The Oculus Rift is still in its theoretical stages, but developers are very excited about what it means for the future of gaming. Kits are available for $300, but right now the unit is little more than a curiosity. There are very few games that are already compatible with the Oculus Rift. It is being sold on a preliminary basis largely so game developers can incorporate Rift features into future games.
The headset has three different sets of lenses to accommodate variations in wearers’ eyesight; glasses cannot be worn underneath the Rift. It has a seven-inch internal viewing screen, so it is heavier and larger than the original prototype, whose screen was just shy of six inches wide. The viewing panel has 24-bit pixel depth and has realistic 3-D ocular overlap.
The Rift’s field of view is twice as large as the field of view in similar headsets. This creates a heightened sense of reality, since the wearer’s field of vision is almost entirely filled. It is necessary to wear one of the included lens sets with the headset. The raw image is compressed on the screen, and the lenses bring out the 3-D illusion. The size of the screen is going to be substantially enlarged when it is released on the consumer market. Current models do not feature headphones. Developers are working on improving reaction speeds to eliminate delays between the wearer’s actions and the images that are depicted on the screen. There is also progress toward eliminating external power supplies, though this is difficult to do without making the headset too heavy to wear comfortably. Despite a few minor hurdles, all reports point to the Oculus Rift being the next big thing in virtual reality gaming.
Oculus VR just recently raised a $16M investment from Spark Capital as a start to expand the Rift with a full virtual reality platform. The Rift has been receiving a lot of support from developers at major game companies such as Valve, Unity and Epic Games.