A very close competitor, the HTC Vive (set to release in November of this year) was a surprise to me. When you think of HTC, you usually think of phones; you wouldn’t, for a second, fathom that they would be (probably) the #1 competitor of Oculus Rift. Like it’s rival, the Vive will feature head tracking, 1080p resolution, and the ability to look around 3D environments. Unlike Oculus though, the Vive will be equipped with two wii-like motion controllers that can become either tools within a game or even hands that enable you to manipulate objects in your environment. Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus Rift, has recently announced motion controllers. The controllers won’t be released, initially, with the first consumer generation; but it’s possible that is may be included later on.
The one major drawback of the DK2 is that it is so heavily dependent on cords, which will hopefully change by the time the consumer version is released. There are HDMI and USB wires hanging from the top of the headset that you have to connect to your computer. Then, there are the power cord and camera connectors. It’s a little too much and we found that-at least twice-one of the cords would detach and end our experience earlier.
We still don’t know pricing info, but you can expect the consumer free Oculus Rift to cost more than $350 – and the PC required to power it will cost you significantly more than that. This May, Oculus revealed the recommended specs for the Rift, and it will require high-end (though not highest-end) parts like GPU and processor to maintain a consistent 90 fps while running two 1,200 x 1,080 displays (the per-eye resolution of the consumer Rift).
In a separate blog post, Oculus announced that it’s shipping the final Rift headset to developers ahead of the consumer launch. Devs just getting started can still use a Rift DK2 (development kit 2), but those putting the final touches on games set to launch alongside the Rift in Q1 can get their hands on the finished product to help dot their i’s and cross their t’s.
Update: We’ve just heard that a development kit version of the oculus rift vr headset will be available in Q1 2016. It won’t be a consumer-ready version (thus won’t be available with the headset itself), but just an early edition for developers to work on. CEO Brendan Iribe told us that the reason for this is to give developers time to get used to the new controller and incorporate their games around it. Preorders for the Touch will open the same time as the Rift.
First, the Rift is Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s Project Morpheus. The Oculus Rift is ready-made, has super-high brand recognition and is poised to offer a finely tuned VR experience to a horde of anxious, hungry gaming fans. Morpheus could very well walk into a similar situation when it launches, but there’s one major difference between the two systems: Sony has to finish developing and then continually support Morpheus on PlayStation 4; Microsoft has to trust Oculus to handle most of that work.