Oculus Rift – The New Virtual Reality Benchmark For 3D Gaming

What is Oculus Rift?

Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 image

Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2)

Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset designed to combine 3D and head-tracking technologies together, allowing users to literally step into their video games for an immersive gaming experience.

Oculus Rift Release Date

Oculus Rift is still under development with an estimated release date set for April 2015, although some sources mentioned 2016 as the deadline. Three developer versions have been designed so far. The Development Kit 2 (DK2) version is an upgraded product that holds many improvements over its predecessor, the DK1 built, like a higher resolution display, better head tracking. The external control box was also not needed anymore. Another built, codenamed ‘Crescent Bay’ featured an even higher resolution, a 360-degree tracking system and integrated headphones among other significant enhancements.

Oculus Rift Price

You can get the Rift for $350. You can pre-order from Oculus VR official website. Bear in mind that it is still for developers not for consumers so the production rate is still rather limited. In other words, you may well have to wait for a while before you can get your hands on your copy.

Oculus Rift For Sale

Some people do not care much about the price and head over to where they can buy one quicly, as from private resellers on sites like E-bay. Beware though, Oculus VR is very strict regarding this as they made themselves very clear that no reselling of the Oculus Rift is allowed whatsoever, at least not until the release of the first consumer version (codenamed CV1).
They actually cancel orders from people who try to resell their Rifts, so you may well end up dealing with somebody who would not be able to actually send you anything.

Oculus Rift Reviews

There is a bunch of good-quality reviews of the Oculus Rift that have been posted online. Almost all praise the Rift in the term of it enhancing the gaming experience with a high resolution display, an accurate positional tracking with no latency and even integrated headphones in the case of the Crescent Bay prototype.

Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype image

Oculus Rift ‘Crescent Bay’ prototype

There seems to be a few glitches though, specifically related to the larger lenses that are equipping the DK2 version. First, it’s seems that it’s easy to scratch them, especially if you’re wearing glasses. Also, it appears that the colors will be a bit split apart in the rendering as well as the text being less readable the further you look away from the sweet spot. The designers will also have to find a way to include an input device as interacting inside of a 3D virtual world will always be easier and more natural via a 6 degrees of freedom (6DOF) input method.

Bottom line is that the Rift is still under development, which means that the product in its current state is definitely not final and that the consumer version will most likely be better. In light of this, the question on whether to buy it or not could depend on what $350 mean to you. If easily affordable, then why not, otherwise, it would be much wiser to wait for the consumer version to be released. At least you will be sure that you are getting something that has been tested extensively, and most likely supporting a broader range of video games.

Oculus Rift and Realistic flight simulation

The combination of virtual reality and high-fidelity flight simulators looks promising to say the least. While looking around the cockpit is nothing new to virtual pilots who use a head-tracking device like the TrackIR, literally sitting inside the virtual cockpit certainly is.

To some extent, this could actually increase situational awareness in combat, especially in a dogfight, post-merge. The positional tracking 1:1 mapping allows a 100% natural head movement, unlike non-VR head tracking solutions that use an acceleration curve to amplify your real head movement. This could allow intuitive head movements, thus an improved effectiveness at keeping your eyes on the bad guys.

One possible limitation to using the Rift with ultra-realistic flight simulations could be the need of heavy keyboard use. The command list is often a very long one and it is impossible to achieve an exhaustive HOTAS mapping no matter how many buttons and switches are available. So how are you going to use the keyboard for extra controls if you can’t see it?

Oculus Rift DK2 Full Specs

Hardware
Weight .97 pounds
Color Black

Tracking
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer
Inertial update rate 1000 Hz
Included camera Near infrared CMOS
Positional update rate 60 Hz

Display
Native resolution (X) 1920
Native resolution (Y) 1080
Resolution (per eye) 960 x 1080
Technology OLED
Field of view 100 °
Max refresh rate 75 Hz

Connectivity
Video in HDMI
USB 2.0 1
As a hardcore gamer, would you buy the still-under-development Rift now or wait patiently for the consumer version? and why?

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