Oculus VR held its press event on 11 June with the tagline "Step into the Rift". The firm showed off the final consumer version of the Oculus Rift Vr headset, and annouced plenty of new details including specs, features, a list of games, Oculus Touch controllers, Windows 10 and Xbox One compatibility and more. here's everything you need to know about the Oculus Rift including release date, specs, features, games, controllers and more. Updated on 23/7/15 with our hands-on video.
Oculus Rift release date confirmed: Q1 2016
We now know that the consumer version of the Oculus Rift will launch in early 2016, with pre-orders being taken from late 2015. In a blog post, Oculus said: "Today, we’re incredibly excited to announce that the Oculus Rift will be shipping to consumers in Q1 2016, with pre-orders later this year."
Unfortunately, the Oculus Rift live launch event didn't give us a more detailed release date. This means it will still launch during Q1 of 2016 so there's still a little while to wait.
In the same post, Oculus described the new consumer version of the Oculus Rift, thus: 'The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.The Oculus Rift builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.'
Oculus Rift controller and Oculus Touch
A major announcement after the 11 June event is that the Oculus Rift won't come with a propitiatory controller. Instead, thanks to partnership with Microsoft, it will ship with an Xbox One Wireless Controller.
The Xbox Controller will just be the start as Oculus Touch has been announced. These, codenamed 'half moon' are new wireless controllers which track your hands. There is one for each hand which are a mirror image of each other including an analogue stick, two buttons and a trigger. There's also haptic feedback and a matrix of sensors which can identify poses like pointing, waving and thumbs up.
Oculus Touch is still a prototype and it's unconfirmed when they will be available. We assume sometime in 2016 but not when the Rift launches.
Oculus Rift Xbox One and Windows 10 compatibility
There's more Xbox related news as you'll be able to stream games from the console to the Oculus Rift. That sounds like big news but you'll play games in a virtual theatre which is a little like sitting in someone else’s lounge rather than your own. Maybe a good thing if you have a really small room and want a sense of more space.
Oculus also confirmed that the Rift will work natively with Windows 10.
Oculus Rift games
Oculus announced that there will be plenty of games compatible with the Rift when it comes out next year. In fact, the firm will be investing $10m to help create independent games for the VR headset. See also: Eyes-on with Oculus Rift's 'Crystal Cove' VR prototype and first launch game.
Launch titles include Eve Valkyrie, Chronos, Edge of Nowhere, Damage Core, VR Sports Challenge, Esper, AirMechVR and Lucky's Tale.
Oculus Rift: specs and features
We now know that the final consumer model of the Oculus Rift will feature custom optics and display. The firm said it will have two OLED screens with low latency so there will be no blur or visable pixels. A new constellation tracking system will improve the experience as will integrated VR audio (you can use your own headset too). Oculus said the Rift is fabric-coated and has a new lighter and more egonomic design meaning you can put it on easier and it will be more comfortable to wear than previous versions. The headset will allow you to adjust the lenses to suit your eyes since we all have a small difference in the distance between them.
Oculus Home is a VR portal, bringing all your games into one place. You land in Oculus Home as soon as you put on the Rift and you can check out your own games or see what others are playing, with a preview of a game before you buy it. A 2D version of Oculus Home also lets you manage games from your PC.
What is Oculus Rift?
The Oculus Rift is a head-mounted virtual-reality display. An immersive headset that gives the wearer a full 360-degree view of the virtual world they inhabit. The Oculus Rift pairs with headphones to make games, virtual worlds and live events feel 'real'. The Oculus Rift will go head to head with other virtual reality headsets such as Samsung's own Gear VR - itself made by Oculus. (See also: Gear VR vs Oculus Rift.)
It is being developed by Oculus VR, a startup that has raised $16 million of funding. A measure of the buzz generated by Oculus Rift can be gleaned from the fact that Facebook recently purchased Oculus Rift for $2bn. A developer version of Oculus Rift is out now, with a second-gen developer kit shipping this month, but excitement is building for a general launch to the public. (More details: Supercharged second-gen Oculus Rift developer kit revealed, open for preorders.)
Oculus Rift: UK price
You can pick up a developers' version of Oculus Rift for around £400 online right now. The official price is $350. There's no official word on what Oculus Rift will cost when finally it launches, but we'd be surprised if it doesn't cost much less than this, and less than a fourth gen console.
Recently we've heard that the Oculus Rift will sell for around $200 in the US, and £200 in the UK.
We'll update this section as we know more but this may be a while as even at the event on 11 June, Oculus didn't even hint at a price.
Oculus Rift: poll
Oculus Rift developer edition details
Oculus Rift DK2 curently has a 5.7in display with 24-bit colour depth, generating a 1080p display in each eye. The trick to a consumer version will be making the entire product sufficiently lightweight in terms of power and physical size that it can be both affordable and wearable. As now those displays will use stereoscopic 3D to mimic normal human vision. This means that the left eye sees extra space to the left and the right eye sees more to the right. This gives Oculus Rift a great field of view, echoing that offered by previous VR headsets, but at a consumer price.
The Oculus Rift for developers weighs 379g. It feels quite heavy to use, so this will have to come down for the OR to be a true consumer product. The headset also has a motion-tracking system that uses an external camera which tracks infrared dots located on the headset. The consumer Oculus Rift may include a 1000 Hz Adjacent Reality Tracker. This should reduce to almost nothing the sensation of lag in tracking. Oculus Rift uses a combination of 3-axis gyros, accelerometers, and magnetometers.
Expect DVI and HDMI inputs. There's also a USB interface for sending tracking data, and a power adapter to connect the control box to a power outlet. (See also: Hands-on (or eyes-on) with the new and improved Oculus Rift.) According to CNET, Oculus is also developing motion controllers that let you use your hands and body movements to interact with objects in games.
Oculus Rift: what it's like to use
I tried out the developer version of Oculus Rift. Digital Agency SpecialMovers showed us a game-type world that you moved around using an Xbox controller - the Rift can't track real movements. And we also had a go on a rollercoaster ride simulation.
My first impression of the latter was... wow. I am left cold by 3D. If I can see the stereoscopy at all it merely gives me a headache. But the combination or all-round vision, 3D and noise-excluding audio meant that my stomach lurched as the Rift took me over the top on the rollercoaster.
Which is not to say that the experience was an unqualified success. For one thing the headset is not comforable to wear. It's big and heavy - not as heavy as the old school VR headsets, but heavy enough. And it takes some adjusting and tweaking before it feels comfortable. There are a variety of lenses, too, but you may still have to keep on your glasses if you are visually challenged.
To be a commercial success with consumers version 2.0 needs to be more of a gadget and less of a bondage toy.
Another improvement for version 2.0 should be HD. We've mentioned it before, and it will almost certainly rectified next time around, but having a 720p screen right next to your eyes doesn't help with the old disbelief suspending. We're just used to more pixels per inch, these days.
Overall then, my experience of using the Oculus Rift was intriguing, without blowing me away or making me feel like I needed to go back for more. But it did open my mind to the potential of virtual reality.
What is Oculus Rift for?
Here's an idea: think of all those people who pay to go into Wimbledon and then watch the Centre Court action on the big screen on Henman Hill. With an Oculus Rift headset you could virtually place them in a seat in the main stand. Indeed, Sky TV would love to sell you a Rift headset and your choice of seat at the next Super Sunday game, wouldn't they?
Or what about experiences. You may want to visit the Louvre or Tate Modern, but perhaps you live in an exotic far flung place (you know, Scunthorpe or Doncaster). You could explore your desired attraction from the comfort of your own front room.
Oculus Rift has captured the imagination because it offers up the potential for genuine virtual reality, not just in games or far-flung sci-fi worlds. (See also: Knightmare-style VR system combines Oculus Rift with motion capture and We test the Oculus Rift: why virtual reality is back, back, back!)
How to watch Oculus Rift launch event live stream: As it happened live blog
If you've landed on this page, the live event on 11 June has already happened but you can relive all the announcements with our live blog below which is still available.