Early this morning, at 3am AEST (such is our lot), Oculus held its E3 press conference, titled “Enter the Rift” – essentially to announce details regarding the launch of the Oculus Rift. For those of us that didn’t manage to pull ourselves from bed in the wee hours, we’ve summarised the event below:
- Unveiled new logo: well, it was released a couple of days prior, at the announcement of the event, but the new logo was front and centre at the event
- Final version of the hardware and OS revealed: the hardware is lighter, covered in a cloth material, plays nicely with your glasses, and is in general much more sleek. The operating system was covered somewhat briefly, but it was sleek and clean, with sharp lines and simple menus.
- New “Constellation” tracking system: utilises a new sensor for determining position in space
- Includes an integrated audio system, but headphones are removable, so you can use your own if preferred
- In a partnership with Microsoft, the Oculus Rift will ship with an Xbox One controller and wireless adapter (note: the wireless PC adapter only works with Windows 10)
- Windows 10 has native Oculus Rift support, and will support Xbox One game streaming to Oculus Rift – while it wasn’t stated directly, it was heavily implied that any and all games would work in this way, as they were effectively projected onto a virtual wall
- Announced Games: EVE Valkyrie, from CCP Games, the developers of EVE Online
- Chronos, from Gunfire Games
- Edge of Nowhere, from Insomniac Games (think Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance)
- More games to be on show at E3
- Release window of Q1 2016
- Oculus also announced $10m funding to support (although they used the word “accelerate”) Indie development for Rift
- Announced Oculus Touch: a new input system designed specifically for VR, to be released late 2016. These are hand-held controllers with a very complex (yet novel) design with multiple inputs: analogue, touch, location-based to name a few. Players hold one in each hand, and each has an analogue stick, two buttons, and a trigger.
A glitzy presentation, to be sure – the trailers looked glorious without VR, so I can only imagine how they would look when wearing the headset. However, a lot of information was missing – a specific release date, for example, not to mention whether or not this was an international or staged release. Further, the specs weren’t detailed – not only the specs of the hardware itself, but also the specs of the PC required to run it comfortably, as that will factor into the overall cost. I also find it interesting that the Oculus Touch controllers will be sold separately, 6 months AFTER the release of the core unit… Clearly it can’t be overly integral to the experience if they are to be an optional … Colour me impressed, but seeking further detail… Hopefully some light will be shed come E3 next week!