Zuckerberg During Facebook Financial Call – Oculus Needs to Sell 100 Million Units to Be ‘Meaningful’

Posted by at 5:27 pm on October 30, 2014

OculusDuring the earnings call for third quarter financial results, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave further information on the expectations of the Oculus Rift, including the path he sees Oculus traveling in the future. While no exact information was stated about a consumer release, Zuckerberg said it could take years for the technology to be “meaningful.”

At the 28 minute mark on the call, Analyst Ben Schachter prompted the comments when he asked Zuckerberg for an update on the plans Facebook has for Oculus. Schachter referenced the 10-year plan the Facebook CEO mentioned at the start of the call, asking if consumers shouldn’t expect a consumer release of the virtual reality headset in the next two years.

Under his earlier comments, Zuckerberg said that Facebook was making a long-term bet on Oculus, believing that it is a part of the next “major computing platform.” With Oculus making “progress towards this vision” as seen with the newest Crescent Bay prototype and developer conference, Facebook realizes that it will take time for the investment to reach its “full impact,” especially with Oculus in its early stages.

To answer Schachter’s question, Zuckerberg put emphasis on idea that Facebook is focusing on accelerating the growth of Oculus. He added that it could take years for Oculus to get to the point of being a full-fledged computer platform, needing to sell millions of units to achieve it.

“I don’t think that this is going to be–it needs to reach a very large scale, 50 million to 100 million units, before it’ll really be a very meaningful thing as a computing platform, so I do think it’s going to take a bunch of years to get there,” said Zuckerberg. “Maybe–I don’t know, it’s hard to predict exactly, but I don’t think it’s going to get to 50 million or 100 million units in the next few years. That’ll take a few cycles of the device to get there, and that’s kind of what I’m talking about.”

It isn’t that Facebook is just looking to produce a product in 10 years, but rather create an entire business for the future. Talking about the plan progression, Zuckerberg says it will take an investment in time to build an ecosystem around Oculus. The beginning is constructing the first devices, then building an audience. Only after the devices sell millions to become “meaningful” does the potential for a business and ecosystem emerge, or as Zuckerberg puts it, “that’s when it starts to be interesting.” With Oculus Rift only passing 100,000 developer unit sales as of third quarter.

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