Tag Archives: oculus VR

Oculus Rift Unveils New Virtual Reality Headset for Devs to Play With

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The second generation Oculus Rift will be available for game developers this summer.

Game developers interested in creating games in virtual reality will get an upgraded set of tools from the Oculus Rift team this summer, the company announced Wednesday morning.

The second-generation Oculus Rift development kit is available for preorder starting Wednesday for developers. The virtual reality headset, which began as a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, now has 50,000 units in the hands of developers interested in creating games for it.

Oculus VR Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell said doesn’t resemble anything like consumers will eventually see, but is much farther along the company’s vision for virtual reality than the previous Oculus Rift model. A consumer version is still not under discussion, he added.

“We’ve learned a lot of lessons from our original vision,” Mitchell said.

The new Oculus Rift headset solves many users’ latency issues; it eliminates the motion blur problems that were easy to spot if you moved your head too quickly. It features a brighter, higher-resolution OLED screen with a 960 x 1080p resolution over each eye, rather than a 640 x 800p resolution over each eye on the current kit.

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A straight on view of the updated Oculus Rift.

The new headset also boasts improved positional tracking, part of the Crystal Cove prototype the company showed off during CES 2014. Mitchell said that such new features will allow developers to bring many more complex elements into games they produce for virtual reality, including text and UI layouts. Previously, both were previously very difficult to add.

The new headset will cost $350 for developers and will ship sometime in July of this year.

Virtual reality may be the belle of the ball at the Game Developers Conference this week. Sony also used the conference to announce its own virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4, currently called Project Morpheus. Sony remained mum on setting a date for its headset to reach consumers.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/03/19/oculus-rift-second-generation/

Oculus VR Focuses on Games, Not Hardware, at E3

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The headset displays a fully immersive 3D experience that makes you feel like you are actually in the game.
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

The creators of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset are spending E3 showing off games instead of new hardware, as the company looks at producing and publishing games for its platform.

The company showed off new titles from third-party developers that it was planning to publish, meaning it would provide financial and marketing support to games built for the Oculus Rift. It’s part of the continued growth into also ensuring quality games are available for the Oculus platform, despite the headset having no commercial release date yet.

““http://mashable.com/2014/06/07/girls-make-games-summer-camp/”” is not a valid see-also reference

The company most recently brought on Jason Rubin, co-founder of studio Naughty Dog, to handle its expansion into first party content.

Three of the games being shown at E3 — all by third-party development teams — all represented very different virtual reality experiences. One was for Super Hot, a game currently on Kickstarter that experiments with the perception of time. When the player moves, time moves regularly; when they stand still, time moves at a crawl, allowing them to dodge bullets.

A more whimsical virtual reality game was Lucky’s Tale, a third-person platformed where players hovered over the shoulder of a plucky fox. While virtual reality experiences usually offer a first-person camera view, Lucky’s Tale’s camera choice gave players a unique perspective over the fox’s shoulder.

On a darker note, Sega’s upcoming horror game Alien: Isolation announced virtual reality support at E3, and a playable demo was also on display. Players had to avoid being attacked by an alien on a derelict space ship, armed only with a monitor that showed them the monster’s presence.

While Oculus VR may be ramping up publishing without a firm release date, Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell said the company wanted to minimize risk to developers by promising a release date it couldn’t totally commit to — until it was absolutely sure it was the right time.

Mitchell did say that Facebook’s acquisition of the company in late March was instrumental in bringing on many hires, like Rubin, who could focus solely on what first-party development and publishing would mean inside of Oculus.

BONUS: This Oculus Rift Game Will Scare the Crap Out Of

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/06/11/oculus-games-e3/

Oculus Rift Leaders Say You’ll Buy Both Their Virtual Reality Headsets

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Samsung Gear VR, the virtual reality headset that uses an inserted Galaxy Note 4.
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey doesn’t think the just-announced Gear VR mobile virtual reality headset he’s building for Samsung is going to compete with his Oculus Rift headset, which is still not available to the public.

In fact, he predicts customers will want to buy both — though no price or release date has been set for either.

“It’s not that these are different devices for different people, they’re different devices for potentially the same person,” Luckey says. “They really aren’t competing with each other; they compliment each other.”

Luckey and Oculus VR Chief Executive Brendan Iribe spoke to Mashable Thursday morning, a day after the company announced a partnership with Samsung to create the Gear VR, a mobile headset powered by the Galaxy Note 4 phablet due out later this fall. The Gear VR is a more portable and affordable virtual reality option than the regular Oculus Rift headset.

“There are a number of advantages mobile gives you when you’re untethered,” Iribe said. “No cable attached to the headset and nothing at your side is really freeing. It’s much easier to carry around and show friends.”

While some fans of the Oculus Rift may worry that the Gear VR is a pivot from the original vision of a headset meant for high-powered PC experiences, Luckey said that isn’t the case.

Luckey’s vision “has always been getting as many people into virtual reality as possible,” Iribe said. “Mobile VR is important in doing that.”

Creating a mobile experience was something Oculus had been working on for a year, even before it was snapped up by Facebook. The effort was spearheaded by Chief Technology Officer John Carmack. (Carmack and Oculus VR are currently named in a lawsuit from his former employer, ZeniMax Software, which claims Carmack brought ideas from id Software to Oculus when he left last August.)

Iribe says Carmack has been instrumental in “getting under the hood” of the mobile virtual reality software and hardware.

Also instrumental was Oculus VR’s partnership with Samsung. The AMOLED screen found on many of the Samsung phones and phablets is critical to getting low-latency images with virtual reality, Iribe explained. That isn’t achievable on a LCD screen.

Too much latency, and you’ll see a motion blur when you move your head inside virtual reality, which can induce motion sickness in some users. It’s the reason the second-generation Oculus Rift development kit contained a Samsung Galaxy Note screen.

Samsung and Qualcomm made a large number of modifications to the Note 4 to make it virtual reality compatible, including tweaks to the phone’s graphical processing unit, sensors and operating system. There are also sensors in the Gear VR headset, to which the Note 4 connects.

“The built-in phone sensors don’t work as well for VR,” Luckey said. “That’s why you can’t just put any phone in a 3D-printed thing or a piece of cardboard [like Google did] and expect the same experience.

“Most of those are pretty terrible experiences just riding the VR hype wave,” he said.

Giving people a virtual reality experience that keeps them coming back — captivating from the first experience — is a must for Oculus VR, the pair said. Iribe believes it’s especially important to manage expectations about what kind of experience you’re going to have. That’s why the Gear VR is being branded as the Innovator Edition and is being targeted more toward enthusiasts and developers than regular users.

“You can kind of think of it as the Google Glass explorer edition, but it’s a little more open than that. It’s not a consumer product, but make it clear to people what they are buying into,” Luckey said. “But I will freely admit we don’t have any control on making sure people have a good experience early on, which is something we are trying to solve. So we are clear with the messaging.”

Why not wait and release Gear VR later, when it’s capable of offering a full consumer version? Oculus VR wants to turn skeptical mobile and console developers into committed ones by showing them the hardware works, Iribe said.

“A lot of these big, triple-A companies have learned a hard lesson of waiting too long before,” Iribe said. “Many big companies wrote off mobile gaming for far too long. It’s easy to remind them, ‘You don’t want to miss the next big industry, do you?'”

“And if we didn’t start this now, there wouldn’t be a market for it later,” Luckey added.

BONUS: Hands On With Samsung’s Gear VR

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/09/04/oculus-samsung-gear-vr/

Facebook Wins FTC Approval for Oculus VR Acquisition

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The headset displays a fully immersive 3D experience that makes you feel like you are actually in the game.
Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given Facebook the go-ahead to acquire Oculus VR, the agency said on Wednesday.

Facebook announced on March 25 that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Oculus, a virtual reality startup, for $2 billion in cash and stock. The deal would mark Facebook’s second largest acquisition behind the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, assuming both are finalized.

“We’re pleased the FTC has cleared our acquisition of Oculus,” a Facebook rep said in a statement emailed to Mashable. The FTC cleared the WhatsApp deal earlier this month, though it included a stern warning about privacy concerns with its approval.

News of the approval comes just hours before Facebook is scheduled to report its first quarter earnings results. Analysts may question company execs on the call about either or both of its big recent acquisitions.

Facebook stock was trading down about 2% in midday trading.

BONUS: How Does Oculus Rift and Virtual Reality Work?

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/04/23/facebook-oculus-acquisition-ftc/