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Rift is out soon, but Oculus' Luckey says the mainstream will take longer

Palmer Luckey sees massive mainstream potential for VR -- hence Facebook's interest -- but don't expect consumers to jump on the Rift early next year.
"Facebook is the company that has a lot of the infrastructure, the resources that we can use to build the metaverse in the long run. That is the type of social VR that we’re thinking about."

- Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey

People have been wondering why Facebook acquired Oculus VR, and while the company hasn't been shy about it, apparently founder Palmer Luckey is getting a bit frustrated. In a new interview with Re/code, he clearly spells out the company's ambitions.

The metaverse of the above quote, of course, is the global online VR realm as described in Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash. It's definitely not "News Feed in VR," which is what Re/code asked about -- but a much more elaborate undertaking.

Don't expect it anytime soon; Luckey echoes recent comments made by company Brendan Iribe that suggest mainstream VR is years away. The first version of the Rift, he said -- which will launch early next year, and which formally debuted this month -- is not a mainstream device.

However, it's a step on that road, Luckey says, which will lead to "the iPhone of VR" -- a breakthrough consumer product that popularizes the technology as Apple did smartphones, which had existed for years before they really took off.

"In these early days, probably for at least two years, VR is going to be primarily for gamers and enthusiasts that are willing to invest in high-end machines. VR is going to become something mainstream, but it’s not going to happen right away," Luckey tells Re/code.

"I’m the most optimistic guy about VR out there. I have crazy visions of what we’ll be doing in the future. But it’s not going to reach hundreds of millions of people in the next three years."

There's plenty more in the Q&A, including Luckey's thoughts on Google Cardboard and why the company felt the need to put out its recommended PC spec -- as well as more in-depth thoughts on what the social future of VR really is.

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