The consumer model of the Oculus Rift has just been unveiled via a live stage show broadcast on Twitch. Here are all the updated details about the Virtual Reality headset that you’ve been waiting for along with the new game announcement details and some incredible details about TWO new controller input options that have just been confirmed.
Coming in Q1 2016, the Virtual Reality headset has been eagerly awaited for the last few years since smashing its kickstarter goal and more recently, being acquired by Facebook for millions. And we’re edging ever closer to making Virtual Reality an actual reality. So how about some details about that consumer model headset? First up, it’s no longer this awkward, large and bulky set of boxes and straps. The ergonomics of the headset have been tweaked over the years to create a lightweight unit, that can be put on with the simplicity of a baseball cap.
The headphones are removable if you’d prefer to use your own. There’s a dial that will adjust the lens spacing to match the distance between your own eyes. This could help combat the blur we’ve seen at some shows. There will be a sensor to place in front of the device in order for the motion-tracking to be able to work with.
A wireless Xbox One controller and adapter will be included with the Oculus Rift for optimal controller compatibility. This is big news for Microsoft and keeps them in the VR race, at least in partnership terms as Sony seeks to forge ahead with their own VR experience, Project Morpheus. We wouldn’t be surprised to see this mean Oculus Rift is now even less likely to make it to PS4. In other Xbox news, Halo, Forza and others will be streamable to the Oculus Rift from an Xbox One, via Windows 10.
An impressive looking EVE: Valkyrie demo featured space combat was shown which will have you nervously looking at your rig’s capabilities. Gunfire Games then showed off some of their game, Chronos. This adventure title seems to blend puzzles with ancient tomb exploration. But as a third-person title, we struggled to see why it was being shown on the Oculus stage. Edge of Nowhere was then revealed by Insomniac’s Ted Price. Set deep in the frozen wastelands, the exploration and survival based title seemed to share many elements with Tomb Raider, but again – a third-person game. Other titles that will be shown off at E3 and available early next year include Damage Core (an FPS ), VR Sports Challenge, Esper, AirMech VR and Lucky’s Tale.
A new hub place was revealed for gamers. Oculus Home is your ‘jumping off point for everything in the Oculus universe.’ Essentially, it’s similar to the home screens seen on modern consoles. You’ll be able to purchase games from here and check out what your friends are doing with their Rifts at that moment in time.
Saving the best for last
The presentation concluded with a final demo from Palmer Luckey, the Oculus Rift founder. This was probably the most important part of the show – The Oculus Touch. These basic looking hand controllers could break down that immersion barrier that regular controller put up in VR titles. A Xbox One controller is ok, but being able to use our own hands in some games is going to add an incredible extra layer of immersion. These wireless controllers allow the player to move unencombered and they also include tracking technology. Each handpiece includes two buttons, a trigger and and an analogue stick. Haptic feedback will provide the illusion of actually touching something. Expect to see more on this at E3. But essentially, this is exactly the sort of thing we wanted to see going with VR. Frankly, if Sony don’t have something like this, something much better than the PS Move controllers to go with their Project Morpheus, they may have lost the VR war already.
The fact Oculus are tackling the issue themselves, and we won’t have to pick through third-party hopefuls developing this side of VR speak volumes about the company’s confidence on bringing a truly immersive experience. This was a huge surprise and we can only hope it’s not going to cost a fortune in addition to the regular Oculus bundle which is coming with the XO controller.
Rather aptly, Luckey, ended his presentation with: “This isn’t science fiction. It’s reality and it’s happening today.”
Sadly, no details about pricing or solid international release dates were forthcoming. We’re presuming it’s not going to be cheap, so better keep saving folks. We’ll bring you more information, pictures and videos when we can. But what did you think of the show?