OCULUS VR, INC.
The RIFT is an upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display created by Palmer Luckey. The initial version of the RIFT (the developer kit) was financed through a Kickstarter campaign, with certain pledgers being granted a “dev kit” to test out. Development kits (first series) were sold for a limited time on the OCULUS webpage and cost $300. The first development kit features a 7-inch screen display with a color depth of 24 bits per pixel and a resolution of 1280×800. The field of view for the RIFT is more than 90 degrees (horizontal). The device works with a DVI and HDMI control box and a USB interface used to send tacking data to the host machine. A second series of development kits were announced in March of this year and are expected to be sold on OCULUS’ webpage for $350. This kit has a screen resolution of 1920×1080 with a 5-inch display.
The RIFT is virtual immersion meaning that you (the gamer) become a part of the world that you are playing in. Because of RIFT’s stand-alone capability there are currently not many games available for use on the platform; however, OCULUS RIFT VR has been working in partnership with developers of current games (such as Left for Dead, Skyrim, and Mass Effect) in order to make them compatible with the software. At the same time OCULUS RIFT VR has been developing stand-alone games for the device that will not be available on other consoles.
During the latter half of March 2014 Facebook announced its purchase of OCULUS RIFT VR for $2 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.” Current reports are saying that OCULUS will operate independently from Facebook and continue on their path towards further developing the virtual-reality platform. Beyond games though, Facebook hopes to eventually make the device useable for virtual classrooms, doctor consultations, and basketball games, etc.
Aside from Facebook, OCULUS RIFT VR has a partnership with Stuff Singapore; the companies are currently working together to make Stuff Singapore’s paper magazine virtually readable through the RIFT device. As stated above, OCULUS RIFT VR is also working in partnership with many game developers to help make currently available games compatible with the RIFT software.
In order for games and game platforms to work with the RIFT software the game must be specifically designed to be compatible. Because RIFT is a new software, this creates limitation on what current games/software are actually available for gameplay. Because of the visual immersion that happens with the RIFT it is not currently recommended that anyone uses the device for extended periods of time. It is important to remember that the RIFT is still in development and is not being commercially sold; the company is still working out “bugs” within the software and gathering feedback from beta-testers in order to create a more pleasing consumer experience. One thing still being worked out is the integration of audio.