Carmack says VR devs are 'coasting on novelty' with 'poisonous' startup times

John Carmack stands next to a person wearing an Oculus Rift.

Chief technical officer at Oculus and id Software co-founder John Carmack isn't happy with how far developers are pushing the envelope with virtual reality.

For the best uses of novelty in a virtual plane, check out some actually good VR games.

On stage at Oculus Connect last week Carmack accused developers of 'coasting on novelty' when it comes to making experiences for the company's Rift hardware and that they 'need to be harder on ourselves'.

In his closing address, Carmack said: "We are coasting on novelty, and the initial wonder of being something people have never seen before. But we need to start judging ourselves. Not on a curve, but in an absolute sense. Can you do something in VR that has the same value, or more value, than what these other things have done?"

On top of generally being underwhelmed by the range of experiences VR is currently shopping around, Carmack also highlighted some of the technical hurdles which are preventing users having a good time. Among these are the struggles people are having keeping loading times to under 29 seconds – the sort of delay you'd expect from a magic veil of unreality on your face.

"That's acceptable if you're going to sit down and play for an hour," Carmack said. "But initial startup time really is poisonous. An analogy I like to say is, imagine if your phone took 30 seconds to unlock every time you wanted to use it. You'd use it a lot less."

You can see the whole closing keynote below where there's a good deal more chiding from the VR school headmaster.

Thanks for the heads up GI.biz

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WhiteCrow avatar[GM] SocietyX avatarMrAptronym avatarjoelc23 avatar
WhiteCrow Avatar
383
11 Months ago

That's pretty damning, and hard not to agree. My experience with VR thus far has only been display models on showroom floors and stores, and he's right; the novelty is initially alluring, but it never struck that serious nerve where I had considered it as something I'd like to regularly partake in, especially compared to my current investments (Good ol' fashioned PC gaming).

I'm not sure what the remedy is, aside from dedicated iteration.

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joelc23 Avatar
2
5 Months ago

Just stick to more simple uses for VR like making older games as well as new big games just support the basic VR headtracking. It's not much extra work for devs and they still focus on the core gaming consumer to by their products in mass. I don't need full motion tracking and all the extra crap. I just want to play my normal games with the VR tracking my head. I can still use my Keyboard and Mouse just the same, or a controller.

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MrAptronym Avatar
360
11 Months ago

I'm still skeptical of VR, and this is a major reason. If developers don't start delivering products with a broad appeal beyond novelty, then VR will decline as soon as that novelty wears off on people.

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[GM] SocietyX Avatar
151
11 Months ago

But John.. it's hard to make good games when you KNOW the guy at the company supports TRUMP. Can't be done.

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