June 18, 2013
Oculus Rift Injected With $16 Million From Investors
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset burned through its Kickstarter campaign as nearly 10,000 eager gamers threw a collective $2.4 million at the company in hopes to begin playing games mere centimeters from their eyeballs. Reviews from the tech press were nothing short of glowing, with some saying the VR headset was going to “change the face of gaming forever.” Now the company has received an additional $16 million in Series A venture funding from Spark Capital and Matrix Partners to further develop the VR headset into something the public will truly eat up and possibly live up to the hype that´s been building around the gaming platform for several months.
In an interview with The Verge, Oculus VR´s CEO Brendan Iribe mentions having a new set of bosses to answer to now that the funding has been announced as members from both Matrix and Spark will sit on the board and direct the company´s future. Though the new partnership has injected a hefty sum of money into the project, Iribe says this doesn´t mean production units will be making their way to Kickstarter backers any sooner, saying: “It´s mostly R&D dollars.”
"We want to stay independent and get to the consumer market, realizing VR the way we really think it needs to be done, and we don't need to take any shortcuts to get there," said Iribe.
"They really shared the vision with us. They weren't intimidated by the idea of creating the first consumer VR platform."
Antonio Rodriquez with Matrix Partners has proclaimed his excitement for the Oculus Rift, hailing it as a device that leapt straight from the pages of science fiction novels.
“Though we are in the business of investing in the future, it is rare to see a team that seems to have jumped directly out of the pages of “Snowcrash” or “Ready Player One,”” explains Rodriquez in a Matrix Partners blog.
“When Oculus´ CEO, Brendan Iribe, first brought the demo over to our office, it was one of those moments that inspire a mix of deja vu (because you´ve read about concepts like this so many times before) with a sense of wonder about just how much of science fiction is possible today.”
Rodriquez believes the Oculus Rift VR headset will one day be such a major contender in the gaming world that developers will have a hard time deciding between building a game for Android, iOS, or the new headset.
“At that point, this thing can become a viable public company."
Developers who got an early jump on the Kickstarter campaign already have beta units in hand to begin tinkering with the platform and developing virtual reality games.
The VR headset bests any prior device by offering a 110-degree diagonal field of vision, making the elements on the screen look more realistic and present, rather than appear as if they´re being looked at through a long, dark tunnel. It´s also designed to work without turning the stomachs of those who wear them, though this first developer kit has been known to make developers nauseated. Rodriguez mentioned in an interview with PandoDaily that this only occurs in the earliest developer units and newer versions will fix this problem.