“Three years ago this August we started a Kickstarter with a bold mission,” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said at the opening of the Oculus Rift press conference. “We wanted to revolutionize gaming and transform how we experience entertainment.”
He then recounted the advances made in gaming since the inception of Atari, describing the characters and stories millions of gamers fell in love with. “we’ve been immersed in this world of gaming but theres been something missing,” he continued. “It’s always been trapped behind a 2D display.”
Breaking down the headset
Virtual reality will soon allow gamers to experience “anything, anywhere.” And how that will be done is through the first Oculus Rift consumer headset. Iribe walked through to standout components of the headset:
- Custom display and optics – 2 OLED screens preventing pixelation and motion blur. Lenses are also adjustable for different facial widths.
- Constellation tracking – “Refined over years,” the tracking system has “very precise, low latency movement.”
- Integrated headphones – “The rift doesn’t just trick your eyes, it tricks your ears” with an integrated audio system. Should you want to use your own audio device, the rift headphones can be snapped off.
- Advanced refined ergonomics – The strap architecture, which you put on like a baseball cap, is tight so the headset doesn’t move but also doesn’t pull against your face.
Deep relationships with gaming partners
What accompanies the rift is an Xbox One wireless controller and adaptor, marking an official partnership with Windows 10 with which the rift will work natively.
Jason Rubin, head of Oculus Studios, then introduced flagship gaming partners — Hilmar Veigar Pétursson of CCP and EVE Valkyrie, David Adams of Gunfire and Chronos, and Ted Price of Insomniac Games and Edge of Nowhere — saying “content defines experience.” Each played an incredibly crisp trailer of their game, giving a stunning preview of what it will look like to be in a virtual first person space combat environment (Valkyrie) or on a quest through ancient ruins (Chronos).
To see how users would select and interact with gaming content, VP of Product Nate Mitchell walked the audience through Oculus Home — the new system software for Oculus Rift. His goal, he said, was to make everything “just work” right out of the box. Also major? The commitment of more than $10,000,000 to support independent game development for the Rift.
Making touch virtual
Iribe then took the stage again, welcoming Oculus founder Palmer Lucky by saying, “One more thing that we really want to show you, something we’ve been working on for quite a while. Input is hard — but we got it right.”
Lucky then pulled out a pair of prototypes called Half Moon under the new Oculus Touch, describing how so many people’s natural reaction is reach out into the virtual world once they put on the Rift. Using the same constellation tracking system as the Rift headset, the devices will allow gamers to interact with objects in the virtual world and use communicative gestures for social interactions. According to Lucky, they’re lightweight, ergonomic, and include thumbsticks, two buttons, analog triggers, hand triggers, and haptic feedback. An experience called Toybox is being used to test Oculus Touch input,