Oculus wants your virtual reality experience to be safe and pleasant.
The Facebook-owned company will start selling its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in the first quarter of next year. And it will operate its own app store (similar to Apple’s app store) so you can download games and other engrossing apps that deliver the thrills of virtual reality. Oculus will reportedly vet which apps appear in its store, and even rate the apps.
But one thing that has no place is Oculus’ brave new world is virtual sex. A company representative re-iterated the Oculus position on the matter when we asked about it on Friday: “Oculus only distributes developer content that meets their terms of service which forbid pornographic content from being a part of the Oculus Store,” the spokesman said.
Fair enough. But that got us thinking, what about violence? If Oculus intends to make the world inside its headsets family-friendly, how will it handle violent content?
Here, Oculus had an interesting response:
“Oculus only distributes developer content that meets their terms of service, but they aren’t open to discuss what those terms are at this time.”
It’s a curious silence for an issue that’s not likely to remain hypothetical.
Gaming is expected to be one of the most popular uses of virtual reality headsets like Oculus, and many video games, from first-person shooters to fighting games, are inherently violent. But virtual reality will also open the door to other forms of entertainment, many of it more movie-like. That means the makers of gory horror movies will also gravitate to VR platforms like Oculus. Will Oculus draw the line on what level of violence is too much or how graphic the depictions of violence can be? It’s a good question, just don’t look to Oculus for answers right now.
Of course, this only applies to apps available through Oculus’ official app store. There will likely be unofficial app stores where users will be able to download whatever they want. But the rules for the official Oculus app store are important, since that’s how most mainstream consumers may experience virtual reality.