Oculus Rift consumer version debuts and launches Q1 2016

By GamingNexus On 12 Jun, 2015 At 08:00 AM | Categorized As Gaming Industry News | With 0 Comment

Oculus showed off their consumer version of the Oculus Rift yesterday with a few surprises in tow. As an owner of the DK2, I was pretty interested to see how they have improved on the product and what they had in mind for an input device.

The Oculus Rift itself looks much more streamlined and from what I hear, it’s lighter which is good news. It now uses dual OLED screens rather than a single one split in half like in the development kits. Whereas a GearVR had a dial to adjust the spacing between the lenses, the Oculus Rift has a slider that will allow you to put the lenses in the optimal position.

I like that they are including headphones with the set and they are easily removable if you want to use your own. Sound is also important to VR and Oculus is pretty excited about their headphones.

One of the surprises was the inclusion of the Xbox One controller along with the wireless adapter with every Oculus Rift. Microsoft is partnering with Oculus to make this a reality and there was also a demonstration of the Xbox One streaming to the Oculus. The feature should be familiar to some DK2 folks as it’s similar to Virtual Desktop where you can play games on a huge virtual screen. The games aren’t in 3D, unfortunatly, but for those with an Xbox One and a PC, you’ll have the option to play all your Xbox One games in a virtual world. With Sony touting the Morpheus, I wonder if there will be more to this partnership. Perhaps native support with the Rift on the One someday?

With the HTC Vive, they showed a very promising looking input device with the two wand controllers. Oculus has also been working on an input device as well and they finished the show with the Oculus Touch controllers. These controllers use the same tracking system as the headset, dubbed Constellation, but also allows for simple finger gesture recognition such as a thumbs up or pointing. These wireless controllers also feature an analog stick and buttons. Up until this part of the presentation, I saw many fans of Oculus lamenting on how they needed an input device and that the Xbox One controller just wasn’t going to cut it. Well, Palmer Luckey came out and showed it and for me it saved a presentation that started out well and was steadily going down hill.

The Oculus Touch controllers look promising, but I wonder how they are going to deal with a person who’s going to be in a standing experience that will let them turn around. Oculus did say that the system will support multiple tracking cameras, which would alleviate that problem. The Oculus Touch controllers, unfortunatly, won’t be available when the Rift launches and they will be a separate purchase. They will be available sometime in the first half of 2016 though.

I am a little disappointed there aren’t any external cameras on the Rift. The HTC Vive looks to have them and my GearVR uses the Note 4’s read camera to let me look in the real world without having to take off the headset. It’s a small complaint, but maybe it was left off to try and keep the Rift at a certain price point.

It’s hard to say how the Oculus Touch compares to the HTC Vive and Lighthouse solution. I’ve seen some impressive things you can do with Lighthouse and I think HTC and Valve came out with an impressive VR HMD. Of course, I can’t say which is better having not used the HTC Vive yet and having only experienced the DK2. At least I’ll take care of half of that at E3 with an up close demonstration of the Rift on Thursday.

Unfortunately, there was still no pricing information and we got the same news on the launch window being Q1 of 2016. Oculus has come a long way since its Kickstarter, but it’s nice to see that the Rift will finally come to fruition as a consumer product. I can’t wait to check it out at E3.


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