Speaking on a panel at the online GDC Showcase today, Facebook’s VP of Play, Jason Rubin, and Facebook Reality Labs’ VP of Content, Mike Verdu, furthered the company’s bullish outlook on Quest. The duo claimed that the platform is very near to being a sustainable developer ecosystem, and that the data shows a clear trajectory in which VR will eventually reach ‘AAA’ scale.

While Jason Rubin now focuses primarily on Facebook’s cloud-gaming gaming ecosystem, he originally joined Facebook as an employee of Oculus when it was acquired by the company in 2014. He played a key role in those early days as the company’s VP of Content, a position now held by Mike Verdu, who joined Rubin in a discussion today moderated by VentureBeat journalist Dean Takahashi.

Takahashi asked the pair to offer up a ‘progress report” on the Oculus VR ecosystem. While the duo didn’t reveal and new figures in the discussion, they pointed to the news that Facebook shared in February—that more than 60 Quest apps had exceeded $1 million in revenue—and doubled down on their belief that VR is seeing an inflection point that will eventually reach a scale that can support big-budget ‘AAA’ VR experiences.

Facebook VP of Play, Jason Rubin |Image courtesy GDC Showcase

“It’s amazing. I remember the first time [an Oculus] title passed $1 million in gross [revenue], and the team celebrated because it was such a milestone. […] that’s probably [just] between four and five years ago, somewhere in that range—and here we are with so many [Quest] titles now passing $10 million [revenue],” Rubin said. “And you see the trajectory. It’s just going to keep going. So, the naysayers that said ‘it wouldn’t work’ and then said ‘it would only work for a handful of titles’, and are now saying ‘yes, but that isn’t AAA’… the trajectory of the path is clear: we’re going to get there.”

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Mike Verdu, Facebook Reality Labs’ VP of Content, also reflected on the growth of developer revenue on Quest, claiming that—five years since the launch of the first consumer Rift headset—the Quest platform is finally on the cusp of being a self-sustaining ecosystem for VR developers.

Facebook Reality Labs VP of Content, Mike Verdu | Image courtesy GDC Showcase

“It’s such a recent development that VR has become a real business. I remember in my talk at Oculus Connect 6 in 2019, we were starting to see the glimmers of developer success, and VR did finally seem like it was becoming viable for developers at scale. That momentum increased during 2020, and at Facebook Connect last year we celebrated a whole bunch more milestones of developer success,” said Verdu. “Now after a strong Quest 2 launch, we’re seeing even more acceleration. It seems sustainable, it seems to be a trend that we can put weight on… the momentum is increasing. I actually say: pick your metaphor; ‘the flywheel is spinning faster’, ‘the rocket ship is near escape velocity’… any way you want to say it, we’re getting close to a self-sustaining ecosystem, and that’s pretty cool.”

During the discussion, Verdu said that the “vast majority” of Quest users are new to VR, rather than experienced VR players upgrading from existing headsets. Thanks to the company’s decision to curate content in the Quest store, Verdu claims, Quest users are buying more apps than on previous Oculus headsets.

He also talked about what kinds of games are performing well on Quest, saying that social and multiplayer experiences are among the most engaging on the platform.

“[Social VR] is expanding to the point where some of the apps with the most time spent on [Quest] are social. And what’s the face of the social revolution? It’s Beat Saber multiplayer; it’s Onward, which is a team-based first-person shooter; it’s Population: One, which brings battle royale to VR; it’s Echo VR, which feels sort of like Enders Game on Quest; it’s Rec Room, it’s VRChat.”

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Part of the reason why these multiplayer and social VR experiences are succeeding, Verdu said, is because they’re a way for people to connect with friends as much as they are a way for people to play games.

“I’m finally seeing something in VR that I’ve been waiting to see for a while and it’s really exciting, […] that people are scheduling time to be together in VR, to meet each other at a time and a virtual place. So maybe they can jump into a game on the same team, or share time together in an app like Rec Room. But it’s clear they want to connect, they want to play together, they want to share an experience,” said Verdu. “And that’s a profound development for our medium. So I’m very excited to see that continue and I do think that it’s the future… and I think that VR is inherently social.”

– – — – –

While that’s all good news for developers lucky enough to be on Quest right now, it’s clear that Facebook has basically turned its back on Oculus PC. With review counts on the company’s PC platform easily eclipsed by Quest, Facebook seems content to leave the PC VR marketplace in the hands of Valve and others, while it pursues the low-cost standalone segment. Unfortunately, many developers who placed early bets on Oculus PC weren’t able to survive long enough to transition to Quest. So while Quest may look like an inflection point for those who made it, it also feels like something of a ‘reset’ for the industry more broadly.

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Fortunately, Quest 2’s traction also looks to be having positive benefits for the PC VR segment too, with so many users connecting their headset to play PC VR games that Quest 2 recently became the most used VR headset on Steam, and a key driver of growth in VR usership on the platform.

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  • jimmy

    That is awesome fuck I love my quest !

  • Kevin White

    “…I think that VR is inherently social…”

    Well, it can be. Not a fan of FB’s strictures, but this is at least a more enlightened view than the Microsoft guy poo-pooing VR for being inherently isolating.

    Fact is, it can be both, and I have and do enjoy both in VR.

    • johann jensson

      Good, because i use VR to get away from people. Facebook trying to force their “social” cr@p into everything and make it obligatory is the wrong direction IMO.

      • Kevin White

        Understood. Yah I think my problem with the Microsoft guy I mentioned is actually the idea that because VR can be isolating, that that is inherently a *bad* thing. I love VR’s power to put me in my own personal universe.

        • OdinTheOdious

          The Microsoft guy is just saying the thing that a team of folks came up with to provide a reason why Microsoft aren’t going big on VR like Sony are.

          It’s meaningless and irrelevant just like Microsoft have made themselves in the VR world.

      • Wild Dog

        Get ready to have Farmville VR personally shoved down your throat. x)

    • Pulstar44

      And the thing that Microsoft forgets is that there’s plenty of single player successful non-vr games. Not every game has to be social.

  • Graham J ⭐️

    The Quest is good but everyone hates Facebook. People use it despite Facebook. It’s just a matter of time before there’s a standalone competitor and everyone jumps ship.

    • “Content is King… Delivery is King” (Sumner Redstone of Viacom famously said).

      Facebook has both elements in place, momentum is building as the network effect pulls more consumers and developers into quest ecosystem.

      Catching the lead that Facebook already has, and creating a viable standalone competitor, would take the focused efforts and substantial expenditure of big tech rival i.e. Google or Microsoft. And we know how that worked out…

      Building the hardware is arguably easier than building a sustainable ecosystem.

      • Graham J ⭐️

        I agree the hardware isn’t the big issue; once it exists the effort will be in ensuring a revenue stream and convincing devs to port to it.

        I didn’t say it will be easy, only that it will happen ;)

      • sfmike

        And we have seen Google and Microsoft have both thrown in the towel because they did not see a billion in profit within a couple quarters that their investors demand. VR enthusiasts should be a little more grateful that Facebook is looking to the long instead of short term otherwise VR would be a dying niche right now.

      • Arturis Dentalis

        I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m not too fussed about the Oculus ecosystem. I think most of the games are overpriced for what they are, and the sales are pretty crap compared to other stores.
        Most of my VR games are on Steam, and I’d gladly jump ship to a competitor who offers something similar to the Quest (chiefly a wireless connection to PC) without the FB baggage.

    • shadow9d9

      Except Facebook is the only one currently funding content with the exception of maybe Sony. So you miss out on everything that comes out of 500 million in funding.

      • mirak

        This is what they want since what they do is not compatible with non Oculus headsets, and people are doing fine without.

        I am playing 99% in VR since 5 years, and never spent a dime for Oculus

        • Carolyn Wilson

          Get $192 per h from Google~a1256~ Yes this can be best since I simply got my initial payroll check of $24413 and this was just of a one week…I have aslo purchased my good BMW M5 right after this payment…~a1256~ it is really best job I have even had and you will not for~give yourself if you do not check it >>>> https://zilo.app/ijQpj ❤.❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

      • Graham J ⭐️

        FOMO of what’s inside the walled garden is not a good reason to stay in the walled garden. FB is pumping money into its garden to keep people there, it’s not helping the wider VR market.

      • Ian Mack

        …. Or Valve? maybe even microsoft if you count flightsim?
        Half-life Alyx IS the only AAA vr(exclusive) game(sony has some great titles, but they aren’t AAA blockbuster games. That may change with psvr 2 though).

        Quest is not capable of AAA. And I think this guy is confused. AAA “STUDIOS” will definitely be more interested in developing for quest, and maybe future quests(like quest 6, maybe 8?) will be capable of AAA games, but at the moment, psvr on a ps4 is far more capable of something approaching AAA than quest is without a link cable, and I don’t see oculus making stuff that requires link and a decent pc unless it becomes very necessary.

        • powervr

          I am playing all the non quest titles without any problem with quest 2 … And without wires .. just an good pc and you are set… I am playing the valve AAA title… And medal of honor… So… That is not true … If you have an good pc. Of course.

      • Amni3D

        What content did Facebook fund for Quest that’s worth talking about? Most of it is hollywood licensed 30 minute VR experiences. The exact same thing Vive users hated in 2016.

        I’m jumping ship soon enough.

        • I agree, all the triple A games from Oculus seem to be lack-luster atm, the best games on Oculus are either ones made by studios they own (such as Echo VR and Beat Saber) or indie titles that they had nothing to do with. Even Robo Recall, one of the launch titles for the Rift, was seen as a great game game-play wise but criticized for it’s short length and limited replayability without mods. Same goes for Stormland, one of the recent AAA’s that was criticized for it’s short length and limited replayability.

        • Wild Dog

          None of this would have happened if software exclusivity was just regulated / illegal.

    • HindsiteGenius

      There probably won’t be a standalone competitor anytime soon. It’s not profitable now and may not ever be in the future. But these headsets are only stopgaps. The end goal is not a wearable game console but xtended reality platforms that everyone in the world is attached to in some way shape or form. These headsets are testbeds for software and interfaces that includes but is not at all limited to games. Big tech has huge stakes in this XR future and Facebooks current VR hardware approach is only one possible avenue of many.

      • g-man

        FB claims the Quest is not a loss leader so it should be possible to compete profitably at a slightly higher price point. Even another $100 could sway the market with the right features, ecosystem and lack of FB lock-in. And that’s still much cheaper than many wired alternatives.

        I agree VR headsets as they are today are stopgaps but they will be that way for a very long time. A llightweight AR-style device that can also block out the world is over a decade away.

        VR will be around for a very long time because there are many use cases that are better with the world blocked out. And as you say, not just games. There’s plenty of runway for a standalone competitor.

    • jimmy

      no you fucking moron not everyone hate facebook there is 2.8billion people every month on facebok and 90% of them realy like it, get your head out of your ass

  • oomph

    Any device with FB account is nono

    • TechPassion

      When you pay for 1st game in Oculus Store, they still know who you are. They know anyway, as they have your IP. Dude, wake up.

      • James Cobalt

        They also have your name, credit card, address…

    • MR M

      You all have an ip address, cell phones, instagram,
      snapcrap, tic toc, a pc running windows or a PS5/Xbox X bla bla bla.
      Spotify, Apple everything, google everything, you pay with a credit card with your details in the bill?!?!. It is an extensive list
      that I guarantee you have agreed to the terms of service for. Which is
      no different than the terms you agreed with FB. Its just stupid to
      assume that who ever comes out with a competing device that can be
      priced for the masses will have no terms of service that wont be very
      similar. Honestly I feel like everyone is so fucking butt hurt over a
      big company like facebook doing well with their investment into their
      precious VR Space. I got news for you, they are not going away and
      the amount of money they are pumping into this venture, it will be good
      for the industry. Keep them in check and speak your mind to keep them
      honest, but come up with some actual facts supporting why they suck
      instead of “cause FB”

      • oof

        Your argument is a logical fallacy. It would be like someone suggesting cookies are bad for your health and you arguing that you it’s okay to eat cookies because you already ate cake for breakfast. It’s not unreasonable to question the intentions or practices of Facebook. Facebook has a unique set of information on the user and if you don’t hold a healthy level of skepticism about the ethical use of this data, you aren’t informed enough on the subject.

        Regardless, if anyone is uncomfortable with Facebook’s service (or involvement in the VR space), they have the right to express that. Based on your emotional response, you’re the only one “butt hurt” so far in this conversation.

    • jimmy

      loser

  • 3872Orcs

    I wish I could be excited about this but I just can’t.. because of Facebook. But I see no one else making a good competing standalone VR system. So should I just give up and leave my principles at the door and get a Quest 2? At least this is growing the VR industry and making part of my VR dream come true.

    I also have to say a big fuck you to Google for quitting VR and cancelling any further development of the Daydream, they had it all going for them. They could have been the competition we’re lacking now.

    • Cragheart

      You think Google is better? They’ve spied on Chrome users in Incognito Mode for years.

    • johann jensson

      Bying Q2 from FB doesn’t make them any money, only bying their games does (and some of the data they collect, allegedly).

      Personally, i use my Q2 only for DrBeef ports and VorpX games. Native PCVR is still too boring IMO.

    • MR M

      what principles, You all have an ip address, cell phones, instagram, snapcrap, tic toc, a pc running windows or a PS5/Xbox X bla bla bla. Spotify, Apple everything, google everything. It is an extensive list that I guarantee you have agreed to the terms of service for. Which is no different than the terms you agreed with FB. Its just stupid to assume that who ever comes out with a competing device that can be priced for the masses will have no terms of service that wont be very similar. Honestly I feel like everyone is so fucking butt hurt over a big company like facebook doing well with their investment into their precious VR Space. I got news for you, they are not going away and the amount of money they are pumping into this venture, it will be good for the industry. Keep them in check and speak your mind to keep them honest, but come up with some actual facts supporting why they suck instead of “cause FB”

    • jimmy

      if you are agaisnt oculus succeeding then you are not pro vr you just a sheep who believe the bs

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Mobile VR needs a minimum performance of PS4 for AAA games. PSVR had RE7 4 years ago, now there’s countless amount of AAA on that platform. Storage space is also very important, AAA games are huge – you need a minimum of 500gb.

    • Cragheart

      I would say more like PS5 specs than PS4. PS4 is a potato, especially in CPU. And 64 GB of storage is laughable. I had 300 GB in 2004.

  • Gonzax

    Good news but I hope not every game in the future will become social and multiplayer. My main reason for VR is not social but to be able to travel to other worlds, be in a different place, feel myself part of a story. I want single player games like that but the trend seems to be very different.
    No surprise we haven’t seen Lone Echo 2 yet when all people want is to play Echo VR.

    • johann jensson

      Not all. I find MP games boring as hell. Once you’ve seen the map, you’re done. And then? No story, no character interaction, no exploration, just grind. No, thank you. []-)

      • antonio mora

        same

      • Jonathan Winters III

        +1

  • Amni3D

    The same way Unity were saying “the year of AAA for Unity is here” while not funding a single AAA game, and letting System Shock 3 cancel due to a lack of budget.

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Totius

    This mobile Vr sh..t.. aff.. How many year will I have to wait until somebody will develope some decent AAA VR game (Alyx and Lone Echo are almost AAA for my taste). Rockstar do something please

    • Andrew Jakobs

      When GPU’s are powerful enough to provide the graphics as you expect it to be in 4K per eye @ 90-120hz for mainstream.. Hell even 2K per eye @ 90-120hz, So it will still take a couple of years.

      • Totius

        I do not understand your point. Why PC VR gaming has to be penalized by the existence of Quest?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          It isn’t being penalized, even PCVR doesn’t have the mainstream GPU power, only a very small group of people have a GPU capable enough to drive the HP G2 (or even the Index) at full speed with the AAA graphics you want.

          • Totius

            And who said that to enjoy a AAA PC VR Game you need to push a zillion pixels per second? Have you tried Alyx or Lone Echo? They looks graphically great and that with a super modest GTX 1060 that should cost probably 50 dollars today

          • Andrew Jakobs

            You’re funny, even a GTX 1050 Ti is still at least 170 euro’s, and those have a very hard time driving a G2 with Alyx on good settings.

          • Totius

            Sure.. people can expect 1000 K per eye, why not, but this has nothing to do with the fact that pushing for mobile VR should not interfere with AAA PC VR games. The actual tech is very capable of AAA production, the problem is that software houses are not producing them, and that is because unfortunately is more lucrative to go for Mobile apps. This is a trend also with non VR gaming. Look, I bought my laptop when Oculus Cv 1 came out, back in 2016, I bought an Asus laptop with a gtx 1070 for 1500 euros. Alyx runs totally smooth. The problem is not the video power, if you are tethered. It would certainly be cool have 16k per eye, but is way not necessary.

          • Andrew Jakobs

            CV1 or HP G2 or two completely different leagues, because Alyx runs just fine on your 1070 laptop, but i doubt it’s set to the highest settings AND it’s at a much lower resolution as the G2.
            We’re not talking 16k per eye (which would be ridiculous, even 8K per eye is overkill). The trend is to supply games that will run on mainstream computers as that’s the largest audience. Even for PC the current highend GPU’s struggle to maintain a decend 90+fps with everything on at a resolution like the G2 let alone anything higher.
            The AAA games will come or are already there, yes there is also a lot of crap out there, but also excellent looking VR games. Content creation gets easier with engines like the Unreal Engine and look better with the inclusing of stuff like Quickel megascans content, let alone once the UnrealEngine 5 hits the streets by the end of the year.
            But to be honest, I really enjoy playing games like Abode/conductor with it’s simplistic graphics, I very much like the stylized look of VR games, in a lot of cases even better than so called realistic games (as I don’t think ultra realistic looking games is something I would enjoy).

  • Yes, I agree that they are on the right track. They have invested billions to arrive at this point…

  • Stu Woody

    You know all this hoohah about being forced to get a Facebook account to access Oculus. Not unlike creating a Microsoft account to enable Windows10. Surely for those FB haters you just make a dammed account, note the password you make, never ever go to facebook.com, never add a friend and simply enjoy VR alone as many people do. I love VR, I am a huge fan of FS2020 but will be happy never interacting with a random for as long as I live. The calamity about being dragged into Facebook is all a little overly dramatic don’t you think ? Facebook own a great VR device that appears to have a solid R&D budget and probably won’t be a brand that shock-horror in a few years gets abandoned. Worth the 120 seconds it takes to create a No-Friends Facebook presence. And as for having Social Engagement shoved down our throats. I agree, but the term I’d use is Multiplayer Gaming. I love GTA, I don’t love multiplayer. I hope software developers realise that if your not a kid you probably don’t like screaming along with your 200 school mates into a headset. You probably prefer to escape from 200 screaming customers and spend a few hours in your own head. Anyway, back to 200 screaming customers.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Also, you can set everything to private and turn as much as possible off in your account.

    • Pulstar44

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Anonmon

      Without reading the rest,
      “Not unlike creating a Microsoft account to enable Windows10.”
      Factually false. Microsoft HIGHLY ENCOURAGES you make one during the install process, but if you continue to tell it to screw off, you can install W10 without any accounts just fine. You may or may not have to avoid connecting it to the internet during the install for this, I don’t recall, it’s been a while. But I can confirm I’m responding on a account-less install perfectly fine.

      After reading the rest,
      While the points you’re knocking aren’t “a little overly dramatic” at all, there’s a more immediate problem with hardware being tied to a social media account: It’s a social media account. As in FB can, will, and has just straight blocked and removed accounts it doesn’t like for one reason or another. Which also means no ability to create another one with anything remotely close to the same credentials, which will also get it banned/removed for “Not being genuine information”. It’s whatever when it’s just a social media account, but when it’s a ever looming possibility that you get your hardware effectively bricked and any purchases wiped because someone at FB didn’t like the look of the account, you’re telling me that’s “a little overly dramatic”?

    • g-man

      Windows doesn’t require a Microsoft account. Facebook has shadow profiles for almost everyone, even if they don’t have a FB account. They buy things like credit card data and profile people even without an account. As soon as you create an account that shadow profile becomes real. It’s not just about having an account or not.

  • JB1968

    I don’t think they can talk about AAA content on mobile grade VR headset :-) It’s like Ford pretending their cars are in Ferrari class.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, but Ferrarri isn’t anything special, IMHO, a lot of money for a crappy car.

      • Jonathan Winters III

        Tell that to Tom Selleck. ;)

      • JB1968

        Well, most of AAA games are crap made for a lot of money (to make even more money) as well so that IMHO fits.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    AAA games indeed – Assassin’s Creed VR and Splinter Cell VR are being developed right now.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Hopefully they include the App Lab on the Quest storefront, because right now all those App Lab games are hidden unless you search for them by name.

    • romannepinsk

      And even after you search for the app (using the exact title name, no typos allowed, no keyword or categories search) you need to click on another “View app” button (while you are presented with competing official titles), then confirm “Warning: Apps from App Lab haven’t gone through the full Oculus review process” (duh). It wouldn’t surprise me if many users will be unable to find and install the game after all. :/

  • Mrfox Babbit

    Yes AAA games… pretty standard evolution, hardly a revelation. Wake me up when we get there.