Oculus and Facebook have a billion-person MMO masterplan

Oculus Rift
Facebook wants to take MMOs to billions of virtual people

Fancy playing a massively multiplayer online game with a billion other people? That could be what we ultimately see as a result of Facebook's $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR.

While Facebook and Oculus VR have kept quiet about their goals following the acquisition, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe has revealed the potential for an ambitious project while talking to an audience at TechCrunch Disrupt, saying: "This is going to be an MMO where we want to put a billion people in VR."

It would certainly be an interesting way to engage Facebook's enormous user base, with the social network acting as a meta-verse joining disparate virtual worlds.

Sadly we won't be seeing it any time soon, with Iribe admitting the project will "take a bigger network than exists in the world today."

One step at a time

There is still plenty for Oculus VR to do before that network does arrive, with Iribe revealing the company is aiming to convince players that they are having a "real conversation" with another person.

While it's difficult to generate believable, photorealistic human faces in video games, Iribe believes this obstacle can be overcome if players are willing to "let go."

Iribe's comments reveal some of the thinking behind the sale of Oculus VR to Facebook, rather than one of the big gaming companies.

While a gaming giant may have seemed a more obvious choice, Iribe asked his audience, "Do you want to build a platform that has a billion users on it, or only 10, 20, or 50 million?"