Oculus’ pre-E3 2015 press conference had a lot of information about upcoming virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift. The device has been a long time coming at this point, as it was three years ago that Oculus became a Kickstarter sensation (opens in new tab). Since then, the company has gone through multiple design iterations and updates, even a Facebook partnership (opens in new tab).
The Oculus Rift consumer version matches very closely to the Rift concept leaks (opens in new tab) that appeared earlier this week. It will feature a wireless sensor that sits on your desk designed to measure depth, integrated (but removable) headphones that provide 360-degree spatial audio, and will be placed onto your head like a baseball cap. It’s also light enough to hold in one hand.
No virtual reality headset is an island, though. Microsoft has partnered with Oculus, and every consumer Oculus Rift comes with an Xbox One controller (opens in new tab). Microsoft’s partnership also extends to Windows 10, as the Rift will be natively compatible with the upcoming operating system. For example, you’ll be able to stream Xbox One games to the Oculus Rift (opens in new tab) headset, which will render a virtual cinema for you to play your games in. In other words, streaming Xbox One games to the Rift will not make a game 3D, but will instead display the game on a virtual screen in a virtual room.
If you don’t want to use an Xbox One and Windows 10 to stream games into a virtual cinema, there will be a healthy amount of Oculus Rift games (opens in new tab) to choose from. EVE Valkyrie from CCP, Edge of Nowhere from Insomniac Games and more. Oculus also announced that they would be investing $10 million into independent games development to create new experiences.
Although such games have been designed with the Xbox One controller in mind, Oculus also announced Oculus Touch (opens in new tab), a pair of wireless controllers designed to be held in each hand in a way that will give users the sense of hand presence within virtual reality. The current prototype is referred to as “Half Moon,” and allows for such things as natural grip, full wrist rotation, even sensing if a player is giving a thumbs up or pointing.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping to hear a more concrete release date or price, Oculus is keeping that information close to its chest. Still, the company will have a presence (and new demos) at E3 2015 (opens in new tab), so perhaps we’ll learn more then.