oculus rift price facebook
Palmer Luckey, Founder of Oculus, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy Oculus

Certainly unable to reveal the specifics of what Oculus and Facebook’s forward-looking plans are, Luckey spoke generally but did offer up his expected timeline for the next generation of VR headsets, something which VR early adopters are eagerly looking forward to. Despite last week’s introduction of new VR displays from Samsung suitable for the Rift and Vive, Luckey doesn’t expect that we’ll see the launch of major hardware revisions over the next 12 months from any of the high-end headset makers already in the market (that would include the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR):

[…] There will be no big movements in [the next 12 months*]. The hardware will not change. Of course there might be hardware from new companies entering the market, but the hardware of the major players in the market will stay the same.

In that way the next 12 months will be rather uninteresting for VR users that are just waiting for the next hardware generation. It is going to be the time of content and applications. But for VR developers and enthusiasts it will still be a very exciting 12 months. I think there also will be some announcements and new prototypes.

12 months from the time of this quote would push things out to May 2018 or so.

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Luckey doesn’t seem to be ruling out that we could see announcements of new hardware and maybe even a look at some prototypes within the next 12 months, but he doesn’t expect that any next-gen headsets will launch from the major players within that timeframe.

This roughly affirms what we’ve heard from other key figures in the VR space. Oculus’ own Brendan Iribe—the company’s CEO up until the end of 2016 (now head of Oculus’ PC VR team)—said back in March that the Rift is unlikely to be superseded by a new version for “at least the next two years,” putting his timeline for a next-gen Rift / Rift 2 well into 2019.

Similarly, HTC’s China Regional President of Vive, Alvin Wang Graylin, told us back in January that he expects next-gen headsets to come in one to three year cycles—more slowly than we’ve typically seen in the smartphone space where a hardware refreshes comes every 12 months or so.

Continued on Page 2: Why Wait? »

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • VRdeluxe

    The difference between the Samsungs new VR displays are like night and day. Racing sims and space games like Elite Dangerous are going to be insane!

    • Tyler Moore

      Even just productivity applications, text will be so much more readable.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Are you a paid PR account?

      • elev8d

        I mean, what he said isn’t really debatable. The screen door on the current displays is very visible and experience inhibiting. The new Samsung panels will double the resolution horizontally and vertically making the screen door effect a non-issue.

  • Yosarin Blake

    Can someone PLEASE tell why, if Google Seurat can make high quality PC
    graphics available on a mobile device, it could not ALSO make 4K super
    graphics for Samsung’s new ultra definition headset available on a mid range

    • polysix

      answered you on another page, seurat isn’t *fully* interactive like real software, it’s like a cheap parlour trick. No thanks, not for my VR. It has its uses, sure, and can make things look pretty, sure, but I don’t turn to VR to get limited interaction and would hate for that to become the norm “super high res/high poly pretty over dynamic/in depth interaction and empowerment”. Sewer rat is just a fancy version of 360 photo with bells and whistles when it comes down to it. We have enough ‘stand here and wave shoot’ or ‘stand here and interact only in this area’ crud on VR already, SR would only encourage MORE of that.

      It may have uses in VR movies but for proper gaming? pass.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Who the heck said they couldn’t?

  • polysix

    VR is not mobile phones, or consoles… people are VERY hungry for a fully decent HMD/VR system and will pay the first company (other than facebook yuck) to come out with it for PC (wireless, foveated, these new screens etc). Vive was cool but super flawed (sold mine) PSVR is fun but janky (sold mine) and rift has so many issues (visual and otherwise) that it’s a non starter for many (preferred my dk2 to the cv1!).

    With tech that is improving this rapidly with MUCH NEEDED tech it needs to get to market much quicker than other forms of tech that are slim improvements over their last gens, VR isn’t even really at the starting point of acceptable for 99% of people yet (inc many VR hardcore users) so playing the trickle/waiting game will only backfire for those companies that decide to wait.

    We have the tech NOW to do wireless, foveated, higher res screen in a decent ergonomic design (more PSVR less Vive) with good tracking (lighthouse), if LG capitalise on that and change their prototype spec to include all the above they will make a killing and leave Vive and rift in the dirt. Microsoft too if they don’t stop messing around with low end VR HMDs.

    • Raphael

      What are u crapping on about eh? Did you graduate from the school of VR cliche rhetoric? You preferred your DK2 to CV1? We have the tech NOW for wireless, foveated blah blah. So you’re one of these morons who claims the good technology is deliberately being held back from you.

      “Microsoft too if they don’t stop messing around with low end VR HMDs.” << Everything is very simple and clear-cut in your largely empty head. Meanwhile in the real world…

      • traschcanman

        “To Bavor, the populist approach is all part of a deliberate process — and a necessary one, because even the higher level of VR that comes from more immersive headsets has not yet reached the price-performance standard that would satisfy many millions of consumers. “Could we have built the mother of all headsets that cost $2,000 and was amazing?” he asks. “Of course. We have those in the lab, but it didn’t make sense to try and push the product.” “

      • Lucidfeuer

        Meanwhile in the real world, people have actually worked for companies, do work in digital and VR agencies, but some who don’t still happen to be rational and smart unlike some hypocritical kool aid drinker who would defend Monsanto’s agent orange in their sodas if the media told them to.

        • Raphael

          You seem to like that drink. I recall you’ve mentioned it before thus it has to be a product you’re advertising. Don’t have it in my country but given that i don’t drink any processed chemical shit then i wouldn’t be touching your promoted product.

          You seem dumber than usual…. Too much fizzy processed shit?

          • Lucidfeuer

            My bad, I drank too much quinoa soy latte.

          • Raphael

            Let that be a lesson for all of us. quin soy latte does sound like an improvement over the fizzy stuff though.

    • Lucidfeuer

      I’m glad to see there are other sane people.

      I agree minus foveated rendering: there’s no point in this for now, although eye-tracking is however a starting necessity for VR.

  • “but after the reveal of a polarizing political stance”

    That’s right. Either agree with the censors or they will say you adopted a “polarizing” stance. What’s polarizing? Palmer Luckey didn’t support Hillary Clinton and was apparently leaning toward Trump. For that, he apparently gets blacklisted.

    • Raphael

      Not quite. You’ve understated it to suit your own agenda. It was the meme funding and the group behind the meme funding that pissed people off.

      • Mexor

        You contested what he said and then essentially said the same thing as he did.

        What is wrong with “meme funding” and what was wrong with the “group behind the meme funding” other than the fact that they supported the wrong candidate? And please don’t answer the question by calling them names.

        • Raphael

          This is old news. Move on flappy. You arrived too late.

          • Mexor

            Then why did you reply?

          • Raphael

            To remind you to start planning ahead for Christmas.

          • Mexor

            OK, I’ll remind you that you have no answer but yet still want to push back, which is exactly the same thing you did a month ago when you replied to GregJustice.

            Merry Christmas.

          • Raphael

            There is no justice. Merry Christmas.

  • I guess that we’ll see announcements in the next 12 months… we’ve seeing new stuff every month, it would be strange not to hear anything for a year.

  • zflorence1

    My predictions are for a reveal of CV2 either summer or fall of 2018 with a launch spring of 2019. I agree with the articles view that just updating the FOV or resolution is not going to amount to much in terms of market value. Essentially the new hardware justification lies with integrated eye tracking which would allow for new rendering techniques, new user input cases, and software based digital variable focus (I don’t expect hardware based variable focus till generation 3) along with other enhancements. Eye tracking could even digitally expand the FOV compensating for eye rotation. See this for use cases already in action: https://tobiigaming.com/discover/

  • Sponge Bob

    does it mean that all those all-in-one HMD prototypes advertised on this blog (from the likes of Quallcom and msoft) are worthless shit not capable of competing with “major” players so the market will have to wait for another year or two ???

  • towblerone

    Dammit. I may have to end up getting a gen-1 Vive along with all the add-ons like wireless, new head strap, eye tracking, .etc, rather than wait until late 2018 for gen-2.

  • Michel Vilain

    Oculus and Vive Gen2 HMDs will allow developers to create experiences that can’t run on the Gen1 HMDs. That’s basically what the Gen2 devices will mean.
    If so, then yes, I also see a Gen2 product only next year, although it’s a guess what the Gen2 will bring to the table even though we can hazard a guess. Well, actually several guesses: resolution, foveated, inside-out tracking, wireless,… some of the guesses will even be correct. :-)
    Having said that, I do see several ‘iterations’ of Gen1 before that time ie make them cheaper, lighter, go for the visor setup,… These things are happening right now, like the lighter Vive, cheaper Rift, better/simpler lighthouse. It’s not as if the Gen1 devices are frozen in time. As long as there is full backward compatibility, lots of improvements can be made through point-releases or add-ons without throwing the early adaptors to the lions.
    As for new Rift/Vive-like devices entering the market, they will probably have a though time breaking into the scene, main reason being lack of an ecosystem. (But who knows, maybe Microsoft’s VR/AR could pull it off) The stand-alone HTC Daydream devices, falling somewhere between mobile and desktop experiences but with some of the pro’s of Gen2 like inside-out and wireless (well, self-contained even), might shake things up a bit too. Interesting times. I’m happy to wait for better times while playing with my Gear VR. (never having used Rift or Vive, Gear VR does look pretty nice.)

  • Nimblerichman

    Oculus wasn’t the end of VR for Palmer. He is going to make a big comeback in the near future and his next VR startup will be better than Oculus. In fact I’m sure he’s working on it already!