Are you excited about the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset? Because a whole lot of folks are. So much so, in fact, that the tech community picked Oculus VR as the “Best Hardware Startup” of 2013 at the 7th Annual Crunchies Awards — and that’s without the team even having shipped their first consumer-ready product.
I grabbed two of Oculus VR’s four co-founders as they walked off stage for a quick post-win interview, and we talked about everything from the challenges ahead to pretending to be a chicken.
Co-Founders Brendan Iribe and Nate Mitchell were quite humble both on-and-off camera, repeatedly sharing how surprised they were to have won. Their surprise is perhaps understandable; this category was easily one of the most well-rounded and competitive of the evening, with each of their fellow nominees — Square, SmartThings, Sonos, and 3D Robotics — seeming just as likely to win as the next.
So what challenges lay ahead for Oculus? They’ve still got to finalize their retail hardware (having launched an early, rough version of the headset for developers/early adopters last year), and are working hard on making the (occasionally motion-sickness inducing) experience more comfortable for all — but they seem quite confident that they’ve got those bases covered. From here, they say, the biggest challenge is to keep the community rallied behind the device, building the virtual reality experiences that will really sell this thing in the end.