Oculus co-founder says Rift headset will support Mac if Apple ‘ever releases a good computer’

Patrick O'Rourke

March 3, 2016 2:36pm

As expected, it seems like the Oculus Rift won’t be coming to Apple computers any time soon.

In a recent interview with ShackNews, Palmer Luckey, Oculus Rift’s co-founder, said that his company has no plans to release a version of its virtual reality headset that’s compatible with Mac computers, until Apple “releases a good computer.”

While this is a harsh statement, Luckey has a point. Despite their superior build quality and generally impressive asthenic, Apple device’s aren’t exactly known as high-end hardware powerhouses.

“It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn’t prioritize high-end GPUs. You can buy a $6,000 Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn’t match our recommended specs,” said Luckey, expanding on his initial statement.

This news shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who have been following the burgeoning virtual reality industry. Last year, Atman Binstock, chief architect at Oculus, said in a blog post that the Rift will only be compatible with computers running Windows 7 SP1 and newer.

SourceShackNews
  • jay

    I think Apple doesn’t care they will make there own VR in 2017 when its ready for mainstream

    • ChrisPollard77

      I suspect you are absolutely right. But maybe more 2018 … just enough time for people to forget they didn’t invent it, making it more magical.

    • Raj Singh

      No way, man. Apple definitely invented VR, just like they invested phones, cars and touchscreens.

    • Ahsan Rai

      dont forget the pencil

    • downhilldude

      And fire…I think they’ve applied for a patent on that.

    • Ryan Bastien

      That doesn’t really contradict what he’s saying though. VR has high system requirements, they would still need beef up their systems to run a decent VR experience.

    • Unorthodox

      Who cares Apple iEye will run in 320×200 resolution. They’ll say your brain will adapt and complete the experience and their customers will believe it. Just as they believed for years that “retina” display is superior to FHD. Why do you want them to put extra performance for extra few thousands pixels, if their “scientists” proved that your brain can’t perceive those?

    • hardy83

      And they’ll sell it for $1500, be no better than Samsung Gear and it’ll be the most successful VR device on the market. lol

      … T-T

    • jay

      maybe. for sure its a lot money nothing from apple is cheap but last long.

  • HelloCDN

    Apple hasn’t been known as a company that supports high-end graphics.

  • jellmoo

    This really isn’t a surprise. The Rift requires a pretty high end desktop GPU. Most Macs out there these days tend to be either laptops or all in one iMacs.

    The same can be said of most Windows laptops. The vast majority, even gaming ones, won’t be beefy enough. The only real exceptions will be ones that offer a peripheral that allows for a desktop GPU, like the Alienware one.

  • alphaswift

    Oh SNAP!

  • Tech Guru

    But they’re pro machines……

  • norsem4n

    Don’t worry, Thunderbolt 3 is on it’s way using USB-C.

    Expect this on the new Macs coming later in 2016 as well as the new i7 NUCs, Skull Canyon has to offer. I know I am. 🙂

    I just cancelled my 6260 i5 and am waiting on the new model i7 NUC coming in Q2.

    • Brad Fortin

      Current Thunderbolt 3 controllers only offer 4 PCIe lanes, not enough to run the high-end cards required for the Rift.

    • norsem4n

      Can you please provide a source? I thought 4 PCIe lanes would be enough. That is crazy if you’re right.

      I ordered a Samsung S7 Edge and it comes with the VR, so I am not too bummed I guess. :p

    • Brad Fortin

      Does MobileSyrup allow links yet?

      Wikipedia article for Thunderbolt: “Intel offers three versions of the controller: one “DP” version that uses a PCIe 3.0 ×4 link to provide two Thunderbolt 3 ports (DSL6540); one “SP” version that uses a PCIe 3.0 ×4 link to provide one Thunderbolt 3 port (DSL6340); and another “LP” (Low Power) version that uses a PCIe 3.0 ×2 link to provide one Thunderbolt 3 port (JHL6240).

      So we’ll probably have to wait until Intel’s Kaby Lake or Cannonlake chips to see an updated Thunderbolt controller with more lanes.

    • Adam

      Benchmarks of the Fury X and 980 Ti (both of which are above the RIft’s recommended specs) show no major performance difference between 4x and 16x PCIe 3.0.

    • Brad Fortin

      Really? That sounds pretty sweet. I hope it leads to a market for external GPUs over the next few years.

  • Jeff Brassard

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…. awesome. I love it when people take shots at Apple, whether apple deserves it or not.

    • downhilldude

      They deserve it. They ALWAYS deserve it…

  • Rumble and Sway

    The Rift is essentially a novelty item that few need let alone can afford. I fail to see the appeal of this regardless what the dooshbag CEO thinks

    • thomas nguyen

      on the flip side, just because you can’t, doesn’t mean others don’t see an appeal or use for this new technology.

    • Rumble and Sway

      Actually it’s more a case that I wouldn’t waste my money on this. In fact no one needs this tech or the high end computer hardware to power it. It’s a “toy” for those who are couch potatoes with cash they want to burn and are afraid to experience the real world out there.

      Reminds me of 3D TV and that never went anywhere either. I doubt this will fair much better

    • Lyndon Boychuk

      Geez man…attempt some imagination at least. I’m not saying Oculus is the OEM that will power our VR future, but the tech behind virtual and augmented reality is progressing at such a pace I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up embracing the concept at some point in life.

    • TrickyDickie

      Yeah, they will… When Apple ‘invent’ it lol

    • Unorthodox

      Just the mere fact that this tech can help revitalize PC market is enough to justify it’s existence.

    • thereasoner

      The Oculus Rift is actually more affordable than the HTC Vive Pre that recently sold 15,000 units in just its first 10 minutes on sale despite costing some $1,150 CND and still requiring a high end gaming computer to power it. The tech is actually getting a lot of consumer interest and you can get in on it for entry level for cheap or you can spend big.

      The amount of applications for the tech seems limitless and goes well beyond VR gaming, 360 degree video and photos. It’s being used in live broadcasts now, the Daytona 500 being a recent one and its even showing up in amusement parks so roller-coaster riders can change their viewing experience while on the ride. The prices and computer required do make high end VR gear expensive at present but that will come down fast starting with Sony releasing it’s own VR headset that works on the PS4 later this year, no gaming computer required .

      In the meantime my wife and I are loving our $139 Samsung Gear VR, it’s an awesome entry level VR experience for the price!

    • blzd

      Buying a Mac is also essentially a novelty. Those who buy them are willing to spend a lot more money then they need to, kind of like early VR adopters.

      It’s a fair comparison IMO.

    • nonenone22

      *than

  • Brad Fortin

    Wait, let me get this straight: The Oculus Rift, which has a resolution of ‎2160×1200 (total of ~2.6 million pixels), can’t be powered by dual AMD D700’s with 12 GB of VRAM despite being able to simultaneously power three 5K displays (total of ~44.2 million pixels)? This isn’t adding up.

    • Columbo

      The butthurt is strong with this one.

    • southerndinner

      He’s an apologist for the ages

    • Brad Fortin

      lol

      It is a genuine question, though. Clearly it isn’t a power issue if the Mac Pro can drive 10x as many pixels as the Rift requires.

    • blzd

      Just in case you’re not joking, pushing 2D pixels to a screen is not comparable to rendering 3D scenes in real time.

    • Brad Fortin

      We’re not trying to get the D700’s to play at native 5K resolution, we’re trying to get it to run at 2K. The R9 290, the minimum card on the Rift’s requirement list, only runs about 15% faster than a single D700, and since the Mac Pro has dual D700’s it performs better than the R9 290, so it’s not that it’s not powerful enough.

      Granted, the number of Macs users who happen to own that particular config is miniscule and not worth the development effort, so I can understand the market being too small, but I’m not buying the lack-of-power argument.

    • Dave Nunez

      The Firepro cards are optimized for content creation (highres 2D and GPU compute), not real-time 3D rendering. So yeah it can display multiple pretty 5K desktop backgrounds and do video rendering tasks just fine; but it’ll still suck at games.

      Gaming performance wise, the D700 comes in close to the Radeon R9 380X GPU. Still outclassed by a $200 desktop gaming GPU.

  • It’s Me

    Didn’t Carmack join Oculus? He used to make almost identical comments about Apple and would show up at Apple keynotes on stage. Making such comments got Carmack noticed at Apple and he worked with them pretty closely at times (because they respected him and his comments were so intentionally over the top). Seems like he’s had an influence on Luckey.

  • It’s funny he said that because Wall street has compared VR to the iPhone’s initial launch in 2007 and how it would be a big deal years from now.

    • Mr Dog

      VR on phones maybe. But the Oculus is far from reaching a wide spread audience. Unless the general public is willing to spend $300+ on a graphics card.

    • exactly. Phones will catch on in the next 4 years. PC’s VR’s will likely take up to 7 and more likely become stand alone before PC’s can catch up on stock models

  • Lyndon Boychuk

    Wow!!! That title has such a burnesque quality to it.

  • Marc Palumbo

    Shots fired! Someone needs a little ice for that burn?