Facebook exec admits people will ‘have to be a little patient’ before virtual reality is ‘incredible’

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer at Facebook F8
Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer Facebook

While you get ready for the Q1 2016 launch of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, Facebook is already preparing for the second- and third- generation versions.

In a Q&A with Geekwire, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer talked about how the futuristic virtual reality offered by the Oculus Rift may take a long while to deliver on its promise.

“The trick with VR is, it’s going to be incredible, but everyone is going to have to be a little patient. I think everyone wants it today, including me, but we have a long roadmap for this,” Schroepfer said.

That roadmap includes improving the hardware, hence the need for new versions of the headset before the first consumer version has even shipped. Improvements with the hardware will come alongside better virtual reality games and apps.

“It’s going to be amazing, but it’s just going to take a while for the hardware to get out there, and then to work with third-party developers to build all the experiences, because that’s going to be the real long pull,” Schroepfer said.

Facebook itself will let you share 3D immersive video on the social network and view it with the Oculus Rift headset, a basic integration that was announced at this year’s F8 conference. But he also indicates in this interview that there are “deeper integrations you’ll see over time.”

As for augmented reality, as with the Microsoft HoloLens holographic wearable computer, Schroepfer says that it’s definitely something that Facebook is aware of, but “VR is ready for the mainstream by end of this year, early next year” and augmented reality needs further development before it gets to that stage.

All the hype behind the Oculus Rift has always been underpinned by a twinge of scepticism over whether the mass market will embrace virtual reality. But Schroepfer’s comments indicate that the company believes that even if VR gets off to a slow start, it will still get there eventually.

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