Oculus, Microsoft team up for final version of Rift headset
MANILA, Philippines – Oculus revealed Thursday, June 11 (June 12 Manila time) the final, consumer version of its virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality console that needs a PC in order to run. It has its own software, Oculus Home, where gamers can interact with fellow Rift users and buy games specific for the platform. The Oculus Rift will come bundled with an Xbox One controller when it’s released in the first quarter of next year.
The Rift comes with a new AMOLED screen, removable ear-pieces and a new constellation 360-degree tracking system.
It’s also designed so that people with glasses will be comfortable using it. There’s a slider between the eye lenses to accommodate faces of different sizes. The soft foam that touches the face is also replaceable.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe promised the headset was lightweight and comfortable to wear for long hours of gaming.
“You’re going to put it on like a baseball cap. It’s going to be simple and easy” Iribe said of the Rift’s design. “The goal is you put it on and it goes away, it disappears.”
Games to follow
A number of game developers have already pledged to develop games for the Virtual Reality platform. Among them are CCP Games (Eve Valkyrie), Gunfire Games (Chronos), Insomniac Games (Edge of Nowhere), Sanzaru Games (VR Sports Challenge), Carbon Games (Airmech VR), Coatsink (Esper) and Playful (Lucky’s Tale).
Oculus will also partner with well-known publishers such as Harmonix and Square Enix to bring the publishers' games to the Rift.
The company is also pushing for independent game development urging them to accelerate their development of the games for the Rift by investing more than $10 million dollars.
The reason they partnered with Microsoft was to provide a backbone to developers on how to approach making the games. Previous Development Kits of the Rift did not have an official gamepad, working with different controllers on different operating systems.
With the Xbox One controller included, it will give developers a sure way to create immersive games, as they would be sure that all users will have the same controller.
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, revealed that the new Oculus will natively work with Windows 10 and would be able to play Xbox One titles via streaming over PC. However, because it is a cross-platform approach, the console games wouldn’t be played in 3D per se.
Instead, the user will be taken into a 3D theater surrounding, with seats and all, and be able to play the game on a 2D wide screen inside the Rift.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey also unveiled a prototype for a new pair of controller that is specific for a true VR experience – the Oculus Touch. It acts as the gamer’s hands in virtual reality, letting one pick up objects, point at things, and aim a gun and fire it. It includes 360-degree movement tracking and haptic feedback, that shakes the controller as a reaction if you pick something up.
The Oculus Rift is slated to be released at the first quarter of 2016, while the Oculus Touch is expected in the first half next year. Pricing has not been announced, though for reference the Development Kit 2 was shipped for $350, without a controller. There’s also a plan to release a PC plus Oculus Rift package for $1,500. – Rappler.com
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