Oculus Wants to Use Facebook to Build a Billion-Player MMO

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Oculus Wants to Use Facebook to Build a Billion-Player MMO

Facebook Oculus

Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe wants to make an MMO with a billion simultaneous users.

If there's one thing to be said of the Oculus Rift, it's that the team behind it are "go big or go home" kind of people, and CEO Brendan Iribe is no different, announcing incredibly lofty plans for his vision of a billion-player MMO made possible by the device and its partnership with Facebook. "This is going to be an MMO where we want to put a billion people in VR," he told attendees at a Tech Crunch disrupt event.

Iribe does say that his vision is "going to take a bigger network than exists in the world today," but claims that Facebook's network makes a great place to start, and suggested it could be a Metaverse that joins disparate virtual worlds. Furthermore, he admits the company's alliance with Facebook was partly due to this reason - so it can reach as many people as possible, particularly those in the "non-gamer" crowd.

"Do you want to build a platform that has a billion users on it, or only 10, 20, or 50 million?" asked Iribe, noting that dedicated game systems such as the Nintendo 3DS don't sell nearly as well as mobile devices like the iPhone in the grand scheme of things. "Do we want to be a Game Boy or an iPhone?"

While we're not quite out of the "uncanny valley" of computer graphics, Oculus hopes to soon be able to convince players that they're having a "real conversation" with another person. "[I]f you let go, you can have a real conversation with a person. That's the holy grail we're trying to get to," said Iribe.

Certainly some very ambitious dreams for an equally ambitious company. Basically, it looks like Oculus is trying to build "the Matrix 1.0," which i'm not sure how I feel about...

Source: The Verge

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Considering MMO has been diluted to mean anything with social aspects this is not exactly causing me any excitement.

FarmVRille incoming.

"Welcome to Facebook VR.
Please click on and fill out one of these ad-loaded surveys that require a mobile phone number for $20 text messages to access your friends list to chat to someone.
If your survey fails to load, please try another one in the hopes you might try and fail to find one that doesn't screw you out of money in one way or another.
Alternatively, pre-load your account with Facebook Credits (purchasable in $10 increments) and have peace of mind you can call anyone on your list.
Access rates are $5 flag-fall plus $1 per consecutive minute after 5 minutes.
Thank you for using Facebook VR. You don't need to tell your friends, we've already spammed their newsfeed with notifications that you are using it."

Ugh.

They'll mess it up. The MMO will feature a slew of microtransactions that will bust the flow of the game, and gate communities between arbitrary time/pay walls. Just like every other Facebook game out there. ZING. OH SICK BURN.

I don't see how they could make a compelling MMO that could encompass 1/7th of the world. The upkeep alone would be a monster - Blizzard pays about 220,000 a day to keep theirs running, with only about 8 million players. They make that money back in spades, of course, but still. Multiply that figure by 100, and you STILL don't have the target range.

Plus, what could they really do? I doubt it'll be a fantasy RPG - that doesn't appeal to a billion people. Same with a shooter - I doubt Grandma will want to help me shoot some Russians.

It'd have to be some weird, complex life MMO. Which, I'm sorry, but I'm firmly in the camp that you can not re-create life in video game form and make it fun. Certain things can be streamlined by the internet - I don't think one of those is "going to the doctors" or "hanging out with friends". I could be wrong - its all speculation, and the market is an unknown force. But I just don't see it being a successful endeavor. It requires too many extraordinary things to happen. I think this was more or less rhetoric, or some fuzz to puff up a speech. YEAH, 1 billion sounds way more awesome then "we want 10 million people."

"every 30 seconds an oculus rift rep is jumping up and down behind a news reporter."

Is it just me or is oculus rift in the news every friggin day with statements like this that mean nothing and can't be backed up by anything. ....Oh right Carmack is working for them now I forgot.

This sounds more and more like the Oasis every day.

John Carmack sorta equals John Haliday. Maybe they'll put out haptic gloves too.

Read "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline to find out about the Oasis. Great read in any case.

Smells like a molyneux.... you know that smell.. of half baked promises and overblown shit that was born from a feverish dream of world conquest.

A billion people? We only have 7 billion and most of them dont even have access to the internet. Get real man... all the companies that set their sails for the horizon and never looked back forgot that they had forgotten to lift the ancor named "reality" and wondered why half their boat was suddenly missing.

did he just rip on the game boy

you done messed up, bro

we gonna have to take this outside

Rabid_meese:
They'll mess it up. The MMO will feature a slew of microtransactions that will bust the flow of the game, and gate communities between arbitrary time/pay walls. Just like every other Facebook game out there. ZING. OH SICK BURN.

It seems to me there is a difference between wanting to turn Facebook, into a VR game, and wanting to turn Farmville into a VR game.

Everything that you named is done by people who are distinct from facebook itself and aren't interested in increasing the whole thing's overall public penetration, or access to actual socialization, but leeching from the userbase.

Rabid_meese:

I don't see how they could make a compelling MMO that could encompass 1/7th of the world. The upkeep alone would be a monster - Blizzard pays about 220,000 a day to keep theirs running, with only about 8 million players. They make that money back in spades, of course, but still. Multiply that figure by 100, and you STILL don't have the target range.

I'm pretty sure that it's not something that they would just release in early 2015, and have a billion users by 2016, more like the prototype of an abstract longer term plan. They haven't even said that they ARE MAKING such a thing, just that they "want to make" one.

For one thing, the first consumer version will still be insufficient for that kind of thing. Without body tracking and facial expression tracking, VR avatars would feel like every other MMO game avatar, stiff puppets with stiff faces standing around while the *real* players are chatting around. It would need to have something like SOEmote but better and applied to more of the body. Otherwise, visiting your doctor in VR would pretty much just consist of online chatting with your doctor while looking at some 3D model he made.

Rabid_meese:

Certain things can be streamlined by the internet - I don't think one of those is "going to the doctors" or "hanging out with friends".

Well, people ARE already asking for medical advice, and having friends, on the internet. It just hasn't disrupted close personal interactions, but added long distance communications to it.

It is those long distance communications that could be disrupted again, if they would be brought up to a level more comparable to personal meetups, if instead of texts and emoticons, and blind voices, and video chats (that are awkwardly failing to even make eye contact), people from all over the world could actually sit down in the same bar, or have walks together in picturesque gardens, or just have each other appear in their room through AR. (which could be a followup to VR with another camera on the front).

So Second Life in VR with FaceBook users as the playerbase?

I'd rather kill myself.

Just hurry up and give me Sword Art Online already.

That's a great analogy in that third paragraph. One side is a dedicated system with a high "quality games" to "total games" ratio, and the other is a dumping ground for quick cash ins and poor quality shite that bury the few gems available and still makes tons of money. I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone which side Facebook fits into. And that's a direction Oculus wants to point some of the Rift market focus towards, an MMO full of Facebook style ads and micro transactions with the option to talk to your "friends" via off model avatars.

This is overly ambitious for a product that still isn't even out, much less one it general. Facebook might have over a billion users now, but not everyone is gonna want to pay $300(or whatever) to strap on a giant doo-dad to their face to play farmville and talk to someone. Even if they got all the gamers who didn't consider the Rift dead after the buyout, I doubt they'd hit more than 50 million(and that's being generous). I wish Oculus would just concentrate on finishing the thing and getting more game support so we can see if it really is the bees knees for video games or just a wearable TV with potential in military, training, medical, and therapy actions.

Steven Bogos:
"[I]f you go outside, you can have a real conversation with a person. That's the holy grail we're trying to move away from," said Iribe.

Fixed that for ya.

/snark

OT: You can't really knock their ambition, but I do wonder if this would work in the real world (as it were). I mean, currently it's fairly easy to access social media in the workplace - I'm at my desk now - but I'd get rumbled for timewasting PDQ if I stuck that bulky headset on in the middle of the office.

Between this and Activision's Destiny shit, it must be pass the crack pipe day.

Grouchy Imp:

OT: You can't really knock their ambition, but I do wonder if this would work in the real world (as it were). I mean, currently it's fairly easy to access social media in the workplace - I'm at my desk now - but I'd get rumbled for timewasting PDQ if I stuck that bulky headset on in the middle of the office.

This year? Sure. The next? That too.

But on the long term, I'm wondering if the same forces that made a computer with an internet connection and access to social media so accessible at the workplace, will do the same to VR as well.

Maybe it will stay a gaming niche in the first place, but if it does reach that tipping point where hundreds of millions are using it for various leasurely activities, then it migh become the primary communication medium that the workplace will have to catch up to to stay connected to the ret of the world.

It would have other adventages too, a sufficiently high resolution VR display can simulate a multi-monitor work environment for you, or more practically, a 360 virtual desktop.

There might be a billion of Facebook users, but how many of them would actually bother with an Oculus rift? All the Facebook users I know IRL use it almost exclusively on their smartphone. Even if that's not the case, what would make non-gamers or non-tech-enthusiasts want to get VR goggles?

At this point, I just don't see that happening.

This is where I'm most excited for VR. The games are going to be awesome, but the way you interacting with people online in a way that feels like they're in the room with you?

I want the future where I can visit the moon with friends after a stressful day

Alterego-X:

Grouchy Imp:

OT: You can't really knock their ambition, but I do wonder if this would work in the real world (as it were). I mean, currently it's fairly easy to access social media in the workplace - I'm at my desk now - but I'd get rumbled for timewasting PDQ if I stuck that bulky headset on in the middle of the office.

This year? Sure. The next? That too.

But on the long term, I'm wondering if the same forces that made a computer with an internet connection and access to social media so accessible at the workplace, will do the same to VR as well.

Maybe it will stay a gaming niche in the first place, but if it does reach that tipping point where hundreds of millions are using it for various leasurely activities, then it migh become the primary communication medium that the workplace will have to catch up to to stay connected to the ret of the world.

It would have other adventages too, a sufficiently high resolution VR display can simulate a multi-monitor work environment for you, or more practically, a 360 virtual desktop.

I'll be honest, the image of an office full of people sat behind their desks with screens stuck to their faces in an unnerving one.

I'm not saying VR doesn't have a role to play or a niche to fill, but I just think that total immersion headsets like the Rift will take very much a back seat to partial immersion headsets like the Glass which allow people to interact with the digital world and the real world at the same time.

Grouchy Imp:

I'll be honest, the image of an office full of people sat behind their desks with screens stuck to their faces in an unnerving one.

Cultural standards change. Once upon a time, the visual of people talking to themselves while walking down the street would have been outlandishly alien, and not a little bit unnerving.

Even the Television was predicted to fail when it was the conventional wisdom that "People must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn't time for it" and "People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night".

Grouchy Imp:

Steven Bogos:
"[I]f you go outside, you can have a real conversation with a person. That's the holy grail we're trying to move away from," said Iribe.

Fixed that for ya.

/snark

OT: You can't really knock their ambition, but I do wonder if this would work in the real world (as it were). I mean, currently it's fairly easy to access social media in the workplace - I'm at my desk now - but I'd get rumbled for timewasting PDQ if I stuck that bulky headset on in the middle of the office.

It can work and provide some interesting stuff, it will never replace the actual experiences but since now everyone has a lot of online friends its a nice way to do stuff that isnt exactly just playing games.

I can see a mix of this

And this working well

yes, phones outsell handheld consoles because they're actually usefull for something besides playing games and because they can fit in your pocket. If you think a billion people are going to buy an OR, you really need to get yourself checked out. A billion dollar MMO is not happening. not now, not ever. Also, what would that even mean? Let's make an MMO for everyone on facebook?? what would it be about? what would you do?

TL;DR version:
CEO of company producing Occulus Rift would really like to sell a Billion of them.
More news at nine.

BrotherRool:
This is where I'm most excited for VR. The games are going to be awesome, but the way you interacting with people online in a way that feels like they're in the room with you?

I want the future where I can visit the moon with friends after a stressful day

Im with you on this. Even if the games are lacking in quality, I'd be happy with the ability to meet up in themed VR areas. Can you imagine playing a game of Pathfinder over the web in VR? Even if you're still doing dice rolls, you could have rooms that fit the theme.. its all exciting stuff to me.

I'm not sure if VR Farmville is going to be any better than regular Farmville.

Alterego-X:

Grouchy Imp:

I'll be honest, the image of an office full of people sat behind their desks with screens stuck to their faces in an unnerving one.

Cultural standards change. Once upon a time, the visual of people talking to themselves while walking down the street would have been outlandishly alien, and not a little bit unnerving.

Even the Television was predicted to fail when it was the conventional wisdom that "People must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn't time for it" and "People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night".

Cultural standards can change, but not every invention brings about change. The Rift is not the first VR headset that has tried to make it into the mainstream. Or the second, or third, or fourth - and that kinda shows that the general public just doesn't buy into VR in the same way that gamers do.

josemlopes:

Grouchy Imp:
>snip<

It can work and provide some interesting stuff, it will never replace the actual experiences but since now everyone has a lot of online friends its a nice way to do stuff that isnt exactly just playing games.

I can see a mix of this

And this working well

Oh, VR will always have the potential to be a really cool niche toy, I just don't see one billion people buying into it.

Grouchy Imp:

Cultural standards can change, but not every invention brings about change. The Rift is not the first VR headset that has tried to make it into the mainstream. Or the second, or third, or fourth - and that kinda shows that the general public just doesn't buy into VR in the same way that gamers do.

The Wright brothers weren't the first ones to build an aircraft. Their early predecessors' failures didn't reflect on a lack of of public interest in the concept of flying, only a lack of ability to fulfill their promise in terms of engineering.

You could tell that people wanted to fly, through the plethora of dreams and fiction about flying, and for that matter, from the plethora of inventors who kept working on it even after so many failures.

Apple wasn't the first one to make a tablet, not by decades. Their early predecessors were heavy, with unresponsive touchscreens, low computing power, and no net to connect to. Their failures didn't reflect on a lack of of public interest in the concept of tablets, only a lack of ability to fulfill their promise in terms of engineering.

Mobile phones and television both had prototypes decades before they caught on.

VR seems to be one of those things. There is just something fundamentally, self-evidently superior about the idea of total presence inside virtual worlds, which explains why people keep waiting for it, keep making them, and keep glorifying it in fiction.

Maybe the Rift won't be that break even point. Who knows, maybe we are still one generation before that. But we are getting there, and that "we" includes a rather lagre segment of the public.

Rabid_meese:

I don't see how they could make a compelling MMO that could encompass 1/7th of the world. The upkeep alone would be a monster - Blizzard pays about 220,000 a day to keep theirs running, with only about 8 million players. They make that money back in spades, of course, but still. Multiply that figure by 100, and you STILL don't have the target range.

Not only that, I'm in a pen and paper game where we are playing a "world mmo" kind of like that.

We were asked where we wanted to go.

We spent an entire day doing Knowledge: Local checks to find out about every country.

What I'm getting at is such a MMO would need to be fucking MASSIVE for a 1,000,000,000 playerbase. It would need to have unique areas that would make people want to come back. It would need to be fun.

Massive, Unique, and Fun, are not words I use to describe anything related to Facebook.

That 2 billion Facebook wasted on a company not worth 1/20th of what they paid for is causing delusions of grandeur.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather be the Gameboy than the iPhone. Beloved instead of used cynically, knows what it does, and for all the advances of technology, has tighter controls.

As for the actual news, MMO means nothing and Facebook in all its forms outside of itself can take a hike, so in a word, unenthusiastic.

If I wanted to have a realistic experience with my "friends" I'd go outside. However, I can see VR porn being huge.

Alterego-X:

It seems to me there is a difference between wanting to turn Facebook, into a VR game, and wanting to turn Farmville into a VR game.

Everything that you named is done by people who are distinct from facebook itself and aren't interested in increasing the whole thing's overall public penetration, or access to actual socialization, but leeching from the userbase.

Oh, I'm aware of that. That's just a dig at the current market of Facebook games. Considering Facebook has made quite a decent cut of cash from people using this method (about 30% from what I've read). Given the costs I brought up, its not too farfetched to assume that a microtransaction model would be in place. Unless they plaster it with ad's. Or require a monthly fee.

Alterego-X:

I'm pretty sure that it's not something that they would just release in early 2015, and have a billion users by 2016, more like the prototype of an abstract longer term plan. They haven't even said that they ARE MAKING such a thing, just that they "want to make" one.

For one thing, the first consumer version will still be insufficient for that kind of thing. Without body tracking and facial expression tracking, VR avatars would feel like every other MMO game avatar, stiff puppets with stiff faces standing around while the *real* players are chatting around. It would need to have something like SOEmote but better and applied to more of the body. Otherwise, visiting your doctor in VR would pretty much just consist of online chatting with your doctor while looking at some 3D model he made.

I don't doubt that this won't be out anytime soon. As I said in my post, I can't predict the future, so I could very well be wrong. But the technology for a 1 billion player MMO just doesn't exist is a costly manner. Could we have that technology down the line? Yeah, probably. There are still certain logistical issues that need to be addressed - like the mentioned peddling of 1 billion units. Even over a long term broadcast, selling a billion of something is a pretty huge accomplishment (outside of a daily necessity, like food).

Talking about it and reveling the grand plan for it just isn't logical right now. It would be like a car company saying in a public outing that "Yeah, we're totally committed to making consumer model cars that everyone will own that runs off of an infinite power source." It sounds grand - amazing even. But it doesn't mean anything if they're just blowing smoke up our asses.

Alterego-X:

Well, people ARE already asking for medical advice, and having friends, on the internet. It just hasn't disrupted close personal interactions, but added long distance communications to it.

It is those long distance communications that could be disrupted again, if they would be brought up to a level more comparable to personal meetups, if instead of texts and emoticons, and blind voices, and video chats (that are awkwardly failing to even make eye contact), people from all over the world could actually sit down in the same bar, or have walks together in picturesque gardens, or just have each other appear in their room through AR. (which could be a followup to VR with another camera on the front).

Medical advice online is kind of a thing. The dream mentioned of visiting your doctors over the Rift in the Facebook press release from the Facebook buyout is not something that could realistically be done. Most doctoral issues require personal contact. No matter how good the Oculus becomes, I doubt it'll ever get the kit a doctor needs to examine your vitals over the internet. Even something as simple for checking for the flu would require them to check your throat - even with a webcam, you'd be hardpressed to find an angle where the doctor could check it out. Ditto for the ears, and nostrils. There are several functions in doctoring it would be good at, I don't doubt that. But realistically, I feel safe putting my money in the camp of "it'll never happen."

As for the online friend bit - I'm fully aware. I have two good friends who I've met and primarily interacted with over the internet. I'm also kind of tech savvy. Most people I know wouldn't consider that a norm. And even if they did - there are still a lot of social interactions that require a level of personal contact. There is a huge difference between sitting at your desk, getting smashed off drinks with your friends while you all hang out in a VR world and going to a bar. Same with a movie. Or a restaurant. Not only would culture have to change drastically for these things to work, but the experiences of hanging out with your friends in an online space already exists today.

I just don't see the plausibility of a game with 1 billion users. The market has gotten less homogenized as a whole, not more.

Does Facebook even have one billion active users at this point? More importantly, does Brendan Iribe think a Facebook MMO is going to be a significant draw? I'm having a difficult time deciding who is more delusional: Mark Zuckerberg for investing $2 billion in what is currently a prototype to save his increasingly irrelevant social networking website or this guy for thinking a relatively expensive VR headset is going to appeal to core gamers and/or social gamers in significant enough numbers to get to a few hundred thousand let alone one billion active players on said increasingly irrelevant social networking website.

I would do a sword art online reference but it's too easy.

Zuckerberg is just dreaming big here; too big. Which suggests to me that it's just a PR piece meant to advertise to potential investors. "We have the best VR device in development, this is how we're going to use it."

I seriously doubt there's even a game concept so dumbed down as to appeal to a billion people; let alone an MMO.
(good luck prying the huge Asian MMO market away for your shitty MMO Zuckerberg; they're about 15 years ahead of you in terms of life destroying social stressors.)

Didn't Second Life get on this boat awhile ago? The people who want something like this already have something or will have something. They probably aren't going to be wanting to use the system that Facebook would develop, they don't exactly have good will of the people.

Can't they just make a cross dimensional mmo? Like gates or someshit that lets a player's char traverse different games while still being on the same system as they're not not separated?

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