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Oculus Rift consumer beta by summer 2015 - Report

Commercial VR headset could be rolled out through Google Glass-like public beta program

A consumer-ready Occulus Rift will be given a limited release next year, according to a report by TechRadar.

It will follow a similar stategy to the rollout of Google Glass, with a 'public beta' intended to gauge consumer and retailer reaction prior to a full launch.

Citing "multiple sources with knowledge of the matter", TechRadar reported that the release is planned for April 2015, but may end up being pushed back into the summer.

Speaking to Eurogamer earlier this month, Occulus VR co-founder Nate Mitchell said that the aim was for the consumer version to be "as cheap as possible", in the range of $200-400.

He explained that a commercial headset would need to be significantly smaller and lighter than the current dev kit, and be "super-polished and easy to use by anyone".

The Occulus Rift may face significant competition on release, with VR now being developed by Samsung, Valve and Sony.

An Oculus representative declined to comment on the report.

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Latest comments (12)

dont introduce something this big with a whimper and a drip drip drip mentality. Do it Big and Bold or dont do it at all.
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Xander "Fluke" Dent Games Journalism, Technical Support and Cat-Herding. 4 years ago
Actually, doing it slowly and ensuring it functions properly and to consumer expectations before a big launch is exactly what VR needs this time around. "Do it Big and Bold" will do nothing but make sure the consumers are disappointed and consign VR to the bin *permanently*.
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totally disagree. This world is all about PR spin and media coverage. Have you eaten a subway sandwich? they are awful IMHO.. yet they sell. Its all about the sizzle, not so much the steak, and its never been more true than now.

VR is not gonna be anywhere near functional for the masses anytime soon. You are going to have to counter the problems of motion sickness, and so forth with PR SPIN.
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doing it slowly allows them to evaluate the sim-sickness response, and address the initial issues.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
There is no rush really. The Occulus Rift is good enough as to not require an artificial hype train to break even or change the way people look at the world. Any other form of visual presentation has the downside that the consumer can look away. You see something on a screen and you can choose to look away and make your brain not deal with what you see in the process. The Occulus Rift takes away that option, it forces your brain to deal with the visual input. You cannot disconnect from the OR by looking at the ceiling like you would with a TV screen.

You think scary games will be scary? I tell you, 24h Occulus Rift News channels, that will be scary. Subjective, inescapable, point of view media propaganda. Interest in games might have sparked the existence of the Occulus Rift, but I do not believe that games will be the type of content the Occulus Rift will be known for in the end.
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Dan Wood Visual Effects Artist 4 years ago
I don't think that "the masses" are going to be who carries the Rift to success initially. That may very well come down the line, but the success of the initial launch is going to be riding on tech enthusiasts almost entirely.
I'd argue that they've already won over that audience, so the last thing they need is a big PR-heavy launch. What they need to do is not lose the interest they have already captured, and the best way to go about that is to not jump ahead and make a mess of things, and to incrementally keep improving the experience.
They could rush something "finished" to market for the masses straight out of the gate, and it might very well be an enormously successful fad, but it would pass, and they'd be left with something that was fun while it lasted, but was only ever a novelty (Wii, Kinect, PS-Move, etc...). I'm rather hoping they build a solid foundation for an enduring new subsection of the medium instead.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dan Wood on 13th September 2014 7:18pm

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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
As a huge backer of both VR and 3D, I think r application of what they learn here to augmented reality will be a bigger hit. The ability to put grandma into the living room for a skype call will be huge. Glass is definately the bigger consumer product.

IAs a veteran of 3d TV, let me tell you, when you ask people to strap on anything that separates them, actual interest in the product, and purchasing things that use it goes way doen.
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Jan Almqvist Senior Level Artist, Ubisoft Quebec City4 years ago
I think it's hilarious to read about people expecting to experience live music, live sporting events etc via OR. Or being able to visit people of attend meetings. haha... Dude, it's called virtual reality for a reason.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
Actually the meeting thing has already been done.

The same tech can be used for other live events

I just don't see HY anyone would WANT to. The augmented reality thing far more natural.
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Ben Gonshaw Game Design Consultant, AKQA4 years ago
Jan - maybe you just got hung up on a name and missed the big boat. The 3D movies (as in, turn your head and look around a movie) are really convincing, with barely a seam in sight. For games, VR might be little more than the next Wii - a curious fad that ends up gathering dust in the corner.
BUT to be right at the front of a gig you couldn't get to - that's something many people would pay for.
To ride up front in an F1 car and jump between drivers during the race: huge.
To experience that downhill slalom from first person perspective in the winter Olympics, to be at the press conference, inside the war zone, handing out aid, diving with sharks .... it's a huge, unit shifting experience.
Although it's more Vicarious Reality than virtual, for the majority of people, those experiences will be far more compelling than games.
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Jan Almqvist Senior Level Artist, Ubisoft Quebec City4 years ago
"Jan - maybe you just got hung up on a name and missed the big boat."

Haha, yeah maybe :). Or maybe you just got caught up in the hype train.

"BUT to be right at the front of a gig you couldn't get to - that's something many people would pay for."

Yeah, people do pay for that. By going to the concerts or buying the DVD/Bluray of it. Or, you know, watch it on TV. I'm sure some gigs are even shot in 3D and you can already strap on some head mounted 3D glasses and watch that (live stuff as well, sports in particular). But that's not virtual reality, is it?
To get what you suggest, you'd need a camera rig at the location, which you could control - live - with your head movements. Doesn't seem particularly plausible to me. I'm sure it's technically possible even though you'd need a pretty advanced camera rig and low latency to have it swivel around quickly enough to match your head movements.

Same thing with all that other stuff you mention. I agree, really cool stuff. All of it has most likely been done as 3D experiences and the only way OR could improve it is to either have a camera rig at the location for every participant OR recreate/ render the whole thing in 3D.

Or, what did I miss?
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Jan Almqvist Senior Level Artist, Ubisoft Quebec City4 years ago
"Actually the meeting thing has already been done.
The same tech can be used for other live events"

Yeah, my point was that the same thing can be achieved with any head mounted 3D viewer and what makes OR special doesn't come into play here at all. If you're only a passive, observing participant, without any control over the point of view, how is that even news?
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