Oculus grabbed our attention by offering a a virtual reality headset and the software to match, but in the future the Facebook-owned company could be moving to position itself as a software-focused business. A new report from Bloomberg reveals Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe’s plan to partner with multiple hardware makers instead of simply releasing its own headsets in an effort to become the dominant VR platform.
The strategy is closely modeled on Android, which Google used to take over the mobile market by partnering with companies like Samsung, HTC, Motorola and dozens (perhaps hundreds) of smaller hardware-makers. In fact, Oculus may have already partnered with one major company. According to an Engadget report last month, Oculus offered Samsung early access to its software development kit in exchange for OLED displays.
Iribe’s latest statements and business strategy may be inspired by Android, but Oculus also seems to be taking advice directly from Facebook. When the social networking giant bought Whatsapp, Mark Zuckerberg said a major factor was the app’s potential to hit a billion users. Now Oculus is headed down the same path.
“If we do want to get a billion people on virtual reality, which is our goal, we’re not going to sell 1 billion pairs of glasses ourselves,” Iribe told Bloomberg. At the moment that means considering deals with any potential hardware partners, and the Oculus CEO notes that “there’s a lot of interest right now.”
Bloomberg adds that Oculus may not offer any official partnerships until after the first official Oculus Rift hits the market, so it could be a while before we see other companies come out with products of their own. In the meantime Samsung appears to be cooking something up, though whether it gets official Oculus branding is unclear, while Sony continues to promote its own upcoming Project Morpheus headset.