‘Final’ Oculus Rift Hardware Shipping To Devs

It’s not certain quite yet, but with the HTC/Valve Vive suffering a delay until Spring, it’s looking as though Facebook’s Oculus Rift might be first out of the gates for a consumer PC VR headset. Oculus have announced that “final Rift hardware” is now on its way to developers who are “imminently shipping.” “Imminently” is a very exciting word.

The final hardware, pictured above, is accompanied by a new version of the software development kit, which they’ve stuck a 1.0 tag on. This is what will power the first major VR games, and for now is limited to “developers putting final touches on launch titles.” There’s that language again – “final touches.” The consumer Rift headset currently carries only a ‘Q1 2016’ release date, but the current talk suggests it’s right around the corner [psst, 2016’s only a week away -sarky ed.].

For those devs who are not working on launch titles, Oculus say that the old DK2 headset and 0.8 SDK is sufficient, suggesting that there won’t be a vast gulf in technology between the DK2 and the consumer model, even if the latter is likely to be a more beautiful and comfortable experience. If you’re a VR dev who thinks you can become an Oculus launch title dev, you can submit your game or application here and might wind up with a final tech headset if you sufficiently impress ’em.

Pre-orders of the Oculus tech, whenever they open, will get you a ‘free’ copy of EVE Valkyrie, by the way.

The overriding question is whether Oculus will make an irreversible land-grab before Valve can arrive on the scene, or if the Vive’s more full-body, magic wand controller approach will see many early adopters hold off for that. That’s certainly my own thinking at the moment, although I will struggle with the idea that VR gaming is already out there and I haven’t got it. I’ll just have to see how traumatised my wallet is by the time Christmas is over, I guess.

42 Comments

  1. Luk 333 says:

    There seems to be a twist!

    “At today’s Vive Unbound developers forum in Beijing, CEO Cher Wang teased that two weeks ago, Valve and her team made “a very, very big technological breakthrough” with their virtual reality system, so big that they decided to just skip the original version and ship this new one, albeit missing the Q1 date.”

    link to engadget.com

    • Eleven says:

      The most popular speculation is that they’ve found a way to do depth perception using the camera on the front of the headset รก la Kinect, to keep you from tripping over real-life obstacles like your cat.

      The outside bets are on a HDR display that uses a wide colour gamut to much improve the image quality and brightness. Valve had been talking about it recently, but the technology isn’t quite ready yet.

      Or, of course, it could be just marketing speak for a delay to fix a problem. Still, exciting times…

  2. Jekhar says:

    The real question for consumers will be: Will VR-enabled titles support all VR Devices (on PC), or are we looking at a Blueray/HD-DVD situation? I’ll keep using my TrackIR in the meantime.

    • aircool says:

      The same thing worries me. Frontier did (or rather didn’t) something with the latest version of the Oculus, – I can’t remember the details – to stop supporting it in Elite? A game that I’d quite happily pick up again if I had a VR headset.

      But yeah, you don’t really want to end up in the wrong camp.

      • ironman Tetsuo says:

        It was kind of the other way around, the most recent Oculus update broke something in Elite, you can still us a Rift as long as you don’t update the SDK to the latest version. Frontier and Oculus are in “discussions” trying to sort out the incompatibility issues. In the meantime Elite started supporting the Vive and Braben has stated they will support any and all of the headsets wherever possible.

        • Retzinsky says:

          I think the bottom line was that the Oculus API was evolving so quickly that supporting the Rift has been like shooting at a constantly moving target and was an unnecessary drain on development time. Now that 1.0 is around the corner (which will have to be backwards compatible with future versions) they will go back to fully supporting it.

        • RenStrike says:

          Recently released Elite Dangerous: Horizons now supports SteamVR. So you can now play it with both the Vive and Oculus with latest Runtime 0.8.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      No, not every VR title is going to support all the headsets. That’s in dev hands. Different hardware, different software.

      …but in practical terms, >90% of them will support all the popular headsets, because the market is small, so no developer is going to ignore half of their potential userbase.

      The Elite thing: what happened was the SDK stopped supporting Extended mode (where the OS thinks the Rift is just an extra monitor), and focus only in the Direct mode (which is superior, but more complex to implement, having to properly use the sdk in your code). It was something that was going to happen eventually.

  3. cpy says:

    So many VR titles are out there i want to play but damn no OR to buy. This is just pure mean evil.

    • waltC says:

      I would reign in your expectations…as the general expectations for this technology cannot possibly be realized. It only remains to be seen how far short of expectations the shipping tech, years late as it is, will fall. This could be the shortest-lived fad in tech history…;)

      • zero signal says:

        A cheap DIY Google Cardboard viewer with an old Nexus 4 in it was enough to whet my appetite for “proper” VR. As long as the software lives up to promise, there’s no way this is going to be just a passing fad.

    • Mrice says:

      I dont really agree with ^

      I’ve played a smattering of different games on the rift at a variety of times through its development and i’ve personally come to the conclusion that its fucking rad. When creatively used it has so much potential its ridiculous.

      • Cronstintein says:

        I haven’t tried any of the current VR crop yet, but I have to assume it will be like every other hardware launch: Weak software offerings for at least a year.
        There’ll be a number of very interesting tech-demo type things, but I doubt you’ll see much in terms of excellent gaming experiences in VR for a while.
        Space games might be the exception since VR translates so well to a cockpit, but other than that, I would try and temper expectations.
        Long term, I do expect to see some very interesting, and hopefully successful, VR stuff coming.

  4. Zanchito says:

    Good news, but I’m not buying until there are good comparisons between the 2 sets (HTC/Oculus). Also, not buying at all unless:

    – Games support both sets. Not buying into propietary stuff at all.
    – It lets me use my own headphones. My audio is light years away from anything shipping with these, either give me a glasses only solution or make the headphones detachable.

    I hope these two requirements come true, because I really want to get into the tech.

    • Asurmen says:

      They have said they’re detachable, although I don’t think anyone knows their quality.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The occulus will have exclusive games, its own marketplace. It’s put me off it entirely.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        If I wanted to be buying into exclusives I’d be playing games on a console they can shove their store in their ocular.

  5. ironman Tetsuo says:

    After many times burnt (the last time being the Nintendo 3DS) I will never buy first-generation hardware ever again. The second unit is always better and usually cheaper. I’ll let someone with money to burn crusade the first wave of VR and I’ll jump in once the kinks are ironed and the hardware needed to support such devices has had a proper chance to catch up.

  6. mukuste says:

    It seems right now developers have to support each headset on a case-by-case basis. I wonder what the chances are of some middleware, preferably open-source, coming out that lets developers just target “VR in general” without bothering to support specific hardware, or if the differences in capabilities are too large.

    Whatever the case, it’s hard to shake that feeling of “it’s happening” (this time for real). I’m genuinely a bit excited about the new possibilities here.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The Vive uses OpenVR which I believe any headset can suppport. The Occulus will support their own closed api which I do not believe they will share with other headset manufacturers.

      • Clavus says:

        Other way around, OpenVR tries to support all headsets. However it can’t really keep up at the rate at which Oculus evolves the software in their own SDK at the moment, so Rift support kinda sucks right now. But it’s not like the Oculus SDK is locked down, OpenVR basically ships with it and acts as a wrapper when a Rift is connected, just not a complete one.

      • k.t says:

        Nah, Oculus invited other manufacturers to get in touch 18 months ago. Samsung’s using their stuff already.

  7. caff says:

    It’ll be Q4 next year when these things actually start shipping. Just in time for graphics cards to catch up…

  8. Synesthesia says:

    I hope they wise up to the propietary bullshit. The last thing we need with the launch of a new technology is locked exclusives.

    • Sakkura says:

      It really is quite depressing to think of headset-specific games. It’s the main thing keeping me from going SQUEEE at this point.

  9. SpinalJack says:

    Our game uses vive motion controllers so wont be on the first wave of oculus headsets but we’ll add support for oculus touch when those come out.

  10. Synesthesia says:

    Is there a comprehensive list anywhere as to which games will be compatible with each headset? I really want to play Dirt Rally on VR.

  11. Chaz says:

    I get this horrible feeling that I’m going to end up buying both.

  12. InfamousPotato says:

    I really hope that both the Oculus and the Vive succeed. I don’t know if/when I’ll be able to buy one, but I really want VR as a whole to become a thing.

  13. racccoon says:

    I can not see this helping the gaming the community!
    All VR is going to do is make the game players who use this kind of crap, far more blinder than they already are.. more isolated and totally confused about whats real when walking down a street.
    A MASSIVE THUMBS DOWN..
    As Its a really bad game development idea.

    • racccoon says:

      Complications on the MEDICAL side are going to be abundant from this.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      As soon as possible I’m selling off all worldly possessions, putting aside for rent, electricity and internet. Getting an IV bag subscription with the citizen’s income and spend the rest of my days drooling in the corner of my 1×1 meter Pod Apartment with a Steam Machine Cyberdeck and whatever tech wins the VR war… VaR.

    • fish99 says:

      It’s not going to make anyone confused about what’s real.

      It could affect eye sight, but so does reading a book, or using a PC or tablet. It kinda depends on where you have to focus. I’m assuming the point in including the lenses is so you’re not focussed on something that’s 3 inches from your eyes, but I’m just guessing there, I haven’t used one.

    • Erayos says:

      People were complaining about people being confused about what is real at each video gaming milestone, we’re still waiting… You’re not looking in the “right” direction here, you’re looking at the potential (probably non-existent) problems, but not at what some people will gain from it.

  14. Phier says:

    I have a DK2 and its why I’m waiting for Valve. Its nice but I think Valves will be better in the long run, plus valve has the edge with steam and steam vr game wise.

    • Slackar says:

      All Vive needs to beat the competition is HL3 as exclusive.