VR headset Oculus Rift passes Kickstarter goal with a month to go

Start-up championed by Carmack, Newell, Bleszinski breezes past initial target of $250,000

Update: The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has easily surpassed its Kickstarter goal, passing $250,000 with almost a month still left to go.

At the time of writing the project has been backed by more than 3,000 people with a total of more than $740,000 pledged.

Original story: Oculus, a new virtual reality start-up mentioned in our June interview with id Software's John Carmack, has launched a Kickstarter for its planned 3D stereoscopic headset, the Oculus Rift. The Kickstarter campaign has a funding goal of $250,000, which is primarily aimed at building development kits to ship out to developers. A pledge of $300 or more nets a backer a Oculus Rift developer unit, the software development kit, and a copy of Oculus Rift-integrated copy of Doom 3 BFG.

"We've already gotten great feedback from the press and buy-in from major game developers including id Software, Epic, Unity and Valve," said Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said. "We know the gaming community will be as excited as we all are when they get their hands on it."

"I think this will be the coolest way to experience games in the future. It will simply be that big," said Unity CEO David Helgason.

"It looks incredibly exciting. If anybody's going to tackle this set of hard problems, we think that Palmer's going to do it. So we'd strongly encourage gamers to support this Kickstarter," said Valve president Gabe Newell.

Developer kits received via the Kickstarter will include access to the Oculus Developer Center community. Oculus will also be showing off the product at a number of upcoming events, including Quakecon, Siggraph, GDC Europe, Gamescom and Unite.

In GamesIndustry International's talk with a very enthusiastic John Carmack, the legendary programmer said that he believes Oculus Rift will be a bigger game changer than next-gen consoles.

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Latest comments (21)

Richard Westmoreland Senior Game Designer, Codemasters Birmingham7 years ago
Call me cynical, but this one just seems more like a PR campaign than a genuine need for crowd funding. Saying that I really want a device, I'll wait for the consumer release though.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 7 years ago
If he's (John Carmack) is so confident that it will be bigger than the nextgen consoles, then why isn't he fronting the $250.000, it's propably peanuts for him and he can make a lot of money if the product will be as succesfull as he thinks..

Personally I'm really into VR and would welcome ANY improvement over the current batch of consumer HMD's, especially in combination with stuff like the Playstation move and Microsoft's Kinect, slap on that body actuator, put on the vizor and reload your sharpshooter/move and enter the world of real gaming. k, only problem to solve it being able to walk on one spot..
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 7 years ago
Andrew, Carmack already has the kit, the funding is about making it affordable for every other devs.

Richard, kickstarter is more about leveraging interest for a product, rather than for the funds.
Kickstart is a lot about PR. I think this company may have a lot of deals aready done with companies like Epic or Valve.
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Show all comments (21)
Adam Yau Game Programmer 7 years ago
Really hope they can make them affordable, it will give a much better 3D experience than TVs for games and films. Can't wait!
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Brian Smith Artist 7 years ago
Almost at target already. I'm betting that it'll reach a couple of mill before closing.. at least.
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James Brightman Editor, North America, GamesIndustry.biz7 years ago
It's got some great talent involved and some great game development talent interested in supporting it. And I have to say that the demo with the prototype I played at E3 of DOOM 3 was pretty cool.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
Let the headaches begin! As well as the viral video of someone getting dizzy and crashing into a coffee table while wearing one of these rigs. I can't wait...
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Hugo Dubs Interactive Designer 7 years ago
Will it be only 3D? Can't take it anymore...

Won't it be about expanding the view field while playing? Like if I was tuning my head ingame?
Btw, where are the headphones?

@Greg: Haha, hopefully the guy will stay nice and quiet in his sofa.
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American McGee CEO, Spicy Horse7 years ago
As someone who had a chance to experience the early version of this at E3... I'm telling you guys (and girls) once people are able to plug these into their mobile devices and explore virtual worlds anywhere/anytime... the whole model for distribution and consumption is going to change radically. It's a game changer.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
Wait, what? MOBILE VR? Shit. Now I'm going to have to worry about some ass driving with one of these, or riding a bike or walking in the street because they know no better. I'm carrying around spike strips, a portable speed bump (TM) and a crowbar to open up manholes from now on.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters7 years ago
Yeah, as great as VR sounds, having it on a mobile device sounds like an awful idea. Do I really want to completely remove all of my visual awareness when I'm anywhere other than in my home? It'd make people extremely vulnerable to being targeted by criminals, far more so than just looking at a phone screen where your peripheral vision is still active.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 7 years ago
I can't even begin to explain how not interested any consumer outside of the niche or people with money to burn are going to be. Frankly a lot more needs to be done on the design side of the software to make it immersive rather than hardware.
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Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital7 years ago
I would have to try one but 640 pixels over a 90 degree FOV on paper seems quite low, most people are used to using monitors with 1600 pixels or more over a smaller FOV.
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Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent7 years ago
Yep, I'm in. Have some money.
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Sam Brown Lead Audio Programmer, TT Games7 years ago
I think anyone dumb enough to wear one of these whilst walking, driving, etc. would Darwin themselves out of existence fairly quickly. I mention this book a lot, but I'll mention it again.

As far as I'm concerned, this is the sensible way to do 3D. Hopefully this can now raise enough interest and support to fix the problems so we don't have to put up with those stupid white-elephant televisions any more (I mean, come on. If you need active glasses to make the television work, why not just have the glasses? ^_^)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Sam Brown on 2nd August 2012 10:06am

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Andrew Animator 7 years ago
I think anyone dumb enough to wear one of these whilst walking, driving, etc
The EU will probably ban them on health and safety grounds for that very reason!
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Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd7 years ago
I have faith. Can't wait to see this thing in action. All the best to everyone involved. It could be a real game changer.
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Brian Smith Artist 7 years ago
A dream for me would be one of these and a great race game to exploit it on. Curious whether it'll be retrofittable to games already out there or only newer titles. The Doom 3 edition on it clearly must work well but the tech is a few years old in that game. I'm guessing a current title that made heavy use of whichever platforms processing power would need to be framerate compromised in order to support rendering two images much like normal stereoscopic titles. Does that make it a nextgen peripheral that'll only really show it's promise when beefier systems come along ?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
OK, let's see now: It's a device that while REALLY cool, will basically be playing enhanced versions of older games (which is great, unless you're against people buying older games... or you can charge them more money for an enhanced version of that older game) and new games which will look great (but still play exactly the same)...

I don't think that's a "game changer" at all, but it will make a nice tech toy in a few years (once the price goes down so more people who aren't in the industry, not broke and actually care about VR can afford it). I can see this a big for the PC elites and mobile fans who want to show off, but casual users will be priced out and might skip a purchase unless they get something they haven't seen before that makes this a must buy.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 7 years ago
Well, I may be wrong about this, but it seems to me that everybody's focusing on the display portion of this which, while cool, is rather less important than the controller.

Being able to have a third controller for the camera direction, rather than having to have it linked to my aim, sounds very cool. It would certainly make games such as Killzone 3 with the Move controller considerably nicer. It might also make first-person POV games a bit more accessible to a considerably broader audience; I know a surprising number of people who have serious difficulty with handling twin-stick move/camera controls.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
OK, I'll agree that the head tracking thing makes sense and yes, it will make any FPS or other first person experience a LOT more enjoyable. Of course, I can recall playing a FPS game back on the original GameBoy (Faceball, anyone?) and having a blast with it. Amusingly enough, I was playing through some PS1 shooters (Powerslave, Disruptor, Final Doom, Quake II) last week for a future article and was amazed at how not so well those stiff pre-analog controls have aged...
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