Peter and Justin tried the latest version of the oculus rift at CES 2016 the same day the price was announced. Fresh from a demo, they discuss if the Oculus Rift will find mainstream success.
Oculus Rift is coming in Q1 2016 and it will cost you a whopping $599 or £499 (without shipping costs). The company hasn’t released any more details on an exact release date just yet, but pre-orders have just gone live with an expected shipping date of March 28th 2016. There’s a limit of one per customer, too (UPDATE: in the 80 minutes since pre-orders went live, the estimated shipping price has now slipped to May).
Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset. Pop it in front of your eyes and it can be used to transport you to fantastical game worlds, distant real world locations, or even just for watching films. To help immerse you in games or a bit of virtual tourism, it uses a dual OLED display with a 2,160×1,200 resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate and tracks the position of your head to provide accurate low-latency movements. Thanks to an external sensor which connects to your PC, it can track infrared LEDs on the front of the headset to translate your movements into your new virtual environment.
Oculus has been keen to stress how light the headset is. You can apparently hold it in one hand, and Oculus is hoping that once you put the headset on, you’ll forget it’s there – almost like a baseball cap, Oculus said at its E3 press conference. Wrapped in fabric, the headset rests on your brow, and Oculus said that the balance and ergonomics have been finetuned so it doesn’t feel like there’s a huge weight on your forehead.
Each headset will come bundled with a wireless Xbox One controller at launch. A great coup for Microsoft, the Oculus Rift will work natively with Windows 10 and let you stream Xbox One games directly to your Oculus Rift headset. It won’t be a complete VR experience, though, as games will only appear in a kind of virtual cinema room, appearing on a large screen in front of you rather than a full 360 degree gaming experience. You’ll still be able to look around your virtual room, but the games themselves will only appear directly in front of you on the virtual wall.
Each controller has a traditional analogue thumbstick, two buttons and an analogue trigger. However, they also have what Oculus is calling a ‘hand trigger’, which is built into the hand grip and sits underneath your middle finger. This allows you to pick up objects, such as a gun, for example, and then virtual reality shoot it with your index finger on the trigger. They also include haptics, so you can feel the objects you’re touching. Most importantly, Touch has a matrix of sensors mounted around the inside of the device to detect natural hand poses and gestures, such as pointing, waving, or giving a thumbs up.