News of Facebook splashing out $2bn to buy virtual reality headset startup Oculus has prompted not only surprise but horror among developers and fans, with the company facing a sizable backlash as the news spreads. Developers and would-be gamers waiting for the consumer Rift headset have reacted for the most part negatively, accusing Oculus of "selling out" and voicing concerns that the project will wither and die at Mark Zuckerberg's hand.
Facebook has bought Oculus, spending $2bn on the maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, in what the social network says will be a push to grow 3D vision in gaming, communications, and "new social experiences." The deal, which will be made up of around $400m in cash and the remainder in Facebook stock, is expected to close before the end of June 2014, and will help Facebook in not playing catch-up to future platforms as, founder Mark Zuckerberg concedes, it did with mobile.
So you want to enter a virtual landscape where you can play any and all games in a holodeck-like situation, but you want to bring your buddies, too? The next generation of virtual reality gaming has your back. As we experienced at GDC 2014 and as is being re-confirmed again this week, the next wave isn’t all going to be about you escaping from the rest of the world - you aren’t going in alone!
It’s suggested by Oculus VR that their second Oculus Rift developer unit is made to be much closer to a final deliverable consumer product than the first. In creating a better sense of "presence" as well as an improved overall comfort for the user, they’ve aimed at a device that’ll be ready to use by anyone, not just a developer. Today we’re having an up-close look and feel with the machine at GDC 2014.
Two pieces of virtual reality equipment are now supposedly at war - the Oculus Rift DK2 (dev-kit version 2) and Sony’s PlayStation 4-aimed Project Morpheus. Both machines are meant to dive into the virtual reality universe, and both are aimed at gaming first and foremost. But they aren’t going to war with one another.
Oculus has revealed its second generation Rift VR developer headset, DK2, set to launch in July complete with a new camera peripheral which adds greater body tracking. The updated version, which goes up for preorder today, builds on the Crystal Cove prototype that Oculus showed off back at CES 2014 in January, streamlining the design, increasing resolution, and adding player depth-tracking.
Motion-tracking startup Thalmic Labs has been showing off what its early developers can do with a muscle-reading Myo armband and a little imagination, with the new peripheral already integrated with Oculus Rift, capable of remotely controlling mean-looking robots, and more. The company isn't planning to ship broadly until midway through this year, but its Myo Alpha Developers program is underway, and already the ideas are proving diverse.
The company behind the Oculus Rift revealed on Reddit today that due to a shortage of unspecified components, production of the device has been temporarily halted, leaving only the current remaining stock in certain regions. The components are no longer being manufactured, according to the company, requiring it to find an alternative source.