While virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality have all, or separately, been hailed as the next wave of computing, the truth is they haven’t taken off outside of a still small minority in the tech industry. One reason is the prohibitive cost of PC-powered VR equipment. The other is that few people find any use of the technologies, especially VR, outside entertainment and a few niche serious applications. Oculus, perhaps the pioneer of this VR renaissance, wants to at least change the latter with the upcoming Rift Core 2.0 release that adds both serious work and a pinch of whimsy to the VR platform.
When most people, even tech savvy ones, hear of VR, they will often think of games, immersive and interactive fiction, and make-believe worlds. They aren’t wrong, of course, as those are the primary experiences enabled by the technology. They need not be the only ones, of course, since VR has almost infinite potential, limited only by software and input devices.
Oculus says it has (mostly) solved the latter problem with the introduction of the Oculus Touch controller a year ago. This time, it’s going after the software side with Rift Core 2.0. Specifically, the new Dash interface that lets you use your Windows software inside the virtual world. So you can listen to Spotify, watch YouTube, or even browse on Chrome without putting your headset aside.
Rift Core 2.0 also makes the Home a more personal space. Rift Core 2.0 will bring in more customization options to truly make your mark. But perhaps more interestingly, Oculus reveals it is working on features that will let you hang out with your friends in your home. Virtually, of course. No more messy, loud frat parties.
If some of these sound familiar, you might have watched Microsoft present its Windows Mixed Reality platform not too long ago. It does seem to be where VR is headed, which could finally make the technology useful to more people. If only the fixed the ergonomic and remaining input issues as well.