Oculus VR, creators of the Oculus Rift, have recruited another industry veteran to the team, adding former senior VP David De Martini from EA to the roster as head of worldwide distribution, the company announced via the Oculus Blog today.
De Martini spent the last 15 years over at industry mega giant Electronic Arts, where he dabbled in such avenues as EA Origin, the EA Partner program, and EA's Redwood Shores studio. De Martini spoke with GamesIndustry International, revealing that he hadn't initially thought about returning to the industry so quickly, or at all after his split with EA a few months ago. De Martini said of Oculus, and the future potential,
"I was ready to potentially retire to the golf course, and this was just so ground-breaking that it took me out of playing golf three days a week,
De Martini continued speaking with GamesIndustry International, describing his initial reaction to the Oculus, "within about 30 seconds, I was sold not only on the potential of this device, but what this device actually can do,"
One big question mark for the Oculus has been the developer on-boarding, and De Martini seems confident that in addition to huge names like Valve, Epic Games, CCP, and Unity, end users can expect a bevy of support from large publishers as well,
I think you're going to see the EAs of the world, the Activisions of the world, along with all the other independent developers jumping on board.
The Oculus team has been making headlines of late in the way of staff acquisitions with the addition of John Carmack full time from Id, but also as the idea of adding in Xbox One and PS4 support becomes more of a possibility. Oculus vice president of product Nate Mitchell, said that while there is a huge PC base at Oculus, there is also a huge console base, and that we shouldn't rule out Oculus on consoles just yet.
The hurdle Oculus faces with consoles is a very valid concern, and one that CEO Palmer Luckey has been quoted as stating that consoles are "too limited" for what Oculus is trying to do. Luckey brings out a very valid point, one that Mitchell also agrees with, that consoles are essentially locked in to the hardware at the beginning of the cycle.
While Oculus has yet to claim any install base whatsoever, the company is doing a phenomonal job of staying relevant and on the tip of the tongue of all in the gaming world regarding upcoming exciting turns for the industry. De Martini certainly has his head screwed on straight with the perception of VR in gaming, and as the GamesIndustry article states, "He likens the difference between the VR of yesterday and today to the difference between mobile phone 15 years ago and now."
In a somewhat shocking remark, De Martini also is quoted as saying that gamers don't care about visual fidelity anymore,
People are so tired of the last 15 years of the game industry, hearing about 'greater visual fidelity, no one cares about greater visual fidelity anymore. It's already good enough. We don't need things to look even better; we need the experience to fundamentally change, and the Oculus platform is a fundamental change to how people will experience games.
While time will tell the fate of the Oculus and the statement that gamers don't care about visual fidelity, it remains to be seen how the Rift will fare as an experience driver. Only time will tell if the hardware be treated as a transcendental experience; or more like the motion controllers of last generation that, while novel, provided limited realistic and continued use for many gamers.