Oculus Rift Consumer Model Coming In Early 2016

Paint a fluorescent blue anarchy symbol on the back of your leather jacket, slip on your fingerless studded gloves, stock up on Gamer Grub, and try to figure out how your rad cybermohawk will fit under a headstrap: cybergoggles are coming.

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset’s consumer model had previously been lined up for 2015, but Oculus VR were always a bit dreamy about that. Now they’ve announced that, for really reals, it’ll arrive in 2016 some time from January to the end of March. The exact price, hardware specifications, and other details you might fancy knowing are still under wraps for now, though.

The version folks at home will get to play with is improved again over last year’s Crescent Bay prototype. Oculus say it’ll have “an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.”

The moody, low-res teaser photos suggest that, sadly, the headset will look less like something from an xtr3me ’90s commercial.

Oculus are planning to support it with a “full ecosystem”, which broadly means they’ll have lots of neat-o VR things presented and supported in useful ways. It’s all a bit Wild West at the moment. Oculus are also funding games and VR experiences – they’re co-publishing EVE Valkyrie as a launch title, for one thing.

I’m still hugely sceptical of this latest virtual reality craze, myself. I don’t want to – and many can’t – spend a load of extra money on a monitor for my head. Every experience I’ve had with the Rift as well as 3D movies has been a blurry mess, suggesting something about my eyes simply doesn’t like it. I don’t have the space for Valve’s Vive prototype, no matter how much Graham and Alec enjoyed it. And no one has found a solution for cybergoggles mussing up rad hair and good makeup – am I supposed to hack the planet looking uncool?

Still, these are the early days (of this latest VR craze), and I certainly can’t predict where the hardware may go with another ten years’ work.

78 Comments

  1. FieldyGB says:

    This combined with a Elite (in years time, so you know, we may have planetary landings etc) will result in me becoming housebound. blimey.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      This.

    • Cinek says:

      Would cut it better with Star Citizen that’s build with a first person perspective in mind from a very beginning. Some random sample video: link to youtube.com

      • cafeoh says:

        Well the OASIS would cut it better, unfortunately it would be more than hopeful to expect any of those within our lifetimes.

      • Tutamun says:

        The problem with Star Citizen is that it is not built for a good VR experience.
        If they keep with their head bobbing and cinematic stuff which often takes control away from you then VR will be a bad experience.

        I’m not saying that they can’t make it a good experience… but it will be a lot of work (also Cryengine wise) along with changing some of their previous design decisions.

        • Cinek says:

          Not really. SC is already build with VR in mind, yes, sometimes it does take away control from you, eg. during the sitting animations, but it’s not yet completed – passes to the VR expirience will be done when VR headsets are going to be released. And head movement while walking is a silly concern – you’ll be able to turn it off even in regular game if you don’t like it. It will take some work to make it a great VR expirience, but still the end result is going to be far beyond anything Elite even bothers to offer. There’s a huge advantage in building VR game around 1st person free movement principle SC offers and cockpit-only perspective E:D got. Right now in-cockpit VR is safely ahead of what ED offers especially when you consider the variety of cockpits and far less text-dependent HUDs.

          • metric day says:

            Nah, Cinek. Star Citizen is VR poison and it’s clear they aren’t developing with VR in mind from the start… Cryengine is hopelessly behind and the vague promises recede further into the past as crappy baked-in animations and shoddy FPS implementations beckon. Nah. We’ll stick to Elite: Dangerous in VR, thanks. Impeccable support!

          • Relani says:

            I don’t know why anyone puts “head bobbing” into ANYTHING. It doesn’t add to “realism,” it just makes it absurdly hard to see and do things and play the game. And everyone turns it off immediately.

    • suibhne says:

      Time for a treadmill desk and a scrolling VR view of the outside world.

  2. Clavus says:

    Looking forward to hear about the technical details in the coming weeks. The Vive mostly had the advantage in the SteamVR tracking solution, the HMD itself is mostly on par (or just behind) with what Oculus has shown so far from what people have said.

    At least now VR devs have a date to target.

    • Cinek says:

      Problem with Vive is that we know next to nothing about it, yet alone being close to the release version. So… saying that Oculus or Vive got better head tracking is just a pure guesswork without any substantial evidence to back it up. IMHO the real winner will be a company that makes it first to the release and comes out with some substantial 3rd party support in some important, high-end games (and with Vive I would also want to see some non-steam releases before buying into that).

      • Rodman1_r2 says:

        We know quite a lot about the Vive, actually, at least as much as we know about the Rift prototypes. And in case you missed it, Valve’s Alex Vlanchos’ talk about the software development & problems they came up against (link to gdcvault.com)

        • Cinek says:

          Yea, I read nearly everything there is to read about Vive and I stand by my statement. It’s also not true that we know as much about vive as we do about OR, no idea how you came up with that.

          • Rodman1_r2 says:

            What do we know about the Oculus Rift that we don’t know about the Vive?

    • emertonom says:

      While the oculus may be catching up on head tracking, I’m not sure it’ll include a hand tracking solution, which may still leave the Vive ahead here. I’m going to try my best to wait for all three systems to come out before I buy anything, although that’ll be challenging, since I’ve been waiting decades for this stuff to be ready. It’ll be worth it if there’s one that makes me less nauseated, though. The DK1 was a bust in that regard.

      • John O says:

        Well they had plenty of time and big names working on it, it’ll be very interesting what they’ll release when they do. There’s lots of question marks, what’ll you do with your hands, will people want to mainly play games where they’re sitting, what’ll they do about nausea etc
        I don’t really see the cost factor some people bring up. I don’t have much money to invest in gaming or hardware, but if the set delivers something I want, I’ll probably find a way to buy it.

        • Xzi says:

          Yeah, I’m betting $300-$400 range. At most. People spend that on those sub-par gaming PCs they call “consoles” all the time. The most difficult thing about marketing VR headsets is that you have to get people to actually try the things, otherwise they have no idea what to really expect.

      • MrUnimport says:

        Not necessarily. It may be that hand-tracking is ultimately irrelevant for most applications, in which case the Rift would be most of the functionality at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, 3D space-gloves may be perfected in the near future, in which case Valve’s controllers might become obsolete, leaving them neck and neck. Of course, with a year’s lag time between Vive and Rift, Valve would seem to have the time to figure all this out before Oculus launches at all.

    • Rodman1_r2 says:

      It depends on who you ask. Most reviews, including on RockPaperShotgun, have said the Vive blows all the current Rift prototypes out of the water. Not necessarily because of higher resolution screens, but because of all the visual tricks they use (heavy use of anti-aliasing) and because of the tracking and the ability to walk around a room and the fact that they have actual controllers designed for it.

  3. Plyskeen says:

    Yeah, sure. It was originally supposed to be out like, a year ago, if I remember correctly? They are still a company without a product, costumers, or revenue. How much longer before the bean counters at Facebook finally give up and pull the plug?

    • Koshinator says:

      They might actually need some ‘costumers’ at Oculus…. at least does

    • grimdanfango says:

      Well, considering they threw 2-billion at it, my guess is Facebook maybe see the long-view in this, and are happy to let them create a product worth releasing, rather than just slaughering the golden goose because it’s not laying eggs fast enough.

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      Henke says:

      No, you do not remember correctly. They’ve never put a date on it. Closest we’ve gotten is Palmer Luckey saying he “would be disappointed” if they didn’t get it out during 2015.

    • suibhne says:

      Obviously, Facebook didn’t buy Oculus as a “bean-counting” strategy for short-term cash flow. It was a strategic investment with a long time horizon.

    • barney says:

      Dunno. They might base the decision on how long it took them to get return on investment for their product though.

    • horrorgasm says:

      no customers?? haha. you so crazy.

  4. Maxheadroom says:

    So is it actually going to be ready or are they just tarting up and pushing out DK2 because it looks like the Steam VR is going to get to market first?

    This was set to be an instant pre order for me but now im thinking maybe I should wait for Consumer Model V2 or at least read a review

    • Ethaor says:

      All I know is that every year the release target is pushed back one year. By the end of the year the early 2016 will have become mid-end 2016 and by then early 2017. I wouldn’t be surprised.

      • Cinek says:

        Now that they got some serious competition they’ll hopefully accelerate works on it….

    • horrorgasm says:

      I think that would be a good idea even if its not rushed. First versions are always bound to have some problems.

    • Xzi says:

      Well if that was the case, they would’ve set the release date to before Vive’s. They will have had like two years to improve on DK2 before the consumer release drops, so doesn’t seem like a very big rush.

    • Chufty says:

      SteamVR will be out to market first? Did you just take a release date from Valve literally?

  5. DodgyG33za says:

    As someone who bought the DK1 and the DK2, I will be pre-ordering the consumer version provided the resolution has improved.

    DK2 + HOTAS + Elite Dangerous is hands down the best gaming experience I have ever had in the half century I have spent on this planet, 35 years of that gaming (anyone remember the Binatone TV Master “console”?). That from a game that I might not play much on a flat screen as it can be tedious in places.

    I realise that this is expensive for some people. But then so is a new iPhone. It all depends how you choose to spend those entertainment dollars/pounds/euro

  6. SupahSpankeh says:

    Nah.

    Vive for me. November launch, comparable stats, and frankly one can skip the room walking bollocks.

    • Ethaor says:

      I’ll wait for the specs & pricing to be clear on both so I can compare them but I seem to go the same way. A big factor is also the fact that for a couple of year the world “gamer” has been replaced by “the masses” in the Oculus Rift PR. That’s obviously not the case with the Vive.

      • k.t says:

        I look forward to seeing if you still feel Oculus is neglecting gamers after E3.

    • Rodman1_r2 says:

      Vive for me as well, but I will switch of course if Rift’s specs turn out to be better, and they also have room scale tracking. I’m sold on the idea that being able to walk around dramatically increases the feeling of presence.

      The press release from Rift is concerning, saying they support seated and ‘standing’ experiences… indicating that they haven’t developed a way to walk around an area the size of a room. After Vive, Oculus has not really impressed me that much.

  7. jdwohlever says:

    What is “Gamer Grab”?
    I googled it but nothing…
    Did you mean “grub” by any chance?

  8. natendi says:

    Hmm, also skeptical how well this will catch on, especially if the starting price is above £300. Too rich for me! Maybe I’m wrong and rift hair will be the new hat hair.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Have you tried it?

      • natendi says:

        Unfortunately no, I am basing it mainly on price at the moment :P.

        I have read some terrific things about it, but I also think it will only be really good for certain games and that may also put some people off. Star Citizen seems like a prime example of how amazing it could be.

        I’m not saying it will fail, I just think that its application may be more limited.

        I’m sure if I tried it I would probably be swayed though!

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Everyone who hasn’t tried it thinks that. Then they try it, wet their keks, and then join the pants-on-head-frustrated ranks of “people that have tried it and realise how utterly impossible it is to communicate what its really like to people think its basically a 3D TV but a bit closer up” “.

          That was a DOUBLE quote marker. Good lord.

  9. Synesthesia says:

    Excited about all this. I’ll get a vive myself, i think. I already have my vr games all lined up and ready to go. DCS, Assetto Corsa, Dirt Rally, Elite Dangerous, ETS2, FSX, IL-2 BOS… cockpits galore. I can’t wait!

    • Cinek says:

      AFAIK None of these games currently support Vive. Some made statements about planned support for Vive, but with nothing specific. Hopefully though we’ll see as wide support for Vive as possible – we really need some healthy competition going on the market!

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Assetto Corsa + DK2 + G27 wheel = best time I’ve ever had in gaming. There is nothing quite like leaning your head out the window of a Pagani at 170mph, even if you can’t feel the wind in your hair.

  10. kevmscotland says:

    The hype on this has been running for so long now I’m officially bored of hearing about it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want one. Just let me forget about it until it actually FINALLY shows up on a store shelf somewhere.

  11. Kefren says:

    I’m interested in this technology but it seems like it will only be good for a limited subset of PC games – basically anything with a first person view. But it isn’t going to add anything to the other types of games I play (which make up perhaps 75% of my collections) – side-on shooters, platformers, scrollers; top-down strategy and so on. Looking at games on my future wishlist, very few of them would benefit from this technology (Tormentum, Convoy, Resident Evil, Darkest Dungeon, Nuclear Throne, Abyss Odyssey, Desktop Dungeons, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Sunless Sea, Terraria, Endless Legend, Game Dev Tycoon etc).

    • DodgyG33za says:

      It certainly won’t work for all game types. But it might be fine for an RTS or strategy game or top down strategy. The god view will be much more godlike if you can look around to take in the world, and lean forwards to zoom. The leaning forwards makes up for the lack of resolution in some cases too.

      I have tried a variety of games/demos on the DK1 and DK2 and generally anything you can play sitting down both in game and IRL will be fine.

      FPS are not ideal, but the field of view and head direction aiming does give you a situational advantage. Hell, I even won a round team fortress on the DK1 (which has the equivalent pixel density to straight VGA) which I struggle to do normally.

      • Kefren says:

        Interesting. I’d have to try it! I’m not convinced it would add much for me in the genres I like most (my favourite game is Heroes of Might and Magic 2, and I feel that would have been ruined with any kind of zoom), but I am excited by the immersion factor in a flight sim or first-person explorer game (maybe even a driving game). It’s just that I often play a game like some of those listed, and they work perfectly on a normal monitor, I could only see fiddling with that as being somehow detrimental. I’m bound to adopt a joint system, VR headset for some evenings on particular games, monitor for day-to-day PC use and most games, including shorter sessions of play.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Have got a DK2 and can tell you that it makes all those genres awesome. Side scrollers and top downs in particular. There is however no point at all trying to explain it because it is completely fruitless. You have to stick one on your head and try it. Until then, stop trying to imagine it – I guarantee you are a thousand miles from what its like with one on.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I guess it wouldn’t work for games with isometric 2D backgrounds like Pillars of Eternity, but anything with full 3D modeling might be a candidate. If you play a physical board game, you’re looking at the board in 3D. So I don’t know why it wouldn’t work for many of these games.

      The artwork in Endless Legend already has something of a board game aesthetic, and I’ll bet it would look great in full 3D. There isn’t much motion in that game, so it’s probably easy on frame rates. Something that wouldn’t be easy on frame rates is anything in the Total War series, but the battles at least would be fun to view in VR. Maybe we’ll see that in the upcoming Warhammer game.

    • Asurmen says:

      Not exactly a shocking revelation though.

    • MrUnimport says:

      I imagine the Rift will double as a passable 3D monitor, so anything with polygons in it ought to at least look different.

  12. SuicideKing says:

    Still don’t know how anyone’s going to use a keyboard with this.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Those raised bumps on the F and J are your friend. Although investing in a game pad, HOTAS or steering wheel might be the go depending on the game, especially if the game involves rotating in your chair to a degree.

    • Kefren says:

      I always run games with arrow keys and the blocks around them. Works fine in the dark without looking down, so I imagine I’d be fine, at least for “walk forward”.

    • Asurmen says:

      HOTAS, touch typing and Voice Attack are your friends.

    • Xzi says:

      I mean…does anybody actually have to look down at the keyboard while playing games? Center your fingers on WASD and everything else is easily accessible from there.

      • JiminyJickers says:

        Exactly, I never look down at the keys to see what I’m pressing. Unless I want a funny shift caracter or something. Maybe it is better for me since I took a touch typing class when I was in school, but I bet most people probably learned it themselves by now anyway.

        • MrUnimport says:

          You still probably use your peripheral vision to locate your keyboard whenever you hit ESC or reach up to adjust the fit of your HMD or whatever. I’d be surprised if Rift launches without a pair of low-res front-facing cameras.

  13. Zenicetus says:

    Everybody talks about the Rift, but not so much about the hardware needed to drive it. I can probably afford the consumer facebrick when it arrives. But what kind of GPU does it need? Will a single GTX970 drive it (which is what I have now)? I just upgraded my computer and it can’t do SLI, so this had better work with a single GPU.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      You’ll be fine. Oculus is harping on optimization big time. Any developer who wants to sell a remotely decent number of copies of their game is going to have to support a reasonable range of hardware.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        Optimization is obviously important, but even Carmack can’t make games run at high frame rates and high resolutions by sheer force of will.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Elite Dangerous is fine on a GTX970 with fairly high graphics settings. My i5 seems to be the bottleneck on my system, but only in the asteroid belts. Otherwise all is silky smooth.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        In the DK2 or on a monitor? You need to be hitting 75FPS with headroom if you want to run VR on E:D.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Would have edited to say” You need 90FPS for the consumer version. The recent Crescent Bay demos were running either on 980’s or Titan X’s

  14. simontifik says:

    Screw the Rift where can I get a cyber razor cut and one of those Sega Megadrive things.

  15. racccoon says:

    Say BYe BYe to your Eye Sight and Hello to disillusionary thought patterns & weird flash backs of what is and what’s not reality! oh & Welcome to Neck pains, slip discs and operations from people waiting to take to your money! this thing is human defeatism of pain & bills bills bills good luck with it your all mugs in a test tube. lol

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      Harlander says:

      It’s cool, I’ve already ruined my eyesight and skeletomusculature by sitting using computers all day

  16. Raoul Duke says:

    Can I politely suggest that when these things do get released, RPS assigns someone to report on them who hasn’t pre-judged them as a waste of time and/or has functional eyes?

    My limited experience of the DK1 was that it was the first truly novel gaming experience I’ve had since Quake 1 came out. Yes, the resolution was poor. Yes, the way it integrates with games will need work. But it’s far more than a gimmick, and the potential for it to be amazing is quite obvious to me (and, it appears, obvious to Valve, HTC and Microsoft).

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Yeah I think I would agree with this. The capacity for VR to produce sensations of awe is unlike any other gaming tech I have tried, but you do need a functioning set of eyes and to be not overly distracted by its shortcomings (nausea, screen door effect). But just go on VR forums and read people’s reactions to things like Titans Of Space or even Elite Dangerous for the first time. People actually felt tears coming to their eyes. Yes it sounds guff and poncey to anyone who hasn’t experienced it, but I guarantee there are going to be a lot of sudden converts when the commercial version comes out.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    End of March, huh? Sounds like the release date is motivated more by the end of the the fiscal year than actual readiness.

  18. paddymaxson says:

    Having tried the DK2 and found the screen door effect totally unbearable, I’m super uninterested in the rift until they actually come out and say the screens are considerably better