What comes after a flat display with 2D images? A virtual world that feels as real as reality. This is what Oculus wants to realize with the Rift headset, which is an integrated solution of hardware, software and an ecosystem. Today, the company revealed its plans for games and more details about the Rift headset.
Oculus Rift uses two OLED displays (1080x1200 pixels each) to recreate virtual worlds through the lenses. OLED technology is extremely fast and has almost zero blurring, says Oculus. The lenses work with glasses and you can adjust them to fit perfectly on your face. In the package you will also find a small sensor that has to be placed on a table nearby. It is used to track your movements with high precision.
Rift has built-in headphones that can be replaced, if you want to. Sound is reproduced in 360 degrees, which is important for the VR experience. Oculus says that the resolution of the built-in OLED displays will increase in future versions of the headset but for now it feels that the solution is good enough and comfortable enough to provide an incredible experience.
The key word here is "presence". That is the goal, proclaims Oculus. When the experience becomes so real that the brain translates it into “presence”, Rift has reached its goal. A surrounding experience. You can be everywhere, see everything. This is the "magic of presence" – and Oculus believes that it can deliver, despite high expectations.
- “We wanted to revolutionize gaming, and transform the way we experience entertainment. We set out to finally deliver on the dream of virtual reality.” said Brendan Iribe, Oculus CEO.
Oculus Touch & partnership with Microsoft
At today’s event a partnership with Microsoft / Xbox was announced. First of all, this means that every Rift will come bundled with an Xbox One game controller.
The headset works with Windows 10 and Microsoft revealed that it will even be possible to stream Xbox One games wirelessly to the Rift from a PC. It will require the Xbox Wireless Adapter, which was released a few days ago. You can play games such as Halo, Forza, and Sunset Overdrive, but it appears that these will not actually be optimized for real VR. But interestingly this looks like Microsoft’s path into virtual reality.
It was important to include a game controller with the first generation of Rift, says Oculus. But they have much bigger plans for input types.
Later in the presentation, Oculus released tension and told us what it has in mind; Oculus Touch. These two small controllers can be held in each hand and features wireless connectivity, full 360-degree tracking, haptic feedback, and physical buttons.
Oculus says that touch is the future of inputs for virtual reality. They are light and easy enough to give you freedom of movement so can “pick up a gun” and still feel that your hands are free. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was clearly excited and promised that Touch will surprise you and help deliver the kind of virtual reality experience that we want.
New games & experiences
Several game experiences were highlighted on stage. One of the most important ones was probably EVE Valkyrie that places you inside the cockpit of a spaceship to explore and fight other ships in a huge open world.
Chronos is a new role-playing game that lets you explore an open world. Funny thing, it actually appears to use third-person perspective. Lastly, "Edge of Nowhere" gives you control of a character running through a snowy landscape filled with traps, fantasy creatures, and obstacles. Oculus also announced that it has earmarked $10 million dollars to help indie developers.
Oculus Home is the portal to all things VR. From here you can find games, movies, and other types of experiences. There is a social element to Home, too, and you can follow friends and join them in multiplayer games.
Oculus obviously wants to offer more than just games in VR, and we saw a glimpse of that with "Lost" recently, but yesterday’s event was all about gaming. More will follow later.
Oculus Rift will be available from the first quarter of 2016. The price has not been announced but Oculus says that you will be able to buy a PC and a Rift for approximately $1500. Learn more about Oculus Rift here.