Oculus just wrapped up its ‘Step into the Rift’ conference. The conference was heavy on buzzwords, but light on demonstrations. Here are four things we learned today.
1. The Final, Retail Rift
Here it is. The consumer version of the Oculus Rift. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe describes the system as light and easy to slip on and off. The strap does look a lot more comfortable than early versions of the Oculus Rift.
There are some new additions as well including integrated audio. The earphones can be easily removed so you can use your own headphones. That’s a plus.
I like the new sensor. It’s a much more elegant solution than attaching a sensor to the top of your monitor.
Do you wear glasses? Oculus has your back. The consumer version of the Rift has been designed to work well with glasses. There’s also a little dial at the bottom right of the unit that you can adjust to get the Rift to work perfectly for you.
2. Xbox Partnership
Oculus announced each consumer version will ship with a Xbox One controller. It’s not the sexy solution for VR, but it works. A wireless adapter is also included for Windows 10 support.
Microsoft’s Phil Spencer also announced you can stream Xbox One games to Oculus. Why? Who the hell knows. ‘I can’t wait to play Sunset Overdrive in a virtual room on a flat screen inside my room with a TV,’ said nobody ever. It sounds bad and looks worse in motion.
This screams more of just having a check mark ticked off. It’s there if people want it, but not even remotely close to a selling point.
3. The Games
We did get to see some new games today. EVE: Valkyrie made another appearance and showed off a trailer. It looked like the old trailer to me.
Chronos is a new game from Gunfire Games, former Darksider devs. It takes place in an elaborate labyrinth and uses aging as a mechanic. Chronos looks decent and sounds interesting. I’m going to keep an eye on it. Here’s a trailer. (it’s a capture from the Twitch stream, I’ll update it if Gunfire Games releases an official trailer)
Insomniac Games was on hand to announce an exclusive game for Oculus Rift called Edge of Nowhere. It’s a third-person adventure game where you search for a lost Arctic expedition. Except this isn’t your typical Arctic environment. There are tons of monsters after you.
I’m curious to see how third person games work in VR.
Several more games were shown in a short montage clip. We also saw a partial list of developers working on Oculus games including 4A Games, Ready at Dawn, Harmonix, Square Enix, High Voltage and more.
4. Oculus Touch
The Xbox One controller threw me and probably you off guard when we first heard it. Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey finished the show off by showing off Oculus Touch.
Oculus Touch is two wireless controllers. Each controller comes with an analog stick, two buttons and a trigger. There is another trigger Luckey calls the ‘hand trigger.’ He imagines a scenario where you pick up an imaginary gun and then use the trigger under your index finger to shoot. Sounds awesome. It would have been even better to see it in action.
Oculus plans to demonstrate Oculus Touch at their E3 booth with a demo called ‘Toybox.’
What we didn’t learn
Still no concrete info on price for just the Oculus unit. As for the entire package, including a computer? Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe had this to say at Re/code’s Code Conference recently:
“We are looking at an all-in price, if you have to go out and actually need to buy a new computer and you’re going to buy the Rift … at most you should be in that $1,500 range,” said Iribe.
2. Release Date
No new info on this front either. Oculus Rift is coming Q1 2016.
Overall, the conference felt weird. We saw a few new games, but nothing ground-breaking outside of Oculus Touch was shown. Touch looks cool, but it still seems very prototype-y.
I know VR is hard to demonstrate, but you need to show something. I was disappointed, but I still think Oculus is on the right track. They just need to show more. Q1 2016 is fast approaching. And so is the competition.