Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call Tuesday that he does not see virtual-reality offerings from recent acquisition Oculus VR reaching sales of 50 million to 100 million units and becoming a meaningful computing platform for several years, although he added that he was pleased with its progress.
During his opening remarks, Zuckerberg said:
Finally, let’s talk for a minute about our progress of Oculus. As I’ve said before, with Oculus, we’re making a long-term bet on the future of computing. Every 10 to 15 years, a new major computing platform arrives, and we think that virtual and augmented reality are important parts of this upcoming next platform. This quarter, Oculus continued to make progress toward this vision.
In September, the first Oculus developer conference took place, where we announced a new prototype VR headset on the path of a consumer version of the Rift. We continue to see a lot of excitement in the developer community, and we’ve now shipped more than 100,000 Rift developer kits to over 130 countries. It’s still early for Oculus, but we are encouraged to see the variety of applications and games being developed for this platform.
Later, during the question-and-answer period of the call, Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter asked:
Mark, now that you’ve spent more time with the Oculus team, can you update us on how your plans for Oculus have evolved since you first tried the device on? And then you mentioned it when you talked about your 10-year outlook. Does that mean we shouldn’t expect any consumer Oculus product in the next one or two years?
On your questions around Oculus and search and some of the other things that we’re doing; the strategy for Oculus is to help accelerate its growth. It has two products around Rift on PC, and it is supporting Gear VR and the Samsung team and building the mobile version. And I’m really excited about both of them.
I don’t think that this is going to be — it needs to reach a very large sale, 50 million to 100 million units, before it will really be a very meaningful thing as a computing platform. So I do think it’s going to take a bunch of years to get there. Maybe, I don’t know, 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 that’s kind of what I’m talking about.
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 10-year thing, its building the first set of devices and building the audience and the ecosystem around that until it eventually becomes a business.
Readers: How quickly do you see Oculus growing?