Virtual reality headset gaming is on the horizon, and is looking to be a formidable competitor against PCs and consoles. Technology companies are already hedging their bets for the future by developing VR systems of their own, like Microsoft’s Hololens, Sony’s Morpheus, and most famously, Facebook’s Oculus Rift. And today, the Oculus Rift is getting an edge on its competition by announcing the release of its consumer models during the first quarter of 2016.
Building upon the “presence, immersion, and comfort” aspects of the Crescent Bay prototype, the Oculus Rift’s schematics also feature an improved motion tracking system, allowing gamers to either sit or stand while they play. Within the coming weeks, the company will share more details of the technical specifications, including its hardware, software, and most importantly, specialty games to be released for the platform.
According to Oculus VR, pre-sales are opening later this year, but no price has officially been set. Several months back, Oculus heads Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell surmised that the consumer model of the Oculus Rift was “going to be as cheap as possible” and the retail price could be anywhere from $200-$400, which is an inexpensive figure, but still speculative.
Regardless, by keeping the price relative to that of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the consumer models have a fighting chance. And with a low cost, hopefully the Oculus Rift can live up to Facebook’s two billion dollar purchase of the company and sell Mark Zuckerberg’s goal of 50 to 100 million units to become an important platform.
Sure, the Oculus Rift is getting a head start on its aforementioned adversaries, but the tech firm will face stiff rivalries in the user creation market. Even though Canadian start-up Vrvana’s Kickstarter for its own VR competitor Totem was canceled, it doesn’t mean they will be the last business looking to improve upon existing virtual technology. In fact, there are already companies jumping into the fray.
For instance, Avegant’s Glyph, a mobile personal theater with technology similar to the Oculus Rift, raised over $1.5 million. With that in mind, who’s to say Avegant won’t update their models to suit gaming?
And of course, Oculus will probably succeed at first, but in order to thrive, they’ll have to think about versatility as well. Oculus’ vice president, Nate Mitchell, claimed they weren’t ruling out movies either, suggesting there’s a chance “VR is more about film than games.”
While it’s been some time since we’ve known that VR is to infiltrate gaming’s mainstream, what one wonders is whether or not it’ll be as influential and paradigm-altering as the virtual reality companies are making it out to be. Certainly though, with game graphics getting closer to the real thing every day, it will be a marvel to experience.
Are you planning on pre-ordering an Oculus Rift? If not, to which gaming platforms have you decided to remain loyal?
The Oculus Rift is slated for release at the beginning of 2016.