Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that he hopes to sell between 50m and 100m Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets over the next ten years.
It needs to reach a very large scale – 50m to 100m units – before it will really be a meaningful thing as a computing platform,” he told analysts, The Guardian reports.
It’s hard to predict exactly but I don’t think it’s going to get to 50 million or 100 million units in the next few years. So that will take a few cycles of the device to get there.
And then when you get to that scale, that’s when it starts to be interesting as a business in terms of developing out the ecosystem. So when I’m talking about that as a ten year thing, it’s building the first set of devices and building the audience and the ecosystem around that until it eventually becomes a business.”
Facebook completed its surprise $2bn acquisition of Oculus in July.
From the off Zuckerberg hasn’t been reserved in his aspirations. In March he said: "The history of our industry is that every 10 or 15 years there’s a new major computing platform, whether it’s the PC, the web or now mobile. History suggests that there will be more platforms to come and that whoever builds and defines these, will not only shape all the experiences that our industry builds, but will also benefit financially and strategically.
"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.
Gaming’s just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world, consulting with a doctor face-to-face or going shopping in a virtual store where you can touch and explore the product you’re interested in, just by putting on goggles in your own home."
The fortunes of VR aren’t necessarily intrinsically linked to those of Oculus. Since Facebook’s buyout of the firm a number of alternative – and crucially, far cheaper – VR options have entered the fray. Will Oculus’s expected $200-$400 price tag prove viable if the technology proliferates as promiscuously as many are predicting?