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Preposterift: Oculus Wants To Build One Billion Person MMO

It will take place in the city of Metroculus and you'll be waging ceaseless battle against the nefarious Doctor Oculus.

If I were a videogame exec, I would spend all my time saying the most outrageous things possible in an attempt to get silly reporters like ROCK PAPER SHOTGUN’S NATHAN GRAYSON to write about me in a tone of mock-incredulity. I would say things like “one billion person MMO” and “space game where everybody is an owl so they’re all owlstronauts haha but seriously one trillion microtransactions.” If I stuck with the former, I would be Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe. I would be very handsome.

Apparently Oculus is working on an MMO that would leverage every technology available – PC, mobile, everything else maybe ever – to create an MMO for one billion people. He explained his company’s plan at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference (as attended by The Guardian):

“This is going to be an MMO where we want to put 1 billion people in VR. It’s going to take a bigger network than exists in the world today.”

“If you let go, you can have a real conversation with a person. That’s the holy grail we’re trying to get to.”

There’s a hair over one billion smart phone and PC users in the world, but convincing a majority of them to shell out for VR goggles that look less Facebook and more Facebrick? That’s an incredibly tall order even with Facebook’s full 1.23 billion-person infrastructure in the mix. At least, right now. Iribe admitted, however, that this MMO – which would eclipse genre frontrunners like World of Warcraft by an order of magnitude, or even the likes of Farmville and League of Legends – is quite a ways out. Oculus plans to focus on more traditional games first.

Of course, all of this assumes that Oculus’ game development projects are even any good in the first place, and at the moment it’s all question marks on that front. Who, aside from the ever-controversial John Carmack, will Oculus even hire? And what sort of central activity would even make one billion people flock to an MMO? I feel like the appeal of chatting in a shared VR space – no matter how immaculately rendered – would get old pretty quickly, especially if fully fleshed out universes like EVE Online sport that kind of functionality on top of everything else.

I’m all for ambitions, but this isn’t pie in the sky or even in the stars. This is pie in another dimension where pie hasn’t been sighted in thousands of years. Pie is just a myth. There is a crazy cult religion that’s formed around it. They speak in awed whispers of tales from the Pieble.

It’s nice to dream, though. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to making my “which videogame exec are you?” BuzzFeed quiz.

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Nathan Grayson

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