This post was 1st published on our sister Site, Digital World Native.
It can be said that the Virtual Reality (VR) revolution is finally upon mankind. Facebook’s Oculus VR division has made the much awaited Rift VR headset available on pre-order from January 6, 2016, with shipments slated to start sometime in March this year to 20 countries. The price tag of US $599 though, seems to have evoked some angry reactions from fans who howled that it was too steep, but well, that’s another story. But with the general availablity of the Oculus Rift, like we said, the VR way of life is here to stay, the release coming as it is on the heels of recent offerings by Google, Samsung & Sony.
The initial offering of the headset will not include Oculus’ Touch motion controller which will be delayed & will ship later on in the year. It will, however, ship with 2 complementary game titles, ‘Eve: Valkyrie’ by CCP Games & Playful’s, ‘Lucky’s Tale’. It will also include a Microsoft Xbox One Wireless gamepad.
The head-mounted display headset which is now available has a wide field of view, High Definition video at 1080×1200 in each eye, with a 90 Hz refresh rate. It comes with integrated 3D audio headphones & rotational & positional tracking via a stationary USB IR sensor & tracking LEDs on the headset. This allows the user autonomy to freely move about a room enhancing the VR experience. However, the headset is not a stand-alone device, as it needs to be tethered to a late model PC running Windows & with a powerful graphics card.
The Rift 1st came into public notice through a successful Kickstarter campaign by founder Palmer Luckey in 2012, & a functional 1080p HD prototype was made available in 2013. Oculus VR announced that Kickstarter supporters that pledged for a development kit version will get a free headset with this product launch. We, at Digital World Native, have been following developments on this front, since then.
Gamers are expected to make up the bulk of early adopters of the Rift since a large number of PC titles already have support for the platform. Besides the free titles, packaged with the Rift, which provide native support, a number have been adapted, such as Elite: Dangerous, Euro Truck Simulator, Project CARS & Dirt Rally. A number of titles also provide support through hacks & mods from their community fan base, such as MS Flight Simulator & Minecraft, & many more like Final Fantasy, Rock Band, are expected to work with the Rift.
A number of other, non-gaming applications have also been developed for use with the platform. This Site has covered 1 related to journalism, but there are many more. Oculus Cinema is expected to be packaged with the Rift & allows the user to view conventional movies in a 3D virtual environment, giving the impression of seeing the film in a movie theater, together with an audience of other networked viewers. 360º virtual movies & VR movies have already been produced by Pixar, & others & are being released with the Rift’s January launch.
Architectural, industrial, advertising, automotive, defense & other professional applications of the Rift are also in the works & some of them are already available. And of course, since the Oculus VR acquisition by Facebook, the social aspect of the Rift has taken center stage as well, with such players as Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, getting in on the action.
Image Credit: Oculus