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Oculus Riftの何がすごいのか


Oculus Riftというのを今まで知りませんでしたが、定期購読しているWiredの6月号でCover Storyになっていたようです(汗)興味があるものを読むのも大切ですが、好きな雑誌が特集している内容をまずは読んでみることも大切なようですね(滝汗)


Wiredの特集記事は、Oculus Riftのどこがすごいのか、開発秘話、Facebookによる買収、今後の可能性などを取り上げてくれていて、とても勉強になりました。

The Inside Story of Oculus Rift and How Virtual Reality Became Reality

下記でno-motion-sickness experienceと紹介しているように、3Dグラスで起きやすい吐き気を防ぐようにしたことがOculus Riftの成果の一つのようです。“I think I’ve seen five or six computer demos in my life that made me think the world was about to change,” he says. “Apple II, Netscape, Google, iPhone … then Oculus. It was that kind of amazing.”という説明はOculus Riftがどれくらいすごいのか程度がわかりますね。

By mid-October, the momentum was unstoppable. That month Iribe stood up at a gaming conference and announced that the Oculus Rift would be a “no-motion-sickness experience.” It was an audacious promise, and one that caught the attention of Brian Cho, a young partner at Andreessen Horowitz, who was sitting in the audience. The VC firm had turned down an earlier opportunity to invest in Oculus’ Series A round. After hearing Iribe’s announcement, the firm reached out and asked for another demo. Chris Dixon was among the six Andreessen Horowitz partners who got a look at the new model. “I think I’ve seen five or six computer demos in my life that made me think the world was about to change,” he says. “Apple II, Netscape, Google, iPhone … then Oculus. It was that kind of amazing.” By December, Oculus had closed Series B funding—with Andreessen Horowitz leading—for $75 million.

Facebookの買収では、どうしてもFacebookのページに何か盛り込むのかという発想になってしまいますが、この記事を読む限りでは、もっと違う次元で考えていて“This isn’t about sharing pictures,” Luckey says. “This is about being able to share experiences.”のツールの可能性を求めているようです。

Over the course of many conversations during the next several weeks, though, Zuckerberg won Oculus over. “I had heard many times that Mark is a laser beam, that Facebook is all he thinks about day in and day out,” VP of product Nate Mitchell says. “So when I first met with him, I thought he was going to be like, how do we get News Feed into VR?” Instead, the person who showed up was someone Mitchell calls “Visionary Mark Zuckerberg,” who saw virtual reality as not just a gaming tool but as a full-fledged communications platform. The Oculus team agreed; they may have started out trying to build a great gaming device, but they realized now that they were sitting on something much more powerful. Zuckerberg seemed to understand that, and he also seemed to understand that it had potential far beyond being an extension of Facebook’s existing social-media service. “This isn’t about sharing pictures,” Luckey says. “This is about being able to share experiences.” The deal was consummated over an eight-day stretch in mid-March. Iribe was so excited about the acquisition that he revested 100 percent of his own equity for a five-year period, guaranteeing that he’d be with the company for the foreseeable future; Luckey, Carmack, and others took similar steps.

Oculus側にとっては、Facebook’s money also means that Oculus doesn’t need to worry about turning an immediate profit—and that will come in handy as it builds its first consumer product.という感じで経営資金の心配をしなくていいことが大きいでしょうか。今はゲームとか映画だけの用途ぐらいしか思い浮かびませんが、「体験の共有」という視点から考えればいろいろな可能性があるようです。ちょっと前のSFでの世界が実現するかもしれません。

But, as Zuckerberg predicted, games are just the beginning. VR could easily change the way we consume media. Early on, Oculus showcased a VR Cinema application that lets users sit in a virtual empty movie theater and watch Man of Steel on a full-size screen. “Last time I was sick with the flu,” Carmack says, “I just lay in bed and watched VR movies on the ceiling.”

Teleconferencing is another idea in the works. It’s easy to imagine strapping on a Rift and finding yourself across a table from someone who is actually thousands of miles away (or at least you’ll be across from their avatar). Oculus has VR Chat proto­types in the works, and a demo that Epic Games unveiled in March allows two players wearing Rifts to interact with each other’s avatars in the same virtual living room. “The key,” Abrash says, “is generating the cues that tell us we’re in a real place in the presence of another person: eye motion, facial expressions, body language, voice, gestures. Getting all that working perfectly is a huge task, but getting it to be good enough to be widely useful may be quite doable.”

The list of potential uses goes on. Bring a classroom full of kids inside any museum in the world—no lines, no price of admission. Hell, that goes for vacations too. Even getaways of the mental variety: Why spring for a shaman-guided ayahuasca trip in Peru when you can dive into a drug-free epiphany anytime you want? And let’s not even talk about the oft-predicted sex simulators. “Hardware, while essential, is just an enabler,” Abrash says. “In the end, the future of VR lies in the unique, compelling experiences that get created in software, and if I knew what those would be, even in broad outline, I would be very happy. Right now we don’t even know what kind of artwork and rendering techniques work in VR, much less what experiences.”