At the Game Developers Conference, Oculus presented the latest version of its development kit for games using virtual reality. Sony also announced its own VR initiative for Playstation 4.
A year ago Oculus introduced its first prototype virtual reality (VR) headset, showing the world that this technology could attract a mass market with a price tag of $300. Now, at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the company has unveiled a new developer’s version – the DK2 – a more polished version of the Crystal Cove prototypewhich made such a strong impression on delegates to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. The company, which began its financing campaign on Kickstarter in 2012, already has 50,000 units in the hands of developers. Oculus needs to keep putting hardware in the hands of software developers to make sure the software library is well stocked at launch date. In addition, this latest version also improves the experience, so that game developers can work on making sure their software is taking advantage of everything the consumer version will have to offer. Games developers who are interested in creating virtual reality games will now be able to draw on a range of tools, which are set to usher in a new generation of immersive games. The DK2 development hardware should start shipping this summer.
Oculus Rift DK2 mask
The Oculus Rift DK2 mask enables deeper immersion into situations occurring in video games, using VR technology. It has a depth-sensing camera to map real-world movement more accurately to in-game performance, thanks to an infrared camera that tracks the user’s head movements and a system which allows you to program the timing of computer communication. The Oculus Rift DK2, which has most of the features of its predecessor Crystal Cove, also offers some improvements on the initial version and solves problems such as latency, eliminating the blurry movements which can occur whenthe user moves his/her head too quickly. It has a better quality OLED display with a resolution of 960×1080 in each eye instead of 640 x 800. Video games developers can order the headset on the Oculus website at a price of $350, with delivery scheduled for this summer.
The unveiling of the DK2 preceded the company’s announcement that the first AR headset for consumers should be on the market soon. Oculus Vice-President Nate Mitchel, who is responsible for the product, said that the DK2 is not yet at the stage of a version for the consumer market, especially in terms of design. Meanwhile Sony also chose this top video game developers gathering to unveil its own VR head-mounted display for the Playstation 4. Sony however has not yet decided when it will launch its product, named Morpheus, for consumers. Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony's Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., underlined that “this new technology will deliver a sense of presence, where you as the player actually feel like you’re inside the game and your emotions feel that much more real.” These two headsets, which are both still at the prototype stage, are designed to plunge users into the virtual world of video games, but on different platforms. Oculus is aimed at computer-based games while Morpheus has been designed only for the Playstation 4.