Oculus Rift delayed to March

Dev kits for Kickstarter-funded virtual reality headset will feature better (but heavier) screen

Developer kits for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset won't make it out by year's end after all. Oculus announced the delay in an update to the headset's Kickstarter page today, saying it now plans to send out the kits beginning in March.

"Designing, sourcing, and manufacturing thousands of developer kits is no small feat," the update explained. "Since our Kickstarter, we've been up against the wall, working around the clock to produce and distribute over 7,500 units in just four short, crazy months. We've had to modify our original design for mass-manufacturing and, at the same time, balance additional features with our tight schedule."

The biggest change to the original design is in the display the headset uses. The 5.6-inch display that was originally used for the prototype headsets has been discontinued, forcing Oculus to find a replacement. The company decided to go with a 7-inch display that it says "beats the old display in almost every key area including response time, switching time, contrast, and color quality." The downside to the new screen is that it will make the headset about 30g heavier.

Oculus is also creating a new motion sensor for the Rift. Where the prototypes used off-the-shelf parts, Oculus is developing its own replacement designed with the headset in mind. The new sensor has a faster refresh rate than its predecessor, and packs in a magnetometer in addition to an accelerometer and gyroscope.

The Oculus Rift began as a Kickstarter project in August with a $250,000 goal. It blew past that mark in less than a day, and finished with more than $2.4 million in backing a month later. The project also garnered enthusiastic endorsements from a number of big names in the industry, including Gabe Newell, John Carmack, and Cliff Bleszinski.

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Latest comments (7)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game9 years ago
Unfortunately, that means more weight on your neck.
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..."Nothing sucks like success!"

I'm a reported skeptic on the RIFTS' plan - not that it is not a well thought-out and elegant concept, but it is led more by enthusiasm than by business experience - and already they seem to have made the same mistakes that the predecessors made in the first virtual reality revolution:

I hoped some cooler heads would have been hired when the KS succeeded, but there seems to be some interesting miss-direction and compromises that could seriously impact the final RIFT SDK system. This is before we even get to the issue of the consumer production version!

Keep an eye on this key statement when the SDK systems appear in March (if then)... "latency nausea'.
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Daniel Garcia QA Tester, Crytek9 years ago
I just don't think that this will ever be a success on its own. It could be linked to tablets or other right now fancy products but this kind of hardware has never been a success because people won't use it everyday or embrace it.
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Diego Santos Lećo Creative Director, GameBlox Interactive9 years ago
It all comes down to execution. Before the iPhone, there were many touch devices, but Apple did it right and achieved mass market.

It can either be a success or a flop, we have to see if the hardware delivers. Sure, its not going to be as ubiquitous as consoles and tablets on its own, but if Sony or Microsoft decides to buy it, then I can only see success on its path (with mass production and guaranteed software support).

Anyway, I see it as a great platform for FPSs, cinematic experiences like Heavy Rain, and it opens up whole new genres (exploratory adventure game?). Maybe a bundle with the next Call of Duty? It only needs to deliver a decent hardware.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Diego Santos Lećo on 29th November 2012 7:55pm

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@Diego - speaking from a position of previous experience, I can not see the system suitable for long-term exposure (even with just 5min demos at Quakecom, cases of Sim-nausea were reported)- If this is the case then it will not allow the audience to experience the FPS capabilities - as we have seen with interactive 3D gamings failure!
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd9 years ago
More importantly, I wonder if they ever worked it out to be usable for near-sighted people who wear glasses (you know, 30% of the population).
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You touch on a fascinating point. In working on a consumer VR application we gathered the general ophthalmologists data and found that the general populous in the target age group is susceptible to suffered from:

25%-Achromatopsia (color shift)
20%-Visual agnosia (perceived values including depth)
15%-Astigmatism (blur and sight perception)

That mean that some 60% of the target audience would not see the full experience to a high-level of the VR platform we were developing (there are others but these were the main issues). At the same time without correct (and accurate) sighting control for myopic (near-sighted) or hyperopic (far-sighted) viewers then only 15% would get the full effect... if that!

A reason why 3D in cinema works to such a loose 'eyebox' (anyone can get the basic impression of 3D), and why accurate / interactive 3D in gaming seems to have hit the hard-shoulder at the moment.
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