The current life cycle of virtual reality goes way back to the 19th century. Stereoscopes captivated our imagination with the creation of 3D environments back in the 19th century. It runs on a simple concept where you present an almost identical image to each eye so that your brain combines them to find depth in their discrepancies.
A technique to create or enhance the illusion of depth in any image with the use of these stereoscopes is stereoscopy. These stereoscopes were developed into View-Masters in 1939.
View-Masters are thin cardboard disks with seven stereoscopic 3-D pairs of small transparent color photographs. Most of the kids in the 80’s and 90’s got these at a fare or exhibitions, rotating a reel / film with a knob to view images in color. An advanced version of stereoscopes and view-masters is Virtual Reality (VR).
Virtual reality is a stimulating experience and an extraordinary shift to viewing the digital realm. VR may be the next big advancement and a milestone in the making just like the development from landlines to smartphones.
New VR Company Oculus
Various companies have been working on developing the best VR experience for its users. To name a few, Oculus founded in 2012, Sony’s Morpheus, Livemap, HTC, Pico Interactive and Magic Leap have done some amazing job to build the VR community. Yet, Oculus has been an absolute shocker. Founded in 2012, and was acquired by Facebook in just 601 days from the launch of their Kickstarter campaign which raised over 2.4 million USD.
Palmer Luckey at the age of 15, founded ModRetro, a community that modifies vintage gaming consoles. He loved the concept of virtual reality so much that he used to collect virtual reality headsets. Sourcing his collection from industry, Palmer had the largest private collection of VR headsets. Around the age of 16, Palmer started building his own headsets.
Soon Palmer was no longer “some crazy smart dudes building VR goggles in a garage,” as he met John Carmack, co-founder of id Software; the lead programmer of Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, and Quake. His world turned around when he was told that John was looking to make VR goggles of his own. Parlmer had the luck to show his prototypes and an impressed John wanted to buy one.
The Internet was suddenly on fire, something was happening and as if almost overnight, things became shockingly clear. Within weeks, Palmer dropped out of his college halfway through his journalism degree, to start a company. In June of 2012, Palmer formed OculusVR.
Kickstarter Campaign of Oculus
“I won’t make a penny of profit off this project, the goal is to pay for the costs of parts, manufacturing, shipping, and credit card/Kick-starter fees with about $10 left over for a celebratory pizza and beer.” wrote Palmer in early 2012, when the kick-starter campaign was to begin.
With various endorsements from Carmack and other industry titans, like Gabe Newell of Valve, thoughts of selling just 100 headsets went out the window.
On August 1st of 2012, with 10 employees, Oculus launched their first Kick-starter campaign with a modest campaign goal of $250,000. This was less than some of those 90’s VR headsets from Palmer’s private collection at the age of 15.
Oculus raised $670,000 from 2,750 people within 24 hours and a million dollars in just 3 days. The overall amount raised from the campaign was over 2.4 million dollars and in just 601 days Facebook had taken over Oculus with 100 employees for 2.3 Billion USD. Such a short span and a whopping 2.97 Billion USD of profit.
Facebook Acquired Oculus
After its takeover in 2014 March by Facebook, Oculus went on to acquire Surreal Vision and brought in major developments to the VR industry with two product lines named Oculus Rift (requiring external processors and consoles to operate it) and Oculus Quest (which had a processor of its own built-in). From developing the Samsung Gear to launching its first consumer headset, Oculus Rift CV1, the journey of Oculus from garage to multi – billion dollar company has been short and amazing.
Let’s dig deeper into the journey of Oculus, from how it used the kick-starter campaign amount to being acquired by Facebook and its quest to build the biggest 3D Virtual reality in our next blog. So, Stay tuned to HashPro, follow us on Instagram to get updates on our next blogs and some fantastic technological stuff.