If you read my last blog before Christmas – My top tech predictions for 2016 – I mentioned that 2016 will be a big year for Virtual Reality. Rift by Oculus VR is a display which has been picking up a lot of traction. It initially started out as a Kickstarter campaign where Oculus VR raised $2.5 million USD for the development pf the product.
Oculus has recently put the Rift headset out for pre-orders costing around $649 AUD before tax and shipping. Although the price might be higher than many were expecting, those who pre-order are getting a lot for their money. Along with the Rift itself you also get an Xbox One controller and wireless receiver, Oculus Remote, Senor and two VR games to get you started – the space shooter EVE: Valkyrie and the 3D platformer Lucky’s Tale. Oh, and a cool case to keep it all in.
Rift is scheduled for release on March 28th 2016, and is one of the first consumer-targeted virtual reality headsets. It has a resolution of 1080×1200 per eye. It has integrated headphones which provide a 3D audio effect. The rift has rotational and position tracking which is performed by a stationary USB IR sensor. This allows rift to be used whilst standing, sitting or walking.
In March 2014, Facebook agreed to purchase Oculus VR for $2 billion in cash and Facebook stocks. This could potentially be a steal if Oculus VR / Rift takes off. It already seems to be – At a Dell hosted event at CES 2016, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and Dell’s Frank Azor took to a small stage to talk about the future of VR and how it would impact the computing industry. In addition to Azor talking up Dell’s commitment to VR going forward, Luckey seemed quite enthusiastic about pre-orders for the Rift.
“Pre-orders are going much better than I ever could have possibly expected,” said Luckey. “There are a lot of people who are getting into virtual reality that I think are not even necessarily the gamers who have been waiting; they’re just hearing about it now or hearing about it recently and they’re convinced enough to pre-order. Hopefully they’re convinced enough to actually use it.”
Luckey also told Polygon, “I can’t talk about numbers, but we sold through in 10 minutes what I thought we were going to sell through in a few hours.” An Oculus representative told me separately that people at the company were “all smiles” regarding the performance of pre-orders.
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (above) said “So we’ve said often that we think that virtual reality and augmented reality could be the next big computing platform. But just to put that in perspective and compare it to the development of previous computing platforms, like phones and computers, I think the first smartphones came out in 2003.”
So get ready, this year could potentially see the start of a different type of work environment. Are you going to buy one to try out? Or do you think VR is just a FAD? Get in touch, I’d be interested to hear. If you haven’t seen it already – here if a funny video of a grandma trying virtual reality for the first time.