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What Does Bethesda's Todd Howard Thinks of VR?

blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,381

"We're exploring some things [in VR]. We'll see where that heads. We don't want to talk about it quite yet until we've figured some things out. My view of it is that I want everybody to enjoy the moment. There aren't that many moments like this in technology or gaming. People talk about there's so many unknowns and everyone wants to figure it out today. My view is, enjoy the ride. It doesn't happen that much," Howard says. "Maybe the iPhone and the advent of those kinds of smartphones or 3D acceleration and graphics cards. What was that...16 years ago? 18 years ago? 20 years ago? It doesn't happen that much. So I'm trying to preach to people around here, like, 'hey, enjoy this.' Everyone in the industry will figure it out together."

Howard concedes that VR is pricey, but so is most amazing new tech, and he's convinced of the power of VR to bring brand-new experiences to gamers. "I think that's how all things like that start. So it'll head in a direction where, tech-wise, it'll just get better and better and we'll figure it out. I don't want to predict - I've played some things that are pretty transformative and they're pretty amazing. Does that translate to every game or every type of game or everyday experiences? I don't know. I can't predict that right now. We're down to questions such as how do you move in that environment? How does it feel? It's certainly exciting," he says.



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  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    a little fairly unknown history regarding VR and companies owned by Zenimax.

    Zenimax told John Carmack that he could no longer work on VR projects when he was working there. They felt VR was not going anywhere and they didnt want to invest the money in such projects.

    Then a few years later they want to sue John Carmack, or Oculus, or Palamer or whichever I forget which.

    so...I think Zenimaxs dislike of VR most likely play a role in Bethesda's delay in this area.


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  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 12,381
    SEANMCAD said:
    a little fairly unknown history regarding VR and companies owned by Zenimax.

    Zenimax told John Carmack that he could no longer work on VR projects when he was working there. They felt VR was not going anywhere and they didnt want to invest the money in such projects.

    Then a few years later they want to sue John Carmack, or Oculus, or Palamer or whichever I forget which.

    so...I think Zenimaxs dislike of VR most likely play a role in Bethesda's delay in this area.



    Carmack: I left id because I couldn't work on VR

    Founder wanted to bring Wolfenstein, Doom 4 to Oculus Rift

    John Carmack, co-founder of id Software, has spoken about his reasons for leaving the ground-breaking developer - revealing that it was a lack of opportunity to work on virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift which convinced him to let his contract expire.

    Having joined Brendan Iribe's Oculus as a technical director in August 2013, Carmack had been working on the Rift headset, but still remained an active employee at id too. Seeing the opportunities presented by the Rift, Carmack tried to broker a deal between Oculus and id, in which he would continue to work for both. Also part of that deal was a plan to bring future id games, like Wolfenstein: The New Order and Doom 4, to the headset. When id's parent company Zenimax decided against that, Carmack made a difficult decision.

    It would have been a huge win," Carmack told USA Today. "It seemed like a sensible plan for me. I would have been content probably staying there working with the people and technology that I know and the work we were doing.

    "But they couldn't come together on that which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate. When it became clear that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id Software, I decided to not renew my contract."

    Whilst that doesn't necessarily mean that we'll never see Doom 4 working on a VR headset, the loss of an engineer of his status is a severe blow to the developer. Carmack called the decision "bittersweet", but remains optimistic about his new role.




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  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 20,018
    I like his comment about enjoying the new technology ride and seeing where that leads. So many, including some fans, want it to be something right here right now. That feels forced to me. The mobile phone, the smart phone, took about 10 years to become mainstream and mature. Give the tech time to find out how it will work and how people want to enjoy it, if they do.

    The Carmack thing was much deeper than VR. There were personal issues going on there and tied up in that was the non-compete/NDA "who owns this code" issue.
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  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Torval said:
    I like his comment about enjoying the new technology ride and seeing where that leads. So many, including some fans, want it to be something right here right now. That feels forced to me. The mobile phone, the smart phone, took about 10 years to become mainstream and mature. Give the tech time to find out how it will work and how people want to enjoy it, if they do.

    The Carmack thing was much deeper than VR. There were personal issues going on there and tied up in that was the non-compete/NDA "who owns this code" issue.
    1. smart phones too around 5 years or less to hit mainstream the adpotion on smart phones was very fast.


    2. the 'much deeper' part regarding 'who owns the code' doesnt change the fact that Zenimax didnt want people working on VR which is the point of what is being illustrated here, not if the lawsuit is valid or not

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  • Leon1eLeon1e Member UncommonPosts: 791
    edited March 2016
    The smartphone as you know it today did not take 10 years. It took Apple one year. Before Apple smartphones were dull and not developer/app friendly. Apple was the first that gave us large touch screens and app-centric environment. Smartphone revolution did not start with Android folks. It's the copycat in the grand scheme of things. 

    Secondly, I'm sure VR will eventually come around, however I don't think it will be in this decade, as much as some of you fanboys want it to happen. Atm it's too prices and provides little to the table. 

    VR today is nothing more than a smartphone screen and bunch of motion sensors and a software to tie all those together. VR today has exactly 0 computing power outside reading sensors. VR today requires your rig to power through and render for two. 

    The whole ideology is bad. 

    Now if those headsets came at the manufacturing price and required subscription and allowed you to stream games into the headset ala OnLive/nVidia GRID, i think we would've had a winner. People don't mind paying for Netflix. People won't mind paying for VR as well. 

    I actually have no clue why nVidia isn't investing in this. They are the only graphics vendor with the architecture required to achieve this. 
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Leon1e said:
    The smartphone as you know it today did not take 10 years. It took Apple one year. 

    Secondly, I'm sure VR will eventually come around, however I don't think it will be in this decade, as much as some of you fanboys want it to happen. Atm it's too prices and provides little to the table. 

    VR today is nothing more than a smartphone screen and bunch of motion sensors and a software to tie all those together. VR today has exactly 0 computing power outside reading sensors. VR today requires your rig to power through and render for two. 

    The whole ideology is bad. 

    Now if those headsets came at the manufacturing price and required subscription and allowed you to stream games into the headset ala OnLive/nVidia GRID, i think we would've had a winner. People don't mind paying for Netflix. People won't mind paying for VR as well. 
    to be fair given the massive amount of investment and the large number of large mega companies putting in serious dollars into content coming out like next year. i think it would have to complelete fail before it would fall into a 10 year to succcede category.

    These investors are clearly looking at short term

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  • tawesstawess Member EpicPosts: 4,191
    edited March 2016
    @Leon1e ; so apple shat out THE smartphone in a year but you think it will take 10 for VR.... That is a interesting contradiction. Also my nokia N series and my MotoRazr sort of like to have words with you about how long it took for the smartphone to come to market. 

    Now i don´t think it is unrealistic of expect it to take several years before VR is perfected (much like the smart phone) and i honestly do not think the price drop will be as drastic as some people think.

    But we already have at least one headset that aim to carry it´s own driveunit and we will see what microsoft and google manage to come up with for their AR units. Sure they only need about 1/10th of the power but it will be a good spot check to see where we are currently with miniaturization. 

    Tawess gaming

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    This have been a good conversation

  • Yoottos'HorgYoottos'Horg Member UncommonPosts: 297
    Once game developers start actively creating products for VR you will start to see them pick up in popularity. The problem right now is 1. There are no mass appeal games out there just yet 2. The cost is extremely high 3. There is no "front runner," though Rift seem to be the crown favorite right now.

    I think once a few games come out for a specific VR brand you will start to see #2 become less of an issue--look at how many people are willing to drop big money on a console/laptop/etc--and #3 will start to pan out.
  • Leon1eLeon1e Member UncommonPosts: 791
    edited March 2016
    tawess said:
    @Leon1e ; so apple shat out THE smartphone in a year but you think it will take 10 for VR.... That is a interesting contradiction. Also my nokia N series and my MotoRazr sort of like to have words with you about how long it took for the smartphone to come to market. 

    Now i don´t think it is unrealistic of expect it to take several years before VR is perfected (much like the smart phone) and i honestly do not think the price drop will be as drastic as some people think.

    But we already have at least one headset that aim to carry it´s own driveunit and we will see what microsoft and google manage to come up with for their AR units. Sure they only need about 1/10th of the power but it will be a good spot check to see where we are currently with miniaturization. 
    Motorola have always been a subpar phone manufacturer. Nokia ruled the world thanks to their, wait for it, smartphones! But the smartphone back then was more of a beta version of the smartphone today. Symbian was a bad platform. Have you actually tried write apps for symbian? Also you can't compare 3.5" touchphone to 4" phone that has like ... 2 inches of display and 2 inches of keys. The difference between your motorazr and nokian n and the iphone is ... well they are not even the same class..... and if you don't see this then you are too young to remember. 

    When I was a kid Siemens C35 and Nokia 3310 were HYPE. So that's that. 

    And I proposed 10 years because the VR in 10 years won't be anything like it is today. This is why today's VR won't go mainstream. 

    Let's be realistic. Pricetag aside. Even if they sold the headset for 50-100 you'd still need to sink a good 1000-1500 bucks in your PC. 

    Have you seen Rift/Vive minimum sys req?
  • Leon1eLeon1e Member UncommonPosts: 791
    edited March 2016
    Also can somebody actually explain to me where all this investment money the Rift has taken are going to? Testing/manufacturing aside they did hire bunch of high profile programmers like John Carmack, who has been reported in this thread. 

    Now ... What kind of software are they really doing? Both nVidia AND AMD have their own APIs for VR which would effectively turn the headset into a different monitor o.O

    Are they simply writing a driver that would work with most GPUs? Is this where the millions of dollars are going at?

    Hell the latest Oculus SDK has a "direct driver mode" which is basically allowing the GPU to render onto the headset. 

    What the actual F *guys? 
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Leon1e said:
    Also can somebody actually explain to me where all this investment money the Rift has taken are going to? Testing/manufacturing aside they did hire bunch of high profile programmers like John Carmack, who has been reported in this thread. 

    Now ... What kind of software are they really doing? Both nVidia AND AMD have their own APIs for VR which would effectively turn the headset into a different monitor o.O

    Are they simply writing a driver that would work with most GPUs? Is this where the millions of dollars are going at?

    Hell the latest Oculus SDK has a "direct driver mode" which is basically allowing the GPU to render onto the headset. 

    What the actual F *guys? 
    I feel very confident that Facebook knows where all this money is going. and as a side note they are selling the devices at or near 'at cost to make'

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  • immodiumimmodium Member RarePosts: 2,604
    SEANMCAD said:
    2. the 'much deeper' part regarding 'who owns the code' doesnt change the fact that Zenimax didnt want people working on VR which is the point of what is being illustrated here, not if the lawsuit is valid or not
    What John Carmack wanted to do was devote time to IDs older games (Doom, Quake) and making them VR experiences.

    I understand Zenimax not wanting to waste time on Oculus Rift/VR just yet and Howard Todd wanting to see where it goes first.

    image
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    immodium said:
    SEANMCAD said:
    2. the 'much deeper' part regarding 'who owns the code' doesnt change the fact that Zenimax didnt want people working on VR which is the point of what is being illustrated here, not if the lawsuit is valid or not
    What John Carmack wanted to do was devote time to IDs older games (Doom, Quake) and making them VR experiences.

    I understand Zenimax not wanting to waste time on Oculus Rift/VR just yet and Howard Todd wanting to see where it goes first.
    Ok we can agree to disagree on that business choice. I am more on Johns Carmacks side regarding that specific decision

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  • tawesstawess Member EpicPosts: 4,191
    Leon1e said:

    Motorola have always been a subpar phone manufacturer. Nokia ruled the world thanks to their, wait for it, smartphones! But the smartphone back then was more of a beta version of the smartphone today. Symbian was a bad platform. Have you actually tried write apps for symbian? Also you can't compare 3.5" touchphone to 4" phone that has like ... 2 inches of display and 2 inches of keys. The difference between your motorazr and nokian n and the iphone is ... well they are not even the same class..... and if you don't see this then you are too young to remember. 

    When I was a kid Siemens C35 and Nokia 3310 were HYPE. So that's that. 

    And I proposed 10 years because the VR in 10 years won't be anything like it is today. This is why today's VR won't go mainstream. 

    Let's be realistic. Pricetag aside. Even if they sold the headset for 50-100 you'd still need to sink a good 1000-1500 bucks in your PC. 

    Have you seen Rift/Vive minimum sys req?
    That does not mean that the smartphone of today just plopped out of thin air... yeah.. it took about 10 years for the smartphone to get to a place where it deserved to be called a smartphone. 

    But feature for feature my N95 could do what a iphone can... at a drastically lower resolution ofc =P 

    We will se the same kind of evolution of VR, that i agree with but i do not think it will take 10+ years to get there. Five maybe. It all depends on where the lines of miniaturization and power demand cross. 

    Tawess gaming

    Tawess soapbox

    This have been a good conversation

  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Leon1e said:


    Let's be realistic. Pricetag aside. Even if they sold the headset for 50-100 you'd still need to sink a good 1000-1500 bucks in your PC. 

    Have you seen Rift/Vive minimum sys req?
    here is a serious problem I have with gamers.

    when suggested specs come out for The DIvision that are pretty much exactly the same as for the rift nobody blinks an eye.

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  • KajidourdenKajidourden Member EpicPosts: 3,025

    VR Elder Scrolls......one day.

  • Big.Daddy.SamediBig.Daddy.Samedi Member UncommonPosts: 293
    Leon1e said:
    Also can somebody actually explain to me where all this investment money the Rift has taken are going to? Testing/manufacturing aside they did hire bunch of high profile programmers like John Carmack, who has been reported in this thread. 

    Now ... What kind of software are they really doing? Both nVidia AND AMD have their own APIs for VR which would effectively turn the headset into a different monitor o.O

    Are they simply writing a driver that would work with most GPUs? Is this where the millions of dollars are going at?

    Hell the latest Oculus SDK has a "direct driver mode" which is basically allowing the GPU to render onto the headset. 

    What the actual F *guys? 
    You do know that on top of developers they are paying support staff. They already have technical support people assist with troubleshooting and have for a year at least. I know.. I worked there (but not on the OR side unfortunately)


  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Leon1e said:
    Also can somebody actually explain to me where all this investment money the Rift has taken are going to? Testing/manufacturing aside they did hire bunch of high profile programmers like John Carmack, who has been reported in this thread. 

    Now ... What kind of software are they really doing? Both nVidia AND AMD have their own APIs for VR which would effectively turn the headset into a different monitor o.O

    Are they simply writing a driver that would work with most GPUs? Is this where the millions of dollars are going at?

    Hell the latest Oculus SDK has a "direct driver mode" which is basically allowing the GPU to render onto the headset. 

    What the actual F *guys? 
    You do know that on top of developers they are paying support staff. They already have technical support people assist with troubleshooting and have for a year at least. I know.. I worked there (but not on the OR side unfortunately)

    they also very likely have an army of accountants from Facebook watching them

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  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 20,018
    Yeah, the iphone wasn't when "smartphones" were birthed. That's like saying WoW was the first MMO.

    Mainstream adoption of the mobile phone and the smartphone took about a decade. Mobile phones were birthed in the early 80s. The Blackberry was in the late 90s (98 or 99 I think). The iphone was around 2007 with Android around 2008.

    It took mobile phones much more than a decade to see mainstream adoption and smartphones about a decade to see mainstream adoption. Say smartphones went mainstream a year or two after the iphone was introduced, and really with the advent of Android is when that started so more like 2008/2009. That would put mainstream smartphone adoption at about a decade.

    Really smartphones didn't see mainstream adoption (everyone needing and having one) until about 2010. It wasn't common before that. Most people still had flip phones. So about 27 years after the smartphone was introduced it hit the "everyone needs and has one" phase which is mainstream adoption.

    It took that long and several hardware generations before users said, "This works for me." VR like Vive, Rift, etc will take a few years before they mature in the same way.
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  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Torval said:
    Yeah, the iphone wasn't when "smartphones" were birthed. That's like saying WoW was the first MMO.

    Mainstream adoption of the mobile phone and the smartphone took about a decade. Mobile phones were birthed in the early 80s. The Blackberry was in the late 90s (98 or 99 I think). The iphone was around 2007 with Android around 2008......
    kinda like VR

    very slow movement in technology until some specific sets of new discoveries escalate the progress rapidly.

    pretty much hit it dead on

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  • AgnharAgnhar Member UncommonPosts: 105
    Elder Scrolls VI with VR would probably be the only reason why i would buy VR, just the thought makes me drool.
  • GrumpyHobbitGrumpyHobbit Member RarePosts: 1,220
    Leon1e said:
    The smartphone as you know it today did not take 10 years. It took Apple one year. 
    Have to disagree with this statement. 

    When I was working at Erikssons between 97 and 01 I got to see the research labs and they were working of some pretty incredible idea's. You might think it took Apple a year to do but the technology was being developed for many years prior to when Apple got lucky. 
  • SEANMCADSEANMCAD Member EpicPosts: 16,775
    Leon1e said:
    The smartphone as you know it today did not take 10 years. It took Apple one year. 
    Have to disagree with this statement. 

    When I was working at Erikssons between 97 and 01 I got to see the research labs and they were working of some pretty incredible idea's. You might think it took Apple a year to do but the technology was being developed for many years prior to when Apple got lucky. 
    the same was true for VR as it was for cellphones.

    VR was tried in the 90s but limited technology at the time held it back, then specific technologies that came about around 2005 made it possible for smartphones to explode in popularity.

    I mixed examples for clear illustrastion

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  • Leon1eLeon1e Member UncommonPosts: 791
    edited March 2016
    Leon1e said:
    The smartphone as you know it today did not take 10 years. It took Apple one year. 
    Have to disagree with this statement. 

    When I was working at Erikssons between 97 and 01 I got to see the research labs and they were working of some pretty incredible idea's. You might think it took Apple a year to do but the technology was being developed for many years prior to when Apple got lucky. 
    There is no luck in anything Apple is doing. They are one of the most calculating companies. That's why their stock is so expensive. They redefined the smartphone in 2007, not in 97 for a reason. They might not be outselling android sales but their platform generates more income. And no, not a fanboi. I have a Lumia 950 myself. Thanks. On a sidenote I also had this massive ericsson waterproof phone with a massive rubber antennae at the time xD You could kill a person with it. Some tough shit right there xD 

    And in a way, yes, WoW is the first MMO. Thanks to that it still has millions of subscribers. They were the ones that got the MMO right. 

    VR will be mainstream. However it is at the level of ultima online alpha atm. It's expensive and it needs a lot of development still. 

    And yes, The Division has high specs. But you can lower the graphics to medium and play perfectly fine on a 5 year old PC with 40-50 fps. You can't do that in VR. Some of the VR APIs only work with latest and greatest hardware too. AMD even only supports Rift/Vive. Every other manufacturer is basically ... meh xD

    And if 600-700 dollars is "close to manufacturing" price then they've picked shitty suppliers. In comparison, creating a Samsung S7 Edge costs 264$ this includes assembly price. And It's an actual phone with Snapdragon 820 SoC which is the most advanced mobile chip on the market as of today. Beats the Apple A9 atm. 

    P.S: Has someone actually done a teardown of Vive/Rift? I highly doubt the manufacturing costs are even close to 200$

    Lulz, The Rift's display is literally the front panel of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It even contains the touchscreen controller. xDD 
  • Solar_ProphetSolar_Prophet Member EpicPosts: 1,956
    Leon1e said:
    The smartphone as you know it today did not take 10 years. It took Apple one year. 
    Have to disagree with this statement. 

    When I was working at Erikssons between 97 and 01 I got to see the research labs and they were working of some pretty incredible idea's. You might think it took Apple a year to do but the technology was being developed for many years prior to when Apple got lucky. 
    Exactly. Much of the technology behind MacOS GUI had already been developed by Xerox, as was a working 'paperless' office setup. The thing even had a touch screen, IIRC. 

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