Oculus Exec Yelena Rachitzky Talks About How VR Can Move Beyond Gaming

Most virtual reality products are aimed at gamers because there is an automatically understood natural fit. Can VR move beyond gaming? Oculus executive produce of experiences at Oculus offers her insights.

Yelena Rachitsky, Executive Producer, Experiences at Oculus, a virtual reality technology company owned by Facebook, was recently interviewed by TechCrunch writer Lucus Matney:

It’s Not Just About Content, Technology is Making it Easier

We’re focusing a lot more on more highly interactive content and marrying concepts that were understanding from gaming into more narrative approaches. Instead of shooters and strategy, how do we use these mechanics of understanding on how our body works, natural intuitive mechanics to create pieces that people actually want to come back to, pieces people actually enjoy and don’t feel like they are playing a game necessarily.

So we’re marrying that knowledge also with the form factors, I think a few people have mentioned Quest which is something we’re super excited about, so it’s not just the content it’s also the technology that’s coming and making it easier.

Technology is Also Working to Make Things More Intuitive

A lot of technology is also working just to make things much more intuitive. It’s a combination of how we’re approaching content being more compelling, more intuitive, more interactive, more emotional, with the form factors in the hardware. The thing I’m really interested in is how we approach experiences that have very more natural intuitive interactions versus a lot of button pressing.

I gave this talk at Oculus Connect recently about embodiment and what makes us feel like something’s ours when they connect with an object and there’s this reality, our Facebook Reality Labs research talks about something called object believability, and we really believe that we’re picking up an object if it’s something that we recognize that we’ve done in the real world.

The Hard Part of VR is That We Are Holding Controllers

The hard part about VR is that we’re actually holding controllers in our hands. So how do you make your brain believe that you’re actually picking up those objects? People have approached this in different ways. With  Job Simulator (by Oculus) you have big hands that you press with really really big buttons. There’s something very rewarding about that. Then there’s a game that the studios’ team did called Lone Echo which they put a lot of effort into how the hands formed themselves around objects because if you’re seeing your hands actually shift in the way that they should in real life your brain believes that and it becomes super rewarding.

With a lot of the projects we’re creating we’re still experimenting, we still don’t know a lot of this stuff, but we’re going all the way from fully interactive to still slightly linear. There’s not a magic formula to it, everything’s just about the intent that you want to create and then all the tools that you use for VR that push forward that intent.

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