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The Oculus Rift Is All About Games (For Now)

"We're letting the ecosystem right now take care of all the non-gaming [content]."

Kurt Wagner

The big takeaway from the Oculus Rift press event today in San Francisco: Games, games, games.

That makes sense, given that the event was supposed to serve as an appetizer to the E3 gaming expo next week in LA. But there were a few hints that the Rift will one day have broader ambitions.

Bundled with every Rift headset in Q1 2015 will be an Xbox One controller, which is important for a couple of reasons. One, it confirms that the audience for the first version of the Rift is the same audience that might play games on an Xbox — gamers who are already comfortable with that sort of controller. It also gives VR developers a common target to develop for, rather than the panoply of third-party hardware that chased the Oculus Kickstarter in 2012.

The consumer Oculus Rift with an Xbox One controller
The consumer Oculus Rift with an Xbox One controller

CEO Brendan Iribe told Re/code that the company is “really focused on gaming,” but that it wants to encourage non-game developers with projects like Oculus Story Studio, its in-house animation team.

“We’re letting the ecosystem right now take care of all the non-gaming [content], and there’s a huge amount of it out there,” Iribe said. “There’s over 700 different pieces of non-gaming content on Oculus Share.”

Iribe wasn’t sure, off the top of his head, whether all of that was available for the Rift or if some was for the Samsung Gear VR, a mobile virtual reality headset co-developed by Oculus and Samsung due out by the end of the year. Public demos of the Gear VR have placed a greater emphasis on movies and “experiences” over games.

For people wondering about the future of social networking in VR, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey dropped one onstage hint. In his introduction of Oculus Touch, a pair of motion controllers for the Rift that will launch after the headset, Luckey mentioned that they could both interact with virtual objects and track users’ hands to make “natural hand gestures” such as a thumbs-up or pointing.

Oculus was not offering any demos of the new hardware at today’s event, but we’ll learn more about both the headset and the controller options at E3.

This article originally appeared on

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