Oculus Rift Release Slated for Next Year While New Version Requires a Whole Room to Work

By Gerald Lynch on at

It's been such a long time coming after its Kickstarter success that the Oculus Rift VR headset is starting to feel like vapourware. But with the might of Facebook now behind the company, it looks as though we're finally approaching a proper retail release -- the company is aiming to have the kit in regular consumer's hands by next year.

Speaking to Business Insider during the Facebook F8 development conference, an Oculus Rift spokesperson detailed plans to have the headset in stores by next year, stating that Oculus would be "disappointed" if it wasn't available by 2016. Sounds like something to pencil in to Christmas lists for 2015 to me.

Part of the delay seems down to the developers. With the second generation development kit scheduled to ship to game devs in July, the Facebook/Oculus duo are reluctant to push the hardware ahead of there being a worthy number of software titles to accompany it.

However, despite the long-awaited release of that headset, that model is said to pale in comparison to what the company is working on deep within its "Valve Room" testing labs in LA. Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon, an investor in Oculus VR, described a prototype headset requiring a whole room full of servers to work, such is the level of processing power currently required to run the thing. He told Business Insider that:

Crystal Cove is 50 per cent of what they are running in LA You go into a room. It's a special room. Fancier headset [...] In user testing it gets to a level of realism where almost all people feel that it's realistic [...] Imagine everything you can see now, but it's a little bit pixelated. Eventually that [pixelation] will go away.

Blimey -- a whole room! Those Lawnmower Man analogies keep getting more and more valid. Beyond gaming, as the tech behind Oculus Rift improves, Dixon expects the headset to increasingly be used in training situations for dangerous workplace roles, such as firefighting and within the military. [Business Insider]