If you’ve worked in the VR industry for a while, Jason Rubin will no doubt be a familiar face. He joined Facebook as Head of Studios for Oculus in 2014 and led the team that brought the first wave of VR content to Oculus headsets.
Prior to that, Rubin’s 35-year career also included co-founding Naughty Dog in 1984, where he co-created the ‘Crash Bandicoot’ and ‘Jak and Daxter’ series before the company was sold to Sony Computer. Entertainment.
Most recently, Rubin served as Vice President of Gaming at Facebook, working on all Facebook Play Platform initiatives, including cloud gaming. Today, he leads Metaverse Content at Meta, including all first-party studios, game development, experiments, and publishing for the Reality Labs team.
We caught up with Rubin just the day before Meta Quest Gaming Showcase 2022 to share his thoughts on VR as a maturing medium, what development rules need to be broken, and whether VR is a contender for new consoles. generation.
Back in February, we shared that over 60 titles on the Quest platform generate millions in revenue. A year later, that number is now over 120.
Q: It should be noted that many of the titles featured in the showcase are sequels. Is this a sign that VR games are becoming more established?
A: The growth of sequels is really a sign that VR games are becoming more established. It’s also a sign that developers are finding real success in VR to double down and create VR-focused franchises. They’re taking what they’ve learned – some dating back to the early days of Rift – to create more ambitious titles.
In January, Skydance announced that The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners had reached $60 million in overall revenue across all devices. A few months ago, we shared that over $1 billion had been spent on games and apps in the Quest store. We now have over 17 titles grossing over $5 million, 14 titles grossing over $10 million, and 8 titles grossing over $20 million on the Quest Store.
We’re also seeing that success is spread across more developers. Back in February, we shared that over 60 titles on the Quest platform generate millions in revenue. A year later, that number is now over 120, twice as many as the previous year. Pretty impressive considering we’ve shipped around 400 apps to the store. This ratio is very difficult to find in other markets. 60% of all Quest titles are games – the vast majority of which are revenue generated.
The growth of VR games is the driving force behind new franchises and studios entering VR and existing ones returning to create new experiences.
We are still in the early days of discovering all that virtual reality can do.
Q: Which Showcase games have you played the most?
A: I’m really curious how Among Us plays in VR. Not picking favorites bothers you, but I think this title can really hit a new high in VR, and so on an intellectual level, that one really got me excited.
Q: Among Us doesn’t seem like an obvious candidate for a VR release; what are you looking for in a title?
A: That’s a tough question, because we’re still in the early days of discovering all that VR can do. Sometimes we look to bring an established franchise to VR where we think it will shine. Sometimes we look for new ideas that have never been seen before and that only virtual reality allows. And sometimes we just get an amazing pitch or a finished title from a developer and have to see it come to fruition.
I think over time almost all the rules of VR development techniques will be broken.
Q: Moss’ Quill has definitely become one of our favorite characters, VR or otherwise. Which is odd, because we remember being told that third-person games wouldn’t work in VR. What other “rules” of VR development do you think should be broken?
A: I think over time almost all the rules of VR development techniques will be broken – or at least bent. For example, in the early years of development, we were quite strict that there was no artificial locomotion (moving with the controller rather than the body). But then an Echo VR prototype wowed even the sweetest stomachs in the business. If the rules cannot be broken, developers will find ways to achieve the same effect without breaking the rule.
I’ve never seen so many gaming brands and franchises excited about building for VR.
Q: Other than Capcom’s Resident Evil, the showcase lacks major game franchises. Was it by choice or are the big brands still reluctant to commit? If so, what will make them change their minds?
A: In all the years I’ve worked in VR, I’ve never seen so many game brands and franchises excited about creating for VR. The showcase features some of the biggest brands we’ve ever showcased at a VR event: NFL, Among Us, Resident Evil, plus another surprise title we’re saving for the end of the show.
Knowing that the VR community is hungry for more content to play, we’ve prioritized games scheduled to launch next year. That said, there are plenty of amazing games still in development that aren’t in the showcase. Some are launching this year and just weren’t ready to stream yet. Some are further away.
[Ed: Read our Resident Evil developer interview here.]
Q: It’s great to see an official NFL game for VR. Are there ambitions to make it an esport?
A: It’s huge for VR to get its first officially licensed NFL game. We’ve seen esports form around certain VR games, but for that to happen you need a game with the right format and of course the large, passionate community that comes with any competitive scene. I can’t wait to see how far the StatusPro team will take the NFL Pro Era.
VR games will augment the ways we play games today, not replace them.
Q: The new home environment is nice. Will they eventually be some sort of pathway to or through the metaverse?
A: Yes, at Connect we announced Horizon Home, a new update to the existing Home experience, which will serve as a social space where you can bring friends to hang out, watch videos together or jump into games. It’s part of our first vision for the Metaverse – a home environment that feels more alive, whether it’s hanging out with friends or enjoying new experiences together.
Q: Quest 2 is our next-gen console, instead of PlayStation or Xbox. Do you think that could become the norm, is that a goal and what would it take to make that happen?
A: VR games will augment the ways we play games today, not replace them.
And this fact is not specific to virtual reality, but to new gaming platforms that have emerged over the years. At one time many people were saying that PC games were going to die out, or mobile games would replace consoles and now we can look back and see that’s just not true. New game mediums continue to pile on those that came before and unlock fundamentally new ways to play and interact.
It’s one of the many things that makes games a different entertainment medium than music or television. It’s important to keep this in mind when talking about VR, or any new gaming platform for that matter.
Read our report to learn more about the games featured in the 2022 Meta Quest Gaming Showcase.