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Xbox co-founder sceptical of mass-market virtual reality appeal

Ben Parfitt
Xbox co-founder sceptical of mass-market virtual reality appeal

A rare voice of dissent has risen from the crowds to question the notion that virtual reality is the future of computing.

“Hardcore gamers love new technologies and experiences and are willing to do almost anything to get them so that's a good market for Oculus,” Xbox business co-founder Ed Fries said on Yabbly.

“General users however are a different crowd. Given how little success the consumer electronics companies have had with 3D TVs with glasses, I am sceptical that general users are going to be strapping this thing onto their face any time soon.”

The statement is in direct contrast to the increasingly hyperbolic narrative that has arisen around VR technology since Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus last week.

"It's technology that I think will completely change the world,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeny said earlier today. “I think it's going to be a bigger phenomenon than smartphones.

“There might be an audience for 10 million users of the current tech, but as it improves with each generation, the audience is going to keep growing until eventually you're going to reach a critical point where you can put on one of these devices and have an experience that is effectively indistinguishable from reality.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said shortly after the acquisition that: “[VR is] the next major computing platform that will come after mobile. Today's acquisition is a long-term bet on the future of computing.

"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're starting to also get ready for the platforms of tomorrow. To me, by far the most exciting future platform is around vision – modifying what you see to create augmented and immersive experiences."

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Tags: oculus , vr , virtual reality , fries , sceptic , skeptic

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