Palmer Luckey, the innovator of Oculus Rift, is a heavy believer in the power of virtual reality to reshape reality as we know it, but this might be ill news for Facebook.
At the Microsoft's Spring Xbox Showcase, Luckey presented the upcoming Oculus version of the immensely popular game Minecraft. He notes that 2016 is crucial, as it is the first year when a myriad of companies will roll out and sell VR gadgets.
However, the popularity of the devices need some time to gain lift.
"I don't think 2016 is necessarily 'the' year of virtual reality," Luckey notes.
In 2014, Facebook bought Oculus Rift for a solid $2 billion, which surprised those who saw in Oculus only a gaming peripheral. Meanwhile, Luckey knew that bigger plans were in store for his invention. He points out that VR bridges the real world with "parallel digital worlds" where people will be able to live, work, play and communicate.
In Luckey's eyes, VR has the potential to add something essential to digital communication, apart from efficiency and utility: human touch. Combining the high-end means of real world communication and premium digital communication is the biggest bet that VR has on, at the moment.
This positioning strongly reminds of Mark Zuckerberg's hints from the MWC 2016. There, the Facebook founder touted that VR will let people share and experience full scenes, in person.
"[VR users] will be able to sit in front of a campfire and hang out with friends anytime you want," Zuckerberg said.
Luckey feels that VR's potential will shine during immersive experiences that can keep you hooked longer than the fast-scrolling, instantaneous Facebook browsing. He notes that the increasingly popular 360-degree films will have a big role in this scenario.
"You're not going to see someone's VR status update and process it in half a second and keep scrolling," he says.
Luckey believes that the 360-degree recordings and VR playback will take people closer to capturing and experiencing an actual event from afar. He goes on to add that journalism will gain a major edge, as events will be captured from all angles as they unfold.
When asked how this new paradigm will align itself with the current form of Facebook, Luckey is straightforward.
"Virtual reality will be social, but it'll be on totally new platforms built from the ground up that really push VR, not necessarily applications we have today," he points out.
Luckey explains why he thinks that we are not yet ready for full-scale VR deployment. For one thing, the Oculus Rift will cost $699 when it launches in April, making it quite an investment. Secondly, the PC rig necessary to optimally run VR apps and content is rather expensive, as well.
"The biggest obstacle for PC virtual reality isn't the cost of the headset, it's the cost of the PC," he says.
His solution: convince customers to heavily invest in PC specs or wait a number of years until the workstations catch up with Oculus' demands.
Luckey states that his company has all preorders filled until July, which can only mean one thing.
"We made the right decision," he says.