Oculus is 'nowhere near' the point of diminishing returns on Rift tech

Oculus Rift game
Oculus Rift games will continue to look better and better

A strange thing has occurred with video game consoles, where the tech keeps getting better but the results, particularly graphically, are getting harder to notice.

The Xbox 360 looked leaps and bounds better than the original Xbox, for example, but despite more powerful specs, the Xbox One is less of a drastic improvement.

But the Oculus Rift's fourth prototype version Crescent Bay, which just debuted last weekend, is "nowhere near" that point, Rift creator and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey told TechRadar.

When it comes to the Rift, every small improvement in the tech makes a massive difference to the user experience, he said.

One foot in front of the other

"Right now every tiny step is clearly visible," Luckey said during group interviews at Oculus Connect 2014. "We're at least a decade out. I don't think we're going to stop seeing obvious returns for a long time."

He continued, "That's pretty exciting because it means that we have a lot to work on for the next ten years. It's not like we're going to have this solved next year and it's going to be good enough."

"We still have a ways to go in terms of polishing the overall experience on the software, the hardware, the ergonomics, the whole thing," Oculus Vice President of Product agreed during a later chat with TechRadar. "There are definitely still low-hanging fruit in terms of more aligning synergies that we can create that create a better experience."

That means for the time being Oculus VR's priority in terms of hardware is to continue to iterate on the Rift's specs, not make drastic improvements like altering the headset's form factor or shrinking the Rift down to the size of a pair of sunglasses.

That tech will come, but it's not there yet, Luckey said. "We know we can build something that's in sunglasses form factor, but can we build something that's better than it would have been if it was a larger set of goggles?" he asked.

"Can't say, and it could be that five years from now we could build something as good as [Crescent Bay] in sunglasses," he continued. "But what's a better trade-off: that, or building something ten times better that still looks the same [physically]?"

For now, "the immediate path forward is clearly to higher resolution and more rendering power," he said. "And those are going to provide very clear benefits in the near-term."

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.