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Oculus of Facebook will never break: co-founder Jack McCauley

Jack McCauley was one of six co-founders of Oculus, but he is also one of his biggest bears. He told CNBC that he did not think there was a market for video games in virtual reality.

Jack McCauley

Five years after the $ 2 billion purchase of Oculus, Facebook is continuing its efforts to bring virtual reality to a mainstream audience.

But one of the six co-founders of the company now doubts that Oculus will succeed in breaking through.

Jack McCauley told CNBC that he did not think that there is a real market for virtual reality games. While Facebook is positioning its Oculus devices primarily as gaming machines, McCauley does not believe that there is a significant market for this device.

"If we were to sell, we would have sold," McCauley said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

McCauley, who left Oculus in November 2015, said the sales of the aircraft he was working on were modest. The first DK1, released in 2013, is sold at 70,000 units, while the 2014 DK2 tracking has sold 150,000, he said.

Sales have increased with the new devices, but Oculus has not been successful yet.

The Oculus Go, worth $ 199, has sold just over 2 million units since its release in May 2018, according to estimates provided by the firm's Market research SuperData, a Nielsen group company. The Oculus Quest, released in May, has sold to nearly 1.1 million units, while the Oculus Rift has sold 547,000 since the beginning of 2018, according to Superdata.

As a comparison, Sony sold 17.8 million PlayStation 4 units in its 2018 fiscal year, while Nintendo sold nearly 17 million Switch units during its 2018 fiscal year. Microsoft broke out not sales of Xbox One units.

In May, Facebook launched two new headsets, the computer-powered Oculus Quest ($ 399) and Oculus Rift S ($ 399), which are also looking to buy gaming studios and sign exclusive agreements to strengthen the Oculus toy library, according to a report. this week by The Information.

But McCauley, who worked on both developer versions of Oculus and stayed via Facebook's acquisition of the company in March 2014, said that many fundamental problems remained unresolved with the game being played. VR.

First, many people still feel nauseous when they put on a virtual reality headset, McCauley said. And many people prefer to play video games with their friends on a 2-D screen, McCauley added.

"Video games have not become a 3D experience for a number of reasons," he said. "I do not know what kind of application it would be for virtual reality that would allow players to stay connected for six hours, as they do with game consoles."

McCauley is a veteran of the video game industry. He worked on "Guitar Hero" for Activision, Xbox 360 for Microsoft and Electronic Arts before co-founding Oculus.

"You put it on, and there's a lot of" Wow! "To that, but then what do you do with it?" McCauley said. "Even when I was there, I thought people would not wear a helmet and take it in public."

Facebook has enough money to continue investing in Oculus as it has been doing for five years, but McCauley thinks it would be a waste of money after this one.

"I may be wrong, but I have been doing it for a long time," he said. "I've already done a lot of what people are doing in terms of error, you have your instinct, and it tells you if you're right or wrong." And in that case, I think I'm wrong. I am right. "

Since leaving in November 2015, McCauley has had a life in semi-retirement. He is an innovator in residence at Berkeley's Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation and he continues to build all kinds of devices, such as a firearm able to shoot drones, in his own research and development center. .

Facebook declined to comment.

WATCH: CNBC interview with Oculus co-founder, Palmer Luckey

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