Oculus Announces New Rift Prototype “Crescent Bay”

Prepare your eyeballs and senses ladies and gentlemen – the men and women leading the charge on VR technology have just publicly announced a new Oculus Rift prototype unit, codenamed “Crescent Bay”. The new prototype features improved 360-degree tracking and integrated audio, and even though the finalised consumer build still isn’t here yet – there’s a lot to like about the new prototype build. CEO Brendan Iribe said that the company is licensing 3-D audio technology from RealSense VR – which provides the wearer with a virtual world of audio. Iribe explained that integrated audio technology helps to create a more true-to-life surround sound experience. “This is still very, very early hardware and software, but it’s in a state that we’re ready to show you today.”

As part of the announcement, Oculus said that they had shipped over 100,000 units of its previous developer kits of the Rift VR headset. Iribe seems very impressed with the technological jump to “Crescent Bay” over the previous “DK2” prototype, quoting “Crescent Bay is a massive leap” that is “sprinting towards a consumer version.” The company – since been acquired by Facebook – is said to have doubled in staffing size, so hopefully we’ll be seeing the Oculus Rift consumer version on the horizon in the near future.

As of the time of writing, no pricing or release date for the Crescent Bay Rift prototype is available.

“Lowest Cost Possible” For consumer Oculus Rift

In a recent interview with Ars Technica, CEO Brendan Iribe spoke out about Oculus Rift, Facebook and on comments made my Mark Zuckerberg. Not only has he said that the company (Oculus) expects the Rift to sell “north of 1 million units” when released, but that Zuckerberg wants to unit to be as affordable as possible.

While we already know that Facebook has a sizeable war chest in terms of financial backing, their money isn’t expected to have much, if any, impact on the consumer model of the rift or its design, especially since development was already well underway before they signed a massive cheque to buy up the company. The main difference there is that Facebook will be taking a cut from the profits and looking to use the technology to secure other deals with content providers. However, it’s those profit margins that Zuckerberg is least concerned about, stating that he wants to ignore margins wherever possible to drive down the Rift’s costs for consumers, and “I do too” added Iribe.

“at the same time, we were planning to run a business, hopefully a break-even [or] profitable business off of this, not a money-losing business (Oculus). Mark is much more in the mindset of ‘Let’s get this to scale with the best quality product at the lowest cost possible.'”

Let’s be honest, Facebook has a healthy bank ballance already, so it makes sense for them to take a smaller cut on Oculus Rift, at least at first to help the product succeed, rather than push it into the realm of the enthusiast, and ignoring the average consumer by jacking the price up.

With everything from games, to a David Attenborough documentary being made for the Rift, I can’t wait to see the final product. Facebook and Oculus are still elusive about the consumer model release date, only going as far to say they “will be disappointed” if it’s not released by the end of 2015.

Thank you ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of ArsTechnica.