5 Jul 2024 | Mike Boland
AWE Talks: Lessons from VR Visionaries
AWE USA 2024

Header Photo Credit: Anshel Sag 

Welcome back to AWE Talks, our series that revisits the best of AWE’s conference sessions. With AWE USA 2024 recently concluded, we have a fresh batch of footage to keep us busy for weeks to come. 

We continue the action this week with a look at VR visionaries. In a much-anticipated session, Palmer Luckey, Darshan Shankar, and Stephanie Riggs reflect on the biggest lessons from pioneering careers in VR. 

See the summarized takeaways below, along with the full session video. Stay tuned for more video highlights each week and check out the full library of AWE USA 2024 sessions on AWE’s YouTube Channel.

Palmer Luckey
Darshan Shankar
Stephanie Riggs

– What are the biggest lessons from early pioneers in VR?
   – For one, seek good advice and don't be afraid to pivot from an initial path.
– Palmer Luckey first started Oculus as a DIY kit to build your own VR headset.
   – He was dissuaded from that approach by Game Newell, Jon Carmack, and others. 
   – It turns out that software developers don't want to build their own hardware.
   – This was a good move, as the fully-formed Oculus DK-1 massively outsold the DIY kit.
– When seeking wisdom from other visionaries, there are also important dos and don'ts.
   – For example, seek advice from specialists in a given problem area, not generalists.
   – Also, be direct with specific questions rather than vague requests to have coffee. 
   – And if you're young, lean into that advantage, as everyone wants to help a wiz kid. 
   – Also do your homework when seeking advice. Demonstrate that you're serious.
– Similarly, when building XR products, study everything you can about past innovations.
   – You don't want to be repeating mistakes others have made... only make new mistakes.
   – Fortunately, the more time that passes, the more XR history there is to study. 
   – XR hopefuls today also have more underlying tech to stand on, versus 10 years ago.
– Also important: know as much of the stack as possible for better perspective. 
   – Knowing hardware makes you a better software developer, and vice versa. 
   – Bigscreen Beyond, for example, was propelled by the company's work in software. 
– Lastly, it's a good reminder that VR is not the disappointment it's sometimes framed as.
   – This misperception is due to overblown expectations from the scale of smartphones.
   – But VR is strong in its own right, evidenced by Gorilla Tag's 1-million active users.
   – VR headsets exceed a 20-million installed base, beating historical icons like N64.
   – Annual VR sales also now exceed the first two years of iPhone sales. 
   – Altogether, VR is in a strong position due to massive progress over the past decade. 

For more color, see the full video below...

  Want more XR insights and multimedia? ARtillery Intelligence offers an indexed and searchable library of XR intelligence known as ARtillery Pro. See more here.  

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