The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, created by Facebook subsidiary Oculus VR, will be capable of showcasing pornography and other X-rated material.
Oculus was asked about censorship of such content at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference in San Jose, CA. Founder Palmer Luckey answered by stating that “the rift is an open platform. We don’t control what software can run on it… and that’s a big deal.” Meanwhile, other members of Luckey’s panel avoided addressing mature content, as well as possible physical ailments that Oculus users could experience; Google, Samsung, and Sixense representatives instead discussed affordability and availability of virtual reality mobile devices.
The openness of the Oculus Rift marks a shift away from an authoritarian nature that has concerned some in the gaming industry. In particular, Luckey’s announcement could be seen as a victory for supporters of the #GamerGate campaign, who stand against video game censorship. If the founder maintains this vision, game developers will be able to release content for the Oculus Rift without needing to fear content-based policing.
Oculus VR’s endorsement of free speech reflects a sentiment expressed by the CEO of its owner, Facebook. Addressing the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack earlier in 2015, Mark Zuckerberg stated that “you can’t kill an idea.” While the removal of posts due to violation of “community standards” makes it debatable whether or not Facebook incorporates this attitude in its daily monitoring of the social medium, Luckey’s plan for the Oculus VR seems in-line with Zuckerberg’s values.
Luckey announced that the Oculus Rift should be available for purchase during the first quarter of 2016, with pre-orders starting in late 2015. Its predicted price is $200.
Follow Rob Shimshock on Twitter @Xylyntial.