Thursday the 11th of June 2015 welcomed the news of the Oculus Rift - consumer version 1 (cv1) - it's release dates and new features that will be available at launch. The hour long presentation saw developers, engineers and founder - Palmer Lucky - discuss and present what is to be expected in March 2016. Virtually Mine have summed up the top 4 announcements from the presentation.
1. The Oculus Rift CV1
The game changer was announced first and rightly so. With Brendan Iribe (Oculus CEO) leading the presentation showcasing the matt black headset with detachable headphones, 2 x low persistence AMOLED displays, adjustable IPD (distance between eyes) and a lighter form factor. The headset has also been designed for glasses wearers in mind.
The headstrap has been crafted to off-set the - already light - weight of the Oculus Rift and they state that; "It’s as easy to put on as slipping on a baseball cap. Once you’re in, simply adjust the straps to fit you".
2. Partnership with Microsoft
Unexpectedly but completely welcome, Oculus announced that an Xbox One controller will be shipped with every consumer Rift. This will bridge the initial gap that currently exists with virtual reality regarding input (how we interact with virtual environments). The majority of consumers will know how to handle an Xbox controller which will make their introduction into vr more familiar.
The user will also be able to stream Xbox One games to the Rift via a PC running Windows 10. Currently this looks like you are sitting in a cinema playing on the big screen but we can see this becoming the first step to off-the-shelf vr games for the Xbox One.
All in all this great news for Oculus (free hardware, larger audience) and greater news for Microsoft with the soon to be released Sony Morpheus for the PlayStation 4 releasing at the end of 2015.
3. Oculus Home
Similar to the Samsung Gear VR's home screen, Oculus Home will enable the wearer to browse games, play and interact with friends online, all from one central hub. You will also be able to experience vr trailers, not simply a 2D video, but an immersive example of the what the game will be like which is very encouraging.
Not having to take your headset off to select a new title means 1 of many things, no setup! No more rotating displays, switching from Direct to Extended mode. Simply start Oculus Home and you're set.
4. Input - Oculus Touch
The last announcement brought to us by Palmer Lucky was the addition of more input, this time from Oculus in the form of Oculus Touch. This was probably the most important of all the announcements as it was totally unexpected.
The two 'Half Moon' (it's project name) wireless controllers encompass the front of the users hand while being held in a 'gun handle' type form. The familiar tracking LED's litter the Touch, along with analogue sticks and buttons that look borrowed from the Xbox One gamepad. The Oculus Touch will enable you to manipulate objects in space as well as give familiar gestures such as waving, giving a thumbs up or pointing. The Touch will be sold separately to the Rift.
All of us at Virtually Mine are very much looking forward to testing the Rift CV1 at this summers gaming expos around the world. Needless to say we will be putting our order in early to give you guys first dibs of this revolutionary piece of hardware. Thanks Oculus!
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