Would You Play a Billion-Person Facebook MMO Powered by Oculus Rift?

By Gerald Lynch on at

Well would you? Because that's what Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has teased whilst speaking to an audience at TechCrunch Disrupt. Could an Oculus Rift-powered, billion-player massively multiplayer online game be the ultimate goal of the Oculus/Facebook partnership?

In the short term, the Facebook buyout of Oculus seems primarily in order for the company to make its headsets cheaply on a mass scale. But Iribe's latest discussion points to a Matrix-like metaverse, the kind seen in novels like William Gibson's Neuromancer and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.

"This is going to be an MMO where we want to put a billion people in VR," he told those in attendance, before conceding that such a plan would require a "bigger network than exists in the world today."

It's a pipe-dream for now then, but it goes someway to explaining Oculus's decision to cosy up with Facebook as opposed to a traditional gaming company. Why aim for millions of gamers when you can effectively target a billion social networkers? Oculus is hoping its VR headsets will eventually be able to bridge the uncanny valley, letting people feel as though they are having face to face conversations with friends. An MMO on the scale proposed by Iribe, even if it were to have unrealistic visuals, would be a significant leap beyond even that aim, bringing into existence the sort of digital worlds that have so far been the reserve of science fiction. [TechCrunch Disrupt via The Verge]