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Oculus Rift could be coming to smartphones

CEO Brendan Iribe excited about plugging headset "right into a next-gen cellphone," not concerned with consoles

Oculus VR is scheduled to launch its Oculus Rift headset for PCs next year, but the company is already planning to bring the peripheral to new platforms. Speaking with Edge, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe said the company had toyed with technology like the Xbox 360 Kinect and PlayStation Move, but its current focus is bringing the headset to PC and next-gen mobile devices.

"I love consoles but internally we're a lot more excited about where mobile's going to go, and being able to plug it right into a next gen cellphone," Iribe said. "It's the innovation, and how fast cellphones are now improving - where we'll be with the next Galaxy or the next iPhone compared to where consoles are. Those things are almost doubling every year, compared to a console that's just stuck it out for eight years - it just makes us very excited. There's a lot of improvements that can be made on the hardware side for VR that no-one's doing yet because it's a new thing. The mobile rate of innovation is going to be able to make a lot of those improvements."

Iribe also explained the company's vague 2014 target release window, saying there are still some technological hurdles to be cleared.

"We don't want to announce any dates because frankly we just don't know when it's going to be really ready for the consumer market where everything is tied together," Iribe said. "You have the form factor, HD, motion blur eliminated... so we don't know how long that will take, but it's close. We have internal prototypes which have a lot of each thing solved and it's such a magical experience when you see it all together."

Iribe has said that when Oculus Rift does arrive, the goal is to keep the launch price as close to $300 as possible.

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Latest comments (14)

Wojciech Mroczek Awesome Content Specialist, GOG.com3 years ago
The way I read it: Sony wasn't interested, so to hell with them. ;-)
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Sony wasn't interested? Shuhei Yoshida seemed to be a big fan of Occulus Rift on his twitter account, so I wouldn't be suprised if this gadget is supported in the future by Sony, Xbone or both. Or maybe they are already developing their own solution, which would suck as that would mean more redundant gadgets around home. Again (remember the first guitar hero/rock band instruments being incompatible, or driving wheels between PS3 and x360)

About being a valid device for mobile, I am quite sure mobile devices don't make sense for such a bulky gadget, at least on the street. This seems to be an experience suited for home entertainment, where PCs and consoles reign. Even tablets, if powerful enough.
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Richard Westmoreland Game Desginer, Exient Ltd3 years ago
I'd imagine Sony will make their own version if this becomes popular. If anyone has the resources they do. They already have their own 3D headset tech.
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Show all comments (14)
The element of competition will be an interesting factor after the Q4 2014 release of the OVR Rift CSKv1 system.

Sony have developed a Virtual Viewer - rather than HMD system, they still sit on the fence till OVR are successful, and how they address the four key issues of deploying a HMD into the consumer sector.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 18th July 2013 6:24pm

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James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios3 years ago
Until they can come up with a more immersive control method and really miniaturise the hardware, then these headsets are going to be very niche. I can see where they are going with mobile and I'm assuming augmented reality is part of that plan. At least that will give a more interesting and immersive way of using the device. Although I'd want it to look like a pair of shades for that use...

That all said, though, I still quite fancy playing Skyrim with one of these.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Boulton on 19th July 2013 10:22am

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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
The smartphone controller, the touch screen and movement sensor, are the best ever for gaming. Massively intuitive and infinitely reconfigurable. Having a controller that is so interactive allows games that would not have been possible before.
Obviously the FPS crowd don't like the lack of triggers. But FPS is a niche that has become an industry cul de sac.
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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ3 years ago
I can see an entire train of people going to work wearing Oculus Rifts. :)
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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ3 years ago
It makes a lot of sense to support mobiles. I'm excited! :)
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The difference between a Virtual Viewer and a Head Mounted-Display are subtle and detailed.

OculusVR has favored a HMD path to market (tracking, wide FOV, dedicated SDK) - while Sony have gone for a pure VV approach having released two platforms that allows users to view media on a personal display. That the Sony system has been canalized for VR (HMD) application is a off shoot and not a core focus for Sony... at present.

The needs for a system to be able to accommodate passengers on the 09:35 to Victoria will need to differ in construction and operation from the $300 consumer HMD system for the PC gaming crowd. I hope that not everyone is jumping to the assumption that a VV system is just like a Walkman... there are issues that need to be considered.
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Jed Ashforth Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe3 years ago
If I'm going to need to plug in an HMD and additional controller(s) (not sure you'll get much use out of the phone's touchscreen Bruce, because you won't be able to see or feel virtual buttons on flat glass while wearing the HMD), it seems somewhat academic what platform I'm connecting it to, because there's no mobile play scenario that I can see working with this - this is going to need to be played in the home.

Even in that environment, the safety considerations are enormous. Transpose the scenario to a commuter environment, and I just don't see it being workable any time soon. I love the concept, but realistically...
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Craig Bamford Writer/Consultant 3 years ago
Ah, touchscreen boosterism. So nostalgic. It reminds me of the motion control boosterism back when the Wii was top dog, or the social gaming boosterism when Zynga's Facebook entries were the model everybody was focusing on.

Bruce, there are genres and gameplay styles that touchscreens are good at. There are genres that they aren't. I wouldn't want to play a precision platformer on a touchscreen, nor any sort of console- or PC-style action-adventure. Dark Souls on a touchscreen would be a cruel joke.

There's no Single Best Ever Input Device, and there never will be. Controllers weren't it, KB+M weren't it, joysticks weren't it, motion controls certainly weren't it. Since there doesn't need to be, though, it's no problem. Just figure out which device is best for the gameplay you want to do, and then move on.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
Just wait until the first moron dies or ends up in traction because he/she crosses the road or trips over a fence whilst wearing this. Putting VR on a truly portable device is going to require quite some legal preparation, because if there is something so dangerously stupid that no one in their right mind would do it, you can be sure to find someone to do it within the first few weeks of release and then start a lawsuit.
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Donald Dalley Freelance writer 3 years ago
It sounds so much as if the people at Oculus looked at portable devices and started having numbers wetdreams. That is so funny. I am glad a few of you have your heads on straight.

Ignoring consoles would be a colossal mistake. SONY has their own 3D goggles, but I am also making sure they know gamers are looking forward to getting Rift support, especially for certain types of games. I hope they listen well.
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Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital3 years ago
Just because something is possible doesn't mean its practical. Apart from the lack of mobility (unless the Oculus comes with a forward facing camera for AR mode :) ) Theres also another big sticking point for Mobile usage : Battery Life.
Just how much power does the oculus require, can it all be dumped through a USB connector and how many Mobiles can deliver that power without rapidly draining the battery ?
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