There’s been a buzz going around about a new competitor that might revolutionize the next-gen gaming experience called the Oculus Rift. This shiny, new piece of equipment introduces the possibility of enjoying games in a virtual reality environment. Although this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen virtual reality head mounted displays (HMD) introduced to game culture, there’s a list of impressive specs that separate the Oculus Rift from its predecessors.
The most recent prototype dubbed Crystal Cove debuted January at 2014’s CES and walked away with 10 awards, including Best in Show from Engadget, the Verge and Wired. Crystal Cove featured two new major components that will be present on the consumer version of the Oculus Rift. These two features include positional tracking and low persistance. More about them and the experience here.
The most exciting news thus far is the amount of support that the Oculus Rift has received. 2.4 million was raised through crowd funding using Kickstarter with the support of major game development companies such as Epic Games, Unity and Valve. Not to mention big names like John Carmack (co-founder of ID Software who developed such franchises as Doom and Quake now presently CTO of Oculus VR) and Markus Persson (founder of Mojang, best known for Minecraft) have stated that their upcoming projects may include the Oculus Rift experience.
There is also a suprising number of games that already support the Oculus Rift. Some titles include Alone, Team Fortress 2 and Slender: The Arrival. I’ve had numerous hours of enjoyment watching people play these games on youtube. One of my particular favorites is Markiplier. If you like the idea of virtual reality horror games, check him out. It’s absolutely hilarious!
Now before you run off to purchase one of these bad boys, I’ll have to inform you that it’s not yet available for consumer purchase. The Oculus Rift is still undergoing development but interested parties may purchase a dev kit from their website (currently out of stock). The Oculus Rift release date is not confirmed but is anticipated to be around late 2014 to early 2015.
If you want to know more about the direction Oculus VR is headed, I’d strongly advise reading James Brightman’s interview with founder Palmer Luckey on gamesindustry. It’s both inspiring and fascinating where this little piece of hardware could potentially lead us in the future! Viva la tech!