Virtual reality is coming — and now we finally know when. You will actually be able to buy a real, consumer version of the Oculus Rift in the first quarter of next year. You’re looking at it right now. Let me repeat: this is not another prototype. Shit is getting real.
What do we know about the final Oculus Rift? Not a whole lot quite yet. Oculus says it’s closely based on the most recent Crescent Bay prototype, which means it should be drastically lighter, smaller and more comfortable than previous developer kits, and come complete with integrated headphones and positional audio.
Oculus also claims it will have a new tracking system that will support “both seated and standing experiences”, so you won’t necessarily have to be sitting down to get your VR fix — though we’re still talking about a wired headset, so don’t expect to go running around a room with the thing.
The Crescent Bay prototype, for comparison.
Other than that, the company’s keeping details pretty close to the chest — for now. Over the coming weeks, says Oculus, we’ll hear more about the hardware, software, input (did they figure out how to build a controller?) and games (any killer apps?) for the platform. First up: hardware specs, coming next week.
For a moment there, we were worried that Oculus might miss the virtual reality coming out party. The Valve / HTC Vive and Sony’s Morpheus made quite a splash at the Game Developers Conference in March, and both got release dates — while Oculus could only promise that its Samsung Gear VR smartphone experience would arrive anytime soon. But now, it looks like HTC and Samsung will ship this year, and then Oculus and Sony next year.
I wonder when Microsoft’s HoloLens will join them.