The Oculus Rift company is barely one year old, but it's already off to a strong start. Developers have kits from a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, said kit has support from the industry's biggest game engine creators, and the consumer-friendly HD version is already being shown off to press (we loved what we saw at E3 2013 last week). And now the company's got a solid $16 million in the bank backing up its next step: creating a virtual reality headset that's significantly more mainstream than the $300 dev kit currently available. But don't think that alters the young company's promise of virtual reality on the PC platform; quite the contrary, as CEO Brendan Iribe told Engadget, "We're really focused on the PC as the platform to bring this to market right now."
He said that Oculus isn't against bringing its VR headset to consoles, but that PC remains the primary platform. "We're always looking at other platforms -- looking at consoles, we're also looking at Android and the mobile side in a big way -- but right now we really are focused on the PC platform," he said. Sony's Shuhei Yoshida told us last week in an interview that, "We've got a couple of the development kits, and I tried it out and I love it," though he wouldn't outright say if the PlayStation 4 will support the Rift. We're betting "yes."
As for what Oculus is doing in the short-term with the new infusion of cash? In short, it's being used to staff up (the company's still under 50 employees right now, mostly engineers). "We're using the funding to ramp up on hiring more smart people, the best and brightest that we can find," Iribe said. "The dev kit as it is now, that we're shipping, will stay the same, and the software side will just keep getting better." The vast majority of those new employees will be engineers -- one glance at the company's careers page quickly confirms this claim. Outside of new employees, though, Iribe said little will change in the company's ongoing goal to develop "the very best virtual reality platform we can create."
Down the road, it's not clear what the roadmap is for Oculus as a company. As for going public, or perhaps selling to a larger company -- one of the three big game console manufacturers, or perhaps Valve? -- Iribe was cagey. "We're always evaluating the options and looking at what's best for delivering the best experience, and right now this [funding] made the most sense to really get this ... we want to continue to hire an incredible set of people," he said.
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