Oculus “Doesn’t Condone” Actions of HTC Vive Hackers

Yesterday, an industrious coder released a homebrew software package that allows HTC Vive users to play the demos for Lucky’s Tale and Oculus Dreamdeck, both titles exclusive to the Oculus Rift. The an alpha build of the software – “a proof-of-concept compatibility layer between the Oculus SDK and OpenVR” – was released on GitHub by reddit user CrossVR to much buzz amongst VR users, but Oculus is understandably miffed about the matter.

“This is a hack, and we don’t condone it. Users should expect that hacked games won’t work indefinitely, as regular software updates to games, apps, and our platform are likely to break hacked software,” Oculus told GamesIndustry.biz.

While Oculus is unhappy about the “hack”, the software – named Revive – remains available on GitHub. It remains to be seen whether it will be subject to a cease and desist order, or a DMCA takedown, from the aggrieved company.

“It may work with plenty of other games, but that hasn’t been tested by myself. It’s still early days for this project, since it’s only been in development for a few weeks. In the future more games will be supported, but I’m glad to see such swift progress already,” CrossVR explained in his reddit post. Indicating a determination to continue work on the project, he added, “this is version 0.2 and there will be many more as there is still plenty of work to do.”

Oculus Pre-Order Deliveries Delayed by up to Two Months

Due to an “unexpected component shortage”, reported last week, some early pre-orders of the Oculus Rift have had their shipping dates delayed by up to two months, with one buyer – who pre-ordered 33 minutes after the VR device was made available on 6th January – being informed that he will have to wait until the end of May, at the earliest, for his order, reports RoadtoVR.

Another customer, commenting on reddit, revealed that, despite pre-ordering within 1 hour and 40 minutes of availability on 6th January, Oculus has delayed shipping their Rift, with an estimated delivery of between 13th-23rd June.

While pre-orderers have seen their order delayed by up to two months, all subsequent orders have been put back even further, with shipping of new orders pushed back until August.

Responding to numerous complaints on the Oculus subreddit, a customer support representative wrote:

“Kickstarter Backers, we’re changing your Order History to show “TBD” instead of the date as that date was applicable to the time in which we imported the orders. We’ve already fulfilled a large number of the orders and more are being fulfilled on a regular cadence.”

Also, in response to the furore, Oculus has begun refunding shipping costs on orders placed before 2nd April.

Analysts Expect VR to hit $895 Million for 2016

Virtual reality has been hailed as the next ‘thing’ that will catch consumer attention and drive innovation and growth in the technology industry. While it’s easy to see why VR might play out stronger than say 3D, the size of the burgeoning market appears to be massive. According to market analysts, Strategy Analytics, the virtual reality headset market will top $895 million. For an industry that is just really getting started, this is great news.

As expected, much of the value comes from the expensive Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR which are all going to release this year. With prices of $600, $800 and $400 respectively, it’s easy to see why the market is so big. The expectation is that these high-end headsets will account for 77% of the total revenue but only 13% of shipped units. After all, around 2.2 million Sony units would be enough to match the entire market value. Cheaper headsets like those based on smartphones will continue to see more though and be the VR most likely experienced by consumers.Furthermore, Strategy Analytics expects that VR will help drive a race in display resolution, storage and GPUs. This is due to the stringent and hefty requirements necessary to run VR games. Going forward it will be interesting to see what kind of hold VR will take and whether or not it will supplant traditional forms of content interaction.

DOTA 2 Could Be Getting a VR Spectating Mode

When it comes to eSports, being able to watch the techniques and strategies used by teams as they compete can be a gripping and thrilling experience. Be it at home or in a stadium, watching people play the game and knowing that in a just a few short seconds the entire game can change excites people, so what would you do if you could get closer to the action? You could soon with Valve teasing a VR spectating mode for the MOBA game, DOTA 2.

The footage was teased by Robert McGregor on twitter, showing off just some of the features. The footage shows a screen, similar to the one you would find watching the game regularly, only looking away from the suspended screen shows you details about the events and characters taking place in the match.

To either side of the screen line up the characters, showing the items they’ve all taken, while straight ahead as if on a table you have the overhead map, complete with markers to show who’s where. Compiled with team network and differences in experience gained, a single glance in any direction can reveal something you might normally miss.

While the new system looks to be made to support the HTC Vive (controllers and all), this is the first it’s been seen in action and if it’s anything to go by, VR spectating could be something that other e-sports look to create in the near future.

Oculus Home Sales Are Final – Despite EU Law

Buying the Oculus Rift is something that’s been stuck with its own issues recently, but I guess that is to be expected of any major hardware launch. However, it seems there’s a bit of a legal grey area buying content for the Rift, especially for those of us who live within the EU. Oculus Home, the digital store for supplying VR-ready titles, has declared that “all sales are final” when it comes to their refund policy.

So what does this mean? Well, if you buy a game, good luck getting your money back if you’re unhappy with the purchase and while for many, this won’t be an issue, it does fly in the face of laws in the EU that give consumers a right to a refund. The terms state that “All software purchases from the Oculus Store are final, and unless required by local law, no refunds will be provided.” and it’s that last part that causes problems, as the Oculus ToS section 4.11 states that “if you are located in the EU, you consent that the supply of the digital content may begin immediately following the completion of your purchase and you acknowledge that you therefore will lose any statutory rights you may have to withdraw and receive a refund.”

European Consumer Rights directives state that you have a 14-day cooling off period for any digital goods purchased, but you won’t get that right if you accept the terms of Oculus Home. Of course, Oculus aren’t the only ones doing this and even Valve walk a fine line here. However, Stream does offer a system for refunds that’s relatively in-line with the law, albeit it’s a fairly new feature to their service.

Oculus Home is already shutting out consumers from using other stores, such as Steam, to purchase their VR games, and they’re offering stricter ToS on top, not what I would call consumer-friendly at all and something we hope they improve on soon.

Overclockers UK Will Be at the VR World Congress Next Week

By now there can’t be much doubt in anyone’s mind that 2016 will be the year that will be remembered as the year VR went mainstream. We have got 3 major players each bringing out their own VR headsets, partly they already have to early adopters, and they surely won’t be the last ones. Overclockers UK is one of the biggest gaming system builders and hardware components shops in the UK and they are also on board for this new wave of virtual reality. We’ve already seen them create dedicated HTC Vive area in their shops where customers and fans can experience the full room VR experience, so there is no doubt that they believe in this too.

Overclockers UK will also be among the 600 buyers, sellers, and developers who will attend the VR World Congress next week on April the 12th in Bristol that is being headlined by AMD and their LiquidVR. At the VRWC, you’ll find a dedicated expo hall filled to the brim with exciting and innovative companies showing the latest developments in VR.

OC UK themselves will bring their high-performance PCs, starting from the recommended VR specifications and all the way up to the 8Pack designed and built monster PC called the Asteroid. There will also be the chance to test out OCUK’s Room Scale VR Experience at their booth.

You can also be part of this yourself, if you have time and are in the area, and you can even get in for free with a little luck. Overclockers UK is giving away 2 tickets for this event and the entry is as simple as it could be. All you have to do is to visit the OCUK forums and post a reply to a thread there. You should also take the time to browse the forums a little bit while you’re there, they got some great and knowledgeable people hanging around that post a lot of interesting stuff.

Oculus Waives Shipping Fees for All Past Orders

The Oculus Rift may have won the race to be the first VR headset to be available to consumers, but it hasn’t been so easy for Oculus due to the boom in interest for the VR headset. The Rift began shipping out to consumers on the 28th of March, but many preorder customers are still yet to receive any notification that their device will be shipped to them. Now Oculus VR has admitted that they have been struggling to meet demands for the Rift, with CEO Brendan Iribe taking to Twitter to state that the first batch of Rifts was “going out slower than we orig(inally) estimated.” This was backed up by an email sent out to waiting customers, citing an “unexpected shortage” as the reason that many were still waiting.

We’ve been working through an unexpected component shortage, and unfortunately, that issue has impacted the original shipping estimates for some early customers. We’re working hard to get up-to-date ship windows, and you should expect to see your order status updated on oculus.com by Tuesday, April 12th.

In order to make it up to customers who had pre-ordered one of the headsets, Oculus stated that they will be disregarding any delivery charges for all orders that have already been placed. It’s not all delays, though, with many customers having received their Rifts on time, one even being delivered by Palmer Luckey himself! Hopefully, Oculus will be able to sort out this issue before their main rival, the HTC Vive makes it to market when both sides will have a fight on their hands.

Project CARS Falls Victim to the VR War

Slightly Mad Studios has released its 1.3 Oculus Rift SDK support for Project CARS this week, and with it revealed that crossplay between Oculus and HTC Vive users is not possible. While Project CARS supports both VR headsets, the HTC Vive – co-developed by Valve – is locked to Steam, while the Oculus Rift version of the game is only available from the Oculus homestore.

“Hey guys,” wrote Project CARS Director Stephen Viljoen on the game’s official forum. “Regarding MP and the various platforms, they are indeed separate platforms and we cannot support MP matchmaking between these two platforms. It’s not ideal, but that’s just how this platform separation works.”

So, while Slightly Mad Studios is certainly not to blame, its game is the first high-profile victim of the emerging VR war, which is sure to stoke the ire of gamers during the technology’s embryonic period.

Slightly Mad has been selling the VR capabilities of Project CARS hard for some time now, boasting that the game is one of the most feature-complete titles available for the new wave of headsets.

“Whenever I buy new hardware, whether that’s a new computer or console or sound system, I wanna show it off. And I want something to really test it,” Andy Tudor, the studio’s director, told iDigitalTimes. “So for those that are getting the Rift and wanna have a game that they can really dig their teeth into and pulls out all the stops both technically and graphically, Project CARS is the one for you.”

To Play With The Oculus Rift You Pay With Your Privacy

We all love the idea of virtual reality and augmented reality, the idea that technology can send us to the deepest parts of the earth or the farthest reaches of space inspires us to enjoy things we will never get to do in the real world, all from the comfort of our sitting rooms. The question is how much we are willing to give in exchange for this “freedom”, with the enjoyment the Oculus Rift requiring you to pay with your privacy.

What do we mean by “pay with your privacy”? When you first install the software required to run the Rift on your PC a process called “OVRServer_x64.exe” is created, something normal given that it detects when the Rift is connected, on your Facebook and actually turned on. If you check the Privacy Policy (something we all know, including the companies that write them, is rarely checked) there are a few other things that the process can do.

The full section regarding “information collected about you when you use our services” states:

Information Automatically Collected About You When You Use Our Services. We also collect information automatically when you use our Services. Depending on how you access and use our Services, we may collect information such as:

  • Information about your interactions with our Services, like information about the games, content, apps or other experiences you interact with, and information collected in or through cookies, local storage, pixels, and similar technologies (additional information about these technologies is available at https://www.oculus.com/en-us/cookies-pixels-and-other-technologies/);
  • Information about how you access our Services, including information about the type of device you’re using (such as a headset, PC, or mobile device), your browser or operating system, your Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, and certain device identifiers that may be unique to your device;
  • Information about the games, content, or other apps installed on your device or provided through our Services, including from third parties;
  • Location information, which can be derived from information such as your device’s IP address. If you’re using a mobile device, we may collect information about the device’s precise location, which is derived from sources such as the device’s GPS signal and information about nearby WiFi networks and cell towers; and
  • Information about your physical movements and dimensions when you use a virtual reality headset.

Worrying parts about this is the mention of “pixels” in the first section, stating that they could find out what you are viewing and even go so far as to take a copy of your interaction. Full information about the games and everything you install are also fair and open to them with information going so far as your physical movements and dimensions being tracked as well, these seem a little bit further than just idle curiosity.

The policy continues to state how this information is used, with one section clarifying their marketing approach with this information:

To market to you. We use the information we collect to send you promotional messages and content and otherwise market to you on and off our Services. We also use this information to measure how users respond to our marketing efforts.

With Oculus now in partnership with Facebook, a move that raised concerns when it was first announced, people were concerned about privacy and tracking, something these conditions seems to allow. Going further the agreement states that “third parties may also collect information about you through the Services”, meaning that the agreement doesn’t limit but, in fact, allows apps to be created on the basis of tracking and monitoring your actions.

Thanks to Woofington over at Reddit who spotted this, if you’re interested in finding out how deep this goes you can read the full privacy policy here.

Are You Suffering From Oculus Face or Rift Rash?

Gaming has been the spawn of many unique illnesses, such as trigger finger pain, bent thumbs from excessive controller use, and so much more. Now we’re moving forward and onto more modern gaming related illnesses with Oculus Face. Wearing a VR headset for extended periods of time isn’t as uncomfortable as it used to be, the headsets are lighter, more ergonomic and more comfortable in general. However, that doesn’t mean to say they’re not going to make a lasting impression; literally.

https://twitter.com/stevekovach/status/714470354517757952?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The Oculus headset started shipping into the hands of customers earlier this week and that means there are many people out there getting lost in the world of VR right now. The only downside, at least so far, is that the headset leaves temporary red marks on the face, being comically named “Oculus Face” or the even more silly “Rift Rash”, neither sound like something you would want, but they’re obviously pretty harmless anyway.

https://twitter.com/stevekovach/status/714567978680000512?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

VR is cool, but it’s quite clear it doesn’t make you look too cool afterward. Hair screwed up, face all marked with red lines and sweat marks. Perhaps Google were onto something with their ergonomic and lightweight Glass designs after all. The foam padding is pretty comfortable from my own experiences, so it’s likely extended exposure that leads to these minor issues and I doubt it’ll be enough to put many of you off of a purchase any time soon.

Battlezone is Coming to VR on PC and PlayStation 4

Do you remember the iconic Battlezone? It’s certainly been a long time since I played it and even then, I think it was on an Amiga, perhaps even a Commodore64 when I did! The world isn’t short of HD remakes, remasters and rereleased, but it seems we have room for one more, as Battlezone is getting a full VR makeover on PlayStation VR and on Oculus Rift on PC.

I couldn’t think of a better place for Battlezone that VR, with the image of sitting down in your brightly coloured tanks whizzing around a map like a heavy-duty match of Mario Kart. As if the prospect of multiplayer isn’t enough, the team at Rebellion has released a new campaign trailer for the game, showing you just how much has changed in the game over the years.

“I think VR has an unfair reputation for just offering cool bitesize experiences, but we want to come out firing and deliver the kind of substantial content early adopters are crying out for. Obviously we’re hoping that Battlezone will be one of the first PlayStation VR games players buy, but we’re also designing it to be the one they return to time and time again… once VR has taken over the world of course!” Rebellion CEO and Creative Director Jason Kingsley.

 It’s certainly shaping up to be interesting, and with the developer touting procedurally generated as well as semi-randomized content so that each campaign is unique, so it should have some great replay value there too.
Are are you looking forward to Battlezone? Will you be playing it on PC or PlayStation?

HTC: The Vive is “Not Just About Gaming”

Virtual reality technology is commonly perceived as the future of gaming, and theoretically provides truly unique experiences. However, it’s not limited to the gaming sector and could be deployed to broadcast sports events in a more immersive way or help trainees to learn new skills. Unfortunately, being an early adopter of VR is a costly endeavour and requires a very capable PC. The Oculus Rift’s price point of $599 seems extremely high until HTC announced the Vive would retail for a staggering $799. This is bound to alienate a large proportion of the device’s possible user base and makes it a niche product. Despite this, the company defended its pricing policy via a post on the official HTC Vive blog. The statement reiterates that the Vive isn’t just for gaming purposes and reads:

“But it’s not just about gaming,” 

“In addition to these launch titles, HTC is working with developers to foster the creation of content that spans multiple sectors including entertainment, retail, education, design, healthcare and automotive that will ultimately transform people’s lives.”

Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO at HTC proclaimed:

“From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of virtual reality, with HTC pioneering several ground breaking technologies,

Since announcing Vive this time last year, we have worked tirelessly with Valve to deliver the best VR experience on the market, winning multiple awards and receiving critical acclaim from media, consumers and the industry. With the Vive consumer edition we are now able to realize our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a way that fires the imagination and truly changes the world.”

It’s important to remember that the first models of any new technology usually involves a hefty price and eventually becomes more mainstream. The Vive is a no-compromise approach to create the best possible VR experience. On the other hand, its price is very high and might frustrate users who want to see what the VR revolution is all about.

Oculus Confirms Rift Compatible PC Bundles

 

The range of potential possibilities concerning the forthcoming Oculus Rift headset promises to be both exciting and also worth the wait, in theory, the problem lies with headset compatibility for the extensive array of PCs that are currently on the market. It seems Oculus have already thought of this and have recently released details of specially crafted PC bundles that have been tested to ensure the headset will work with the machine.

Oculus have announced the first set of machines from well-known computer manufacturers ASUS, Alienware and Dell; these PCs have been tested and also certified by Oculus. The headset manufacturer has also confirmed that the first bundles will be available to pre-order for consumers starting from the 16th February 2016 at 8 am pacific time.

Other confirmed details include the stockists that will be able to accept pre-orders for the bundle, these are, Best Buy, Amazon and the Microsoft Store. There is no word as yet if the UK will receive these bundles as the company has stated that it will “ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions”  One would have thought these bundles would eventually be available within the UK when you consider the size and also profitability of the market.

Below is a selection of Oculus-ready’ PCs that the company has announced, it has also been stated that consumers who were excited enough to purchase an Oculus Rift without yet owning a compatible PC, the company said pre-order customers will be able to purchase a discounted PC at a later date.

 

The price of these bundles will start at $1,499, for that you will receive an “Oculus-certified PC and everything that comes with Rift – the headset, sensor, remote, an Xbox One controller, EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack, and Lucky’s Tale”.

 

Oculus VR Requests FCC Approval before March Launch

Just in case you don’t know this already, products that use any part of the electromagnetic spectrum need to be certified by the FCC before they can actually be sold to the public in the United States. Obviously, this rule also applies to VR systems such as the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, and while the HTC Vive hs already asked for FCC approval back in December, the Oculus Rift has just begun to make its rounds prior to its official launch in March. Because Oculus VR has opened pre-orders for the Rift not too long ago, it makes sense for the company to submit all of the necessary documents to the FCC in order to make sure that it will actually be able to sell its product once it launches.

It looks like some of the documents in question are available to the public, but others are protected by a Confidentiality Request that conceals them from the public eye. These classified documents include block diagrams, schematics, bills of materials and theory of operations, but it’s also worth mentioning that Oculus has requested a limited confidential treatment for the product’s user manual, test set-up photos and internal photos. The available public documentation suggests that the Oculus Touch feature is located within the unit’s ‘battery well’, which means that we might be looking at a removable battery system. We’ll definitely find out more about the final version of the Oculus Rift after March 28.

Oculus Rift Boss Explains The Price Confusion

We first speculated, then we got the confirmation but had to wait for a little while before we could place our pre-orders on the final Oculus Rift. Yesterday was the big day and the pre-order queue was opened up to the public. At the same time, we also got the pricing that so far had been down to speculations and vague statements. However, the price tag of $600 did confuse quite a few people as we’ve previously heard of a price that should be in the “ballpark of $350”. That is quite a bit of difference and Palmer Luckey, the Oculus boss and founder, took it on to answer the confusion in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).

Luckey apologized for the misleading information and went on to explain how it came to be. At the time where the statement was made, quite a few people believed that the $1500 estimated price floating around was for just the headset, but it was actually for a VR ready PC system. And compared to $1500, $600 is more in the ballpark of $350, hence the confusion.

“I handled the messaging poorly,” Luckey said. “As an explanation, not an excuse: during that time, many outlets were repeating the ‘Rift is $1500!’ line, and I was frustrated by how many people thought that was the price of the headset itself. My answer was ill-prepared, and mentally, I was contrasting $349 with $1500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 – that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark.”

Luckey went on to explain the costs. It looks like they aren’t making much if any profit from this first consumer version of the Oculus Rift. It is being sold at cost. This is great for both the consumer and the technology itself, we need it to stick and stay around. It’s time for a shift in our virtual experiences.

When compared to the DK1 and DK2, the final Oculus Rift uses hardware that’s a lot more advanced and made just for this headset rather than off-the-shelf parts. If it had been released with DK2 hardware, the price would still have been $400 or more. With all this in mind, I think the consumers will be happy that Oculus didn’t take any shortcuts but opted for the best possible hardware right away.

“DK1 and DK2 cost a lot less – they used mostly off the shelf components. They also had significantly fewer features (back of head tracking, headphones, mic, removal facial interfaces, etc.) For Rift, we’re using largely custom VR technology (eg. custom displays designed for VR) to push the experience well beyond DK2 to the Crescent Bay level.”

Considering that most people don’t have any trouble throwing $600 after a new fancy smartphone or TV, it’s not that bad at all. I do however think that I might hold back a little myself and wait for a price around the $450 before I join the world of virtual reality.

Original Oculus Backers to Receive Final Rift for Free

On the eve of making pre-orders of its hardware available, Oculus has announced that backers of the original Rift VR headset on Kickstarter will receive the final retail version of the hardware for free. Early backers were previously rewarded with the early Rift prototype kit and SDK but, as a show of gratitude, will also be presented with a free Kickstarter Edition of the retail Oculus Rift model, which includes two free games.

“Tomorrow, we’ll be opening Rift pre-orders on Oculus.com. This is a major milestone on the path to putting great VR in the hands of millions,” the new update on the Rift Kickstarter page reads. “As a small token of our appreciation for your support, all Kickstarter backers who pledged for a Rift development kit will get a free Kickstarter Edition Oculus Rift! And like all Rift pre-order purchasers, you’ll receive a bundled copy of Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie.”

“To claim your free Rift,” the post adds, “fill out the survey you’ll receive from Kickstarter before February 1, 2016 and provide a shipping address that is located in one of the 20 countries Rift is launching in. For those who don’t live in one of those 20 countries, we’re working on an alternative, and you can let us know your preference in the form.”

Oculus Founder Discusses Adoption Challenges For VR Headsets

The potential of Virtual Reality is rather exciting and is tipped to be one of the biggest attractions of this week’s CES (Consumer Electronic Show 2016), this is also where the gang of eTeknix are currently stationed in Las Vegas and are ready to bring you the very latest news. VR and the accompanying headsets do bring its own challenges, from adoption to market interest; there are many things to consider, so much so that Palmer Luckey, who is the founder of Oculus VR has discussed such issues and it’s very interesting.

On the subject of Virtual reality headsets replacing smartphones, Palmer Luckey stated that “the technology required many years of further development before it could replace smartphone’s for mainstream users” Mr Luckey also stated that VR headsets would need to be more powerful, cheaper and also slim enough for it to be considered to be both a viable alternative and also an appealing product for a wider adoption.

Asked how long it would take before we would see a ubiquitous use of VR, Mr Luckey stated that it could be anything from “five years – ten years”. The price point is also crucial and analysis by “Touchstone Research” have found that US Internet consumers would be willing to spend the following amounts on a VR device. As you can see, 31% would be willing to spend between $200 – $399 dollars, but if you go to the other end of the spectrum then it conveys that 6% would not be happy to spend a single dollar.

Palmer Luckey also recognises that “the current headset design is “obviously not the ideal form factor” as it is too bulky and needs to be slimmer. Further details include the recent announcement by Oculus concerning the finalization that it will be taking pre – orders for the Rift on January 6,th 2016 and shipping would be in the first quarter of 2016.

It will be interesting to note how this product performs and also how quickly this new tech is adopted by the market.

Image courtesy of fastcompany

Oculus Touch Release Delayed

Originally planned to be released in the first half of 2016, Oculus VR have announced that they have pushed the release date of their unique VR controller, the Oculus Touch into the second half of 2016 with pre-orders being made available closer to the release date.

In a blog post on the topic, the Facebook-owned company revealed that the delays to the touch were to allow them to refine the design and incorporate new features into the controller. They wish to make use of advances in ergonomics to make the Touch more comfortable and natural. Other changes should increase the reliability and allow for improvements in hand-pose recognition.

Delaying the public release of the Touch will also allow for Oculus to increase their amount of pre-production runs, which should hopefully allow for more games to support the controller at its release as well as allowing Oculus to get feedback on the controller and its software support.

Overall, Oculus believe that the delays to their controller “will produce an even better product, one that will set the bar for VR input.” They went on to say that they “promise Touch will be worth the wait.” Thankfully for those awaiting the release of the Oculus Rift, its release date will be unaffected by the delays to the Touch.

Oculus Announces More Freebies for Oculus Rift Customers

We could recently first report our speculations and later post the official confirmation that the Oculus Rift launch is imminent and that 2016 will be the year where the average consumer will get access to the new world of Virtual Reality. The pre-order phase is planned for January or February 2016, so that is just around the corner. The Oculus team did also promise to give a fair warning to everyone in order to allow people to save up and place their pre-order once it’s possible.

So far we’ve also heard that Oculus Rift pre-orders will get a free copy of EVE Valkyrie along with the headset itself, and that is pretty sweet. But what about everyone else? All those people that will buy their fancy new VR headset later? Well, they will get something too as it was revealed on the official Oculus Rift blog. All customers will get the brand new and made-for-VR platformer Lucky’s Tale along with their Oculus Rift.

Lucky’s Tale is an Oculus Studios title and you can expect it to stay limited for the VR platform. It takes you on an “adventure of a lifetime” with Lucky the fun-loving fox. The game takes you to a charming new world, with dozens of locales and lush environments. Early demos of the game have already been highly praised by those who have seen and tested them, which speaks for a promising final product.

“We always believed there was an opportunity for platformers in VR, but it wasn’t until playing Lucky’s Tale and working with the Playful team that we truly realized its potential to change how people view this genre of gaming forever. Lucky’s Tale delivers on everything you want in a next-generation VR game – it’s thrilling, full of adventure, and incredibly fun to play.”

Lucky’s Tale will be coming exclusively to Oculus in Q1 and you could call it the Rift’s Sonic or Mario. Will you be among the first that pre-order a new Oculus Rift as soon as it is possible? Let us know in the comments.

Oculus Founder Compares “Fancy Wine” Rift to “Muddy Water” Google Cardboard

Oculus Inc. founder Palmer Luckey is being bullish in the run-up to the imminent consumer release of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, making a devilish comparion between his company’s much-anticipated tech and Google’s own VR offering, the smartphone-using Cardboard.

On Christmas Eve, Luckey tweeted, “Reminder of something I have talked about before: VR will become something everyone wants before it becomes something everyone can afford.” In the ensuing conversation with a couple of his followers, Luckey was asked how the high-end and expensive Rift can compete against the $20 Google Cardboard. Luckey then scoffed at the notion, asserting that his “fancy wine” Rift cannot be compared to the “muddy water” cardboard, “because the Rift is actually good.”

Luckey also confirmed over the last few days that the Rift is on target for a first-quarter release in 2016, with pre-orders being made available at the start of the new year. “Thrilled to share some news,” he tweeted. “Manufacturing continues to go well, and we are still on-target for an awesome Rift launch in Q1!” He added, “Preorders are coming soon after new year. Enjoy a stress-free holiday, we won’t launch preorders without warning!”

Further information regarding the consumer release of Oculus Rift is expected at CES 2016, which runs from the 6th to the 9th of January.

Oculus Rift Pre-Order Availability Confirmed

Yesterday we speculated that all signs are pointing towards an imminent release date for the Oculus Rift VR headset and we based on several individual sources and information. Shortly after we published this news, we got the official confirmation. Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, posted the good news on Twitter where his fans could read the positive message: The virtual reality headset is on-target for a Q1 2016 launch and pre-orders are expected to come soon after the new year.

January is a tough month for a lot of people money wise, as that’s usually where all the large bills have to be paid such as insurances, and it also comes on top of Christmas where people tend to spend more than they should. Should you fall within this category and fear that you can’t be among the first row of pre-order candidates, then don’t worry. Palmer continued with a message assuring prospective buyers that they don’t need to stress over the holiday as Oculus VR will give a fair warning before launching pre-orders.

To sweeten the deal, Oculus Rift pre-orders will get a free copy of EVE Valkyrie along with the headset itself. Whether the Oculus Touch controllers will be available for pre-orders too or if they’ll launch at a later time is something we don’t know yet. I’m sure we will learn a lot more once CES 2016 in Las Vegas starts.

Everything Points to an Imminent Launch of the Oculus Rift

As a release date gets closer, more and more things start to line up and paint the picture even tho nothing official has been said. It looks very much like 2016 will be the year where the average consumer will get their hands on the new VR technology and be allowed into the brand new gaming experience that so far has been reserved for the few.

There are multiple things that point to an imminent release of everything and that is no surprise with CES 2016 in Las Vegas being just a few weeks away. The first hint is found on the official Oculus developers blog where it reads that the Rift SDK 1.0, the final first version, is now shipping to developers along with the final Rift hardware. So the hardware is nailed down, the SDK is ready, and it further reads that companies planning to release Rift titles in Q1 can get early access to the hardware, which confirms that we’ll see the Rift VR headset very soon.

I’ve already mentioned CES 2016 in Las Vegas and that will be a big show for the people from Oculus who have a massive booth on the floor. You don’t rent a space that large at CES without having something really big to show.

The third hint we get about this today is in the form of the Nvidia GeForce graphics driver update that comes with special remarks in regards to the Rift headset and VR in general as well as being WQHL certified.

Everything is lining up and there can’t be much doubt anymore that we’ll see 2016 as the year where VR took off. Will you be buying the Rift? Our best guess is you might want to have pre-order money ready by Jan-Feb 2016!

Gear VR Starts Shipping and Oculus Concepts Early-Access Is Launched

Virtual Reality is something that gamers have been striving for since the first computer game was made, but it wasn’t until we saw the Oculus enter the scene that this became a viable reality. Now that the new Samsung Gear VR has started shipping to US customers and select shops such as Best Buy and AT&T stores, the fantasy to jump into a virtual world can be a reality for everyone. When I say to everyone, it is meant towards those that have enough spare cash to purchase one and live in the US. The rest of the world will be able to get the Gear VR shortly and it is already up for pre-orders in other regions than the US.

There is already a quite extensive collection available for customers of the Gear VR and that is something that is growing steady all the time. There is currently hundreds of VR games and thousands of hours of VR movies as well as over 200 thousand 360 degree photos for you to explore.

More than 25 brand new made-for-VR games and experiences are coming to Gear VR by early December. You can play the highly anticipated EVE: Gunjack now and start to fight mutants with Mortal Blitz VR. This week you will also be able to explore VR’s first aquatic safari park in Ocean Rift as it is just about to be released.

With all this content available where some are better than others, it is necessary to have a proper platform for all this and keep the early access, demos, and general fails away from the main system. Oculus now started organizing the catalog and launched a new store section called the Oculus Concepts. Oculus Concepts is essentially the same as Valve’s Steam Early Access program where developers can showcase unfinished projects and ideas in order to get feedback from actual users.

Oculus Rift to Sell 5 Million Units Next Year – Still Won’t Turn a Profit!

It’s no secret that the Oculus Rift is expected to do well, but given the level of investment and the level of research that has been plowed into the hardware, software and much more, how are Oculus and their current overlords Facebook hoping to turn a profit? Experts are predicting big things for the Oculus Rift, despite stiff competition from the likes of HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. It is expected to sell around five million units in the first year alone, which would be quite an achievement.

“Net-net, we expect Facebook will grow hardware revenue generated from Oculus at a 4% five-year CAGR from $2.1 billion in FY16 to $2.6 billion in FY21,” said analytic firm Suisse.

Facebook has invested a lot in Oculus, so much so that it could take them until 2021 just to break even. Of course, they’re not exactly short on funds at the moment and their investment goes far beyond people playing flight sims, so who how profitable the Oculus may perform in markets outside of gaming.

“However, given our assumption that Facebook will once again demonstrate a willingness to forgo near-term monetisation in return for increased product adoption, we are modeling an initial negative gross profit impact from the initiative – with Oculus gross margins reaching breakeven by 2021 and contributing ~$50 million in gross profit by FY22.” added Suisse.

With the price estimated to be in the region of $350 and a launch in early 2016, the time of VR gaming is almost upon up. Do you think it will be a success?

Oculus, AMD & Dell Join Forces to Bring You Oculus-Ready PCs

Adding to the long list of Virtual Reality projects that AMD is working on this year, they just announced a unified project between themselves Dell and Oculus. They are aiming to bring consumers Oculus-Ready PCs that have AMD GPUs, and these PCs will start right at $999. This means that Dell and Alienware will join Asus on the Oculus Ready PC program. The recommended GPU for the “full Rift experience” is a R9 290 so it will be interesting to see what actually they are outfitted with when the PCs start to hit the market.

Roy Taylor, corporate vice president, Alliances and Content, of AMD said, “It’s an exciting time to be at the heart of all things Virtual Reality. I’m confident that with Dell and Alienware, we can enable a wide audience of PC users with extraordinary VR capabilities powered by AMD Radeon GPUs.”

There is no doubt that Dell and Alienware will reach a huge audience that will adopt or try VR; it will be easily done just by their market share alone. I can only hope that it will lead to more enthusiasts building higher performance machines of their own after getting a taste of Virtual Reality with an OEM PC.

Thank you TechPowerUp for the information.

Thank you Oculus for the image.

Oculus Rift Outlines Cost For Release Model

The oculus rift has taken the world by storm, offering virtual reality to a wide range of people for a whole series of uses. With the CEO, Brendan Iribe, stating that the headset and a computer powerful enough to drive it would cost roughly £1000, people are now looking forward to a release date that could soon be announced. In another released statement the company founder, Palmer Luckey went into discussing the price of the headset itself.

At the Oculus Connect Conference Luckey was asked about if the release price for the oculus rift would come in at around the same as the developer kits that are currently being sold. Priced at 350$ (around £230) it is not a small price, but not a huge one. This was however before this little gem,

“You know, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. We’re roughly in that ballpark…” said Luckey, “but it’s going to cost more than that. And the reason for that is that we’ve added a lot of technology to this thing beyond what existed in the DK1 and DK2 days.”

Meaning that the rough ballpark of £230 could go out the window very quickly, with it later being stressed that a lower price point wasn’t of concern to the development team and they were instead more focused on making sure the quality wasn’t compromised.

Are you interested in the Oculus Rift? Do you own one or have you got a development kit? What are your thoughts on it?

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

 

Oculus Admits to Conversations About Xbox One Support

Virtual reality headset makers Oculus has established a strong relationship with Microsoft recently, with the retail version of Oculus Rift to include an Xbox One controller, streaming support for Xbox One games, and official support for Minecraft next year. Now Oculus has admitted to “conversations” regarding official Xbox One support, but don’t expect it any time soon.

“It has been a conversation, but I can say we’re not so close,” Oculus’ Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell admitted.

“What we were finding is that it’s hard enough to deliver a great experience reliably on Windows, never mind adding OS X and Linux to that, which are different beasts entirely,” explained Mitchell. “Because of that, we’ve been laser focused on getting Windows in awesome shape. No one is really thinking right now about bringing the Rift to a console, especially when the spec is so different from what we’re targeting right now.”

Microsoft, of course, is launching its own Xbox-compatible VR headset, the HoloLens, which is expected, in the form of developer version at least, by 2016. Sony is also joining the party with Project Morpheus for PlayStation 4, also due next year.

“That’s the thing, you can absolutely deliver a great VR experience on Xbox One, what I should say is with the hardware that’s in the Xbox One,” Mitchell added. “We’re not really focused on it right now. It really depends on the content you want to put there.”

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ars Technica.