×

VR will be 'more ubiquitous' than smartphones: Oculus

Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR
Credit: Arjun Kharpal, CNBC
Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR

Virtual reality (VR) devices will eventually become "more ubiquitous" than the smartphone, the founder of Facebook-owned Oculus VR has claimed.

Palmer Luckey told an audience at the Web Summit conference in Dublin on Tuesday, that in 15 years, ownership of VR devices would be more wide-spread than smartphones.

"Remember that a smartphone is something that we integrate into our daily lives, we all carry it around with us," Luckey said.

"Eventually, I think if augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are going to converge to align…if they end up merging into hardware that you can either wear all the time or at least you can carry around all the time, then there is no reason to think that it can't supplant everything we already do with smartphones."

Virtual reality is an area of technology that has garnered a lot of interest in recent years with companies such as Samsung interested in the space. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion last year.

Still, dislodging the dominance of smartphones will be a long-term trend, admits Luckey. Out of the 2.16 billion mobile users forecast next year, research firm eMarketer expects that 46.4 percent of those will have smartphones.

"We've got a long run of smartphones left and a lot of other advances going on in mobile computing, but I'd be very surprised if in 15 years from now, we're all carrying around slabs in our pocket that we actually take out and use," Luckey said.


Post-scarcity economy?

Gaming is one of the most promising areas in the VR world with firms such as Sony – the maker of the PlayStation console – releasing their own headset next year. But Luckey said that other areas such as education will create big user cases for the technology.

Talking about the future of VR, Luckey also addressed the idea of a post-scarcity economy – a theory that suggests an economy where goods, services and information are universally accessible. VR could make this a reality, Luckey said.

"A lot of people have talked about this idea of the post-scarcity economy and virtual reality is potentially our best shot at the post-scarcity economy," Luckey said.

"It's one thing to try to say that everybody in the world can have everything physically…it's much easier to make the bet that everyone will be able to have everything in virtual reality at no cost."