Oculus Rift’s ‘Crystal Cove’ prototype tickles our rods and cones

The absolute highlight of last year’s CES was getting a first look at an Oculus Rift prototype. Strapping on a Rift for the first time is a mind-blowing experience. It will change your view of what’s possible in gaming in the next 5-10 years. Naturally, then, when it came time to plan for CES 2014, I made sure to schedule some time with the folks at Oculus to see what they—and especially new Oculus CTO John Carmack—have been doing.

As you may have heard, the new "Crystal Cove" prototype that Oculus brought to the show this year captured a major award: Best in Show for CES 2014. The news came to the folks in the Oculus meeting room late on Thursday last week, as we were getting a demo of the headset. Given what I saw through those goggles, the recognition seems well deserved.

Crystal Cove is the third generation of hardware Oculus has put on public display. The first generation, with a 720p LCD screen inside, was the one they showed at CES 2013. Later last year, Oculus upgraded to a higher-resolution 1080p LCD. Crystal Cove takes several important steps beyond that.

Much of the new tech in Crystal Cove is intended to overcome one of Oculus’ biggest challenges: VR headsets don’t work well for everyone. A lot of people develop a sense of vertigo, nausea, or fatigue after using a Rift prototype for a while, sometimes in only minutes. The problem is apparently caused by the disconnect between what your senses expect to see in response to head motions and what’s actually displayed. If the system doesn’t respond quickly or accurately enough, you may find yourself unexpectedly executing a technicolor yawn.

Even several tens of milliseconds worth of delay can be enough to trigger a problem, so Oculus has been pushing to squeeze any latency it can out of the sensor-to-display feedback loop. That’s why the Crystal Cove prototype contains a 1080p AMOLED display. The AMOLED delivers markedly better color saturation and deeper blacks than the earlier LCDs. More importantly, though, the AMOLED has a much faster pixel-switching time: less than a millisecond, versus about 15 ms for the LCDs in prior Rift prototypes.

Interestingly enough, switching to an AMOLED alone doesn’t fix the ghosting that’s often evident when making sweeping movements with a Rift attached to your noggin. Oculus claims this ghosting effect isn’t inherent to the display itself and isn’t visible on a high-speed camera; instead, it’s caused by an interaction with the human visual system. They have been able to mitigate the problem, however, by implementing a low-persistence display mode. The AMOLED is quick enough to flash on and off again very quickly, at a high enough rate that no flicker is perceptible to the human eye. What you’ll notice, instead, is that the ghosting effect is essentially eliminated.

I got to see low-persistence mode in action, and it works. In the demo, I had the Rift attached to my face while I was looking at some big, red text in the virtual world ahead of me. The Oculus rep had me waggle my head back and forth, and I saw obvious ghosting. He then flipped on the low-persistence mode. The entire display became somewhat dimmer, though without any obvious flicker. I again waggled around my enormous noggin, and the text no longer left a blurry trail of red behind it as I moved.

Given the latency sensitivity of the application and the fact that a low-persistence display mode appears to be in the works for monitors based on Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, I had to wonder if Oculus has been experimenting with G-Sync-like dynamic refresh rates, as well. (They totally are.) Sadly, the Oculus rep handling our demo wasn’t willing to discuss that subject.

The other big enhancement in Crystal Cove is a major upgrade to the head tracking hardware. The sensors in previous Rift prototypes could detect orientation—roll, pitch, and yaw—but that was it. This revision incorporates infrared LEDs placed all around the front and sides of the headset, and their movement is tracked by a camera placed in front of the user. The camera and LEDs give the Rift true positional tracking of the wearer’s head in 3D space.

As with the display changes, the positional tracking appears to work well. In our demo, we were encouraged to crane our necks around 180 degrees in an attempt to throw off the tracking. The display was set to revert to a grayscale mode with the loss of tracking, and invoking it was tough to do while sitting in a chair facing the camera, which is how the Rift is intended to be used. Even when one demo subject managed to contort himself well enough to hide the LEDs from the camera and cause a tracking failure, the system recovered quickly. The display shifted back to full color within two or three seconds after the headset came back into plain view.

The combination of positional tracking, a faster display, and low-persistence mode is meant to provide a better, more comfortable VR experience than past Rift prototypes. I wasn’t able to use the Crystal Cove headset long enough to judge for myself, and I haven’t felt many ill effects during brief stints with the earlier prototypes. However, the Oculus folks seem to think they’ve pretty much conquered the sickness problem. Even late in the week at CES, after presumably hundreds of demos to the press and industry, they claimed not to have found anyone yet who was sickened by using a Crystal Cove prototype. If true, that’s very good news.

I can tell you that the Crystal Cove hardware provides an even more immersive and borderline magical experience than earlier revisions of the Rift. The AMOLED is a big upgrade just for the color quality and sense of depth. Also, the software being demoed makes much better use of the VR headset.

We first got a look at an Unreal Engine 4 demo created by the guys at Epic called Strategy VR. The visuals in it are rich and detailed. I found myself hunching over and looking down, with my head nearly between my legs, peering over the edge of a virtual cliff in wonder.

The real star of the show, though, was the demo of Eve Valkyrie, the in-development game that’s slated to be a Rift launch title. The Rift and this game breathe incredible new life into a genre that’s been on the brink of death for some time now. When you slide on the headset, you find yourself sitting in the virtual cockpit of a space fighter. Some of the gauges are hard to make out at first, but if you lean forward, the text becomes clearer and easier to read. Above the gauges is a canopy, with a reeling space battle taking place in the sky beyond. The illusion of being there is strong, more so when you find yourself craning your neck to peer out of the canopy above and to your left, attempting to track an enemy fighter positioning itself on your six.

Having never played before, I scored -30, and my demo was over quickly due to an early death. The realism was impeccable.

Given the progress Oculus has made in the past year, we were left wondering how long it will be until the consumer version of the Rift hits store shelves. Right now, Oculus is being very cautious; it hasn’t stated any timelines for the release of a final product. The firm says its goal is to be sure "VR is the right experience" for everyone who buys a headset.

Several components of that experience still need to come together before the Rift is ready for prime time. Oculus admits it’s still working to improve the Rift’s display resolution between now and the consumer product launch. That seems wise to me. When it’s that close to your face and divided between two eyes, a 1080p display feels pretty low-res. If you stop and look, you can see the individual subpixels in the Crystal Cove’s AMOLED array.

Also, the Rift currently lacks an audio component, which is a major omission. Oculus admits as much, calling positional audio "super-critical" to a VR experience, but it says it won’t reveal any info yet about partnerships on the audio front. I assume that means there will be some.

For what it’s worth, AMD had a gen-two Rift prototype on display in its CES booth along with a pair of headphones featuring positional audio generated by GenAudio’s AstoundSound middleware and accelerated by a TrueAudio DSP block. I gave this setup a brief spin, and I’d say that’s a pretty good start.

Oculus also has to make sure the Rift’s game support is broad and deep enough to make the VR headset a compelling purchase. Eve Valkyrie looks amazing, but it won’t suffice on its own. Fortunately, the company claims to have shipped about 50,000 Rift developer kits already, which should mean plenty of developers have Rifts strapped to their faces. In fact, one of the strange problems Oculus has now is not being able to track what everyone is doing with its development hardware. If the final headset is anywhere near as compelling as the prototypes, we’ve got to think there will be a steady stream of Rift-enabled applications released in the next couple of years.

That said, we could easily be waiting until CES 2015 or beyond until the Rift makes its way into its final, near-$300 form and ships to consumers everywhere. Given everything, it’s easy to understand why that’s the case. Still, having seen the goodness of Crystal Cove in action, a big part of me would like very much to hurry up and get on with the future, because it’s really gonna be good.

Comments closed
    • Gentao
    • 6 years ago

    AMOLED is a BAD idea. They are great for phones which are meant to be thrown away/lost/upgraded every year or so, but they are a horrible idea for devices which are meant to last longer. They will soon find out that they burn out very easily, due to the blue LEDs having a shorter life span than red and green LEDs. I myself have a Galaxy Note that has screen burn out. Google “AMOLED burn out” and find out just how much of an issue it is.

    • My Johnson
    • 6 years ago

    [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxU6v8v0_3A#t=90<]How I imagine Damage at work.[/url<]

    • Bensam123
    • 6 years ago

    Curiously, thinking about this a bit more… have they tested this on any sort of gamers? Professional or otherwise. I understand it removed the motion blur for viewers at a CES event, but those are techies that may not represent your average gamer as far as reaction time and mental agility.

      • superjawes
      • 6 years ago

      I think the kind of people who would self-select to demo the goggles are probably gamers. After all, it’s a personal device. It’s not like the 4k televisions, which are much better if you are entertaining guests.

        • Bensam123
        • 6 years ago

        It was a tech show for people in the industry, not gamers. :l

          • Phartindust
          • 6 years ago

          And those people couldn’t possibly be gamers right? C’mon man. People working on 4k displays, GPU, CPU, audio products, PCs, laptops – got to believe there are gamers in that group.

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            Just because someone plays games casually does not make them a professional gamer or even a enthusiast. I’m sure most of them have or do play games, but I wouldn’t say that’s their forefront. It’s like pretending engineers of fighter jets are fighter pilots. I mean, I’m sure they sat in the cockpit and possibly even fly right?

            • superjawes
            • 6 years ago

            Your analogy doesn’t work because the engineer’s job is to know what the fighter pilot needs and how it can be applied. In fact, there are things that the engineer could know better than the pilot. After all, the pilot doesn’t need to know what goes into the design.

            The same is true for the types that would be going to CES. Even if they aren’t pros or “enthusiasts,” they know the implications of the technology, what it is going to take to make it work, and what is going to make it a successful product.

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            Yup… and how is that different from people making hardware or testing it?

            Just because it’s their job to make hardware or test it does not mean they have the same skill sets as someone who excels at a certain area (professional game/fighter pilot for instance). I really don’t know why it seems that far fetched. The Intel engineer isn’t a professional gamer. I’m not saying that to be mean, that’s just the way it is. Same with people who do hardware reviews for a living.

            • Diplomacy42
            • 6 years ago

            “just because someone plays a game casually, doesn’t make them a gamer”

            “just because someone knows how to fly a plane doesn’t make them a pilot”

            OK then.

    • Krogoth
    • 6 years ago

    I can’t see VR googles ever going mainstream. It will remain an interesting niche, but the hardware requirements are simply beyond the reach and interest of the mainstream crowd.

      • Phartindust
      • 6 years ago

      And what are those requirements? I don’t believe I have seen any of them posted yet. Would be nice to know.

        • Krogoth
        • 6 years ago

        The headgear for starters and it will require a decent GPU solution to keep the framerate high.

        The first requirement pretty much kills the vast majority of the PC market who don’t care for extra peripherals. The second requirement eliminates any PC gamers who doesn’t get the latest, greatest for the hell of it.

        This whole VR business will join the same club as SLI, CF, 3D Vision and Eyefinity. Interesting pieces of technology that cater towards certain niches, but never became mainstream.

          • bronek
          • 6 years ago

          It seems to work very well on today’s good GPUs. By the time this is released (add 2 years) these GPUs will be very much gaming mainstream.

        • Cannonaire
        • 6 years ago

        There are a multitude of hurdles to be overcome in order to achieve decent VR. Latency is a huge factor, as are optics, head and eye tracking, resolution, and emergent display-related artifacts which become apparent only in large FOV, near-field situations (VR).

        A lot of great minds at Oculus and Valve are tackling these problems head-on every day, but it will be a while before the technology is satisfactory and available at consumer-friendly pricing.

        The PDF linked in this Valve blog is a good summary, and other entries provide much more in-depth information:
        [url<]http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/my-steam-developers-day-talk/[/url<] Here's a good one from John Carmack about the latency problem in regards to VR: [url<]http://www.altdevblogaday.com/2013/02/22/latency-mitigation-strategies/[/url<]

    • puppetworx
    • 6 years ago

    Occulus and 3D audio in 2014…how long until I can jack into The Matrix?

    I can’t help thinking how awesome (literally) it would be to play BioShock Infinite wearing one of these.

      • alientorni
      • 6 years ago

      [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqoxjun43HM[/url<] we are not that far in terms of technology.

    • NeoForever
    • 6 years ago

    I’m sure they know what they are doing. But why use a camera for 3D tracking?

    Apart from the idea that 2 separated cameras would do a better job, why not just use accelerometers and gyroscopes?

      • puppetworx
      • 6 years ago

      Using cameras gives less lag then accelerometers [url=http://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/CES-2014-Oculus-Rift-Prototype-Because-Seeing-Dots-Symptom-NOT-Throwing<]apparently[/url<].

        • Entroper
        • 6 years ago

        You have it backwards. Cameras have more latency than accelerometers, but they have zero drift. Using only accelerometers and gyros, your absolute position will drift due to small errors. The camera’s job is to give you a recent absolute reference point so that the small errors only accumulate over short intervals.

          • saluk
          • 6 years ago

          Yep. Tracking orientation is relatively (hah) easy, because magnetics give you a fixed point of reference (the north pole for example). With position, it’s very difficult to find a reference point. Think of how well your GPS works to navigate you and you’ll have an idea. If GPS can be several blocks off; just imagine trying to track position on the millimeter level.

      • l33t-g4m3r
      • 6 years ago

      Why? Biometrics/NSA that’s why.

      • Anovoca
      • 6 years ago

      Weight

      • Anonymous Hamster
      • 6 years ago

      What they should be doing is using a camera AND accelerometers and gyroscopes. The latter two cannot give you absolute position information, which is why a camera is required. By integrating all 3 data sources with a good predictor/corrector algorithm, you can get very good tracking.

      Two cameras can give even more data, but you need to consider costs and practicality as well. One camera should be fine for someone sitting in a chair. Only when you have wireless and start walking around do you really need more. There’s a space vs. precision trade-off.

      As far as lag, that depends upon the type of camera. Ideally you want a refresh rate of 120hz or better. You can also use lateral-effect photo-diodes instead of a CMOS image sensor to get very high refresh rates, but these can only track a single point at a time (and all other interfering light sources need to be filtered out or turned off).

        • Entroper
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]What they should be doing is using a camera AND accelerometers and gyroscopes.[/quote<] That is precisely what they are doing, combined with a magnetometer for absolute orientation.

      • Meadows
      • 6 years ago

      Probably latency.

      Personally though, I’d prefer they used *both* and averaged the movements from the two inputs in software.

    • jessterman21
    • 6 years ago

    I’ll be waiting for the 1440p G-sync version. Very nice strides this year!

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 6 years ago

      *Obligatory jab about how much extra hardware you would have to wear*

        • alientorni
        • 6 years ago

        and you’ll probably end up with a neck traumatism…

    • Bensam123
    • 6 years ago

    Sadly, audio is one of those things that’s been neglected in games for years… close to a decade. After EAX petered out, that was the end of it and now we have now are some half-assed implementations of surround sound, most of which you can barely tell where the sounds are coming from. There are so many games with buggy and glitching sound in them they aren’t even funny. There are tons of games where sounds don’t even play beyond a certain distance and sometimes even when they’re close to you they don’t work. PS2 has a lot of issues with their sound system as well. Honestly I’d say most people don’t even notice because sound has been in such a decrepit state for so long.

    And also sadly, we’ve had the technology and the means to actually do good sound for years, it’s devolved. Everyone is striving towards VR gear (which I wholly hope works out), but are forgetting the sound along the way. I really, really, desperately hope AMD True Audio takes off. We need good sound back. I also agree, that better sound (good positional audio, HRTF) is something that is sorely needed to make this experience… gaming in general better.

    I will note, having used Lightboost for extended periods of time (which flashes the panel on and off really fast to help with blur), it causes much more eye fatigue and strain then a constant on backlight. It can even lead to headaches through eyestrain. It’s not uncommon. Perhaps their AMOLED flashes so fast it elevates these issues?

      • B.A.Frayd
      • 6 years ago

      Blame the XBOX for bad PC sound.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 6 years ago

        Doesn’t the xbox actually have better sound with it’s own dedicated audio hardware/api, compared to windows which has absolutely nothing and nobody develops for? IMO, this and other things was done to push gamers off windows and onto the xbox. W8 is obviously a lock-in tablet OS, not a gaming or business oriented OS, and this is why we need alternatives like the steambox and true audio.

          • Bensam123
          • 6 years ago

          Technically it should, but I honestly think no one spends time on sound development anymore. They just put the same crap in that’s been in every other game in existence.

          We don’t necessarily need another OS but we need a new accelerated API for sound. Hopefully what EAX was Trueaudio will be. I sorely miss EAX.

            • l33t-g4m3r
            • 6 years ago

            EAX is still around, but it requires OpenAL and isn’t being supported like it used to. The only positive left is that CMSS3D works independently, and gives you more depth in regular games than not having it, especially with headphones.

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            Yeah, that’s why it’s dead. OpenAL is technically more advanced and better EAX, but it was never really adopted and it’s effectively stillborn.

          • Meadows
          • 6 years ago

          You don’t need a dedicated API for 3D sound.

        • Bensam123
        • 6 years ago

        PC exclusives have received the same treatment. I used PS2 as an example because the sound is pretty horrid. It definitely works, but a lot of thing’s don’t render beyond like 100m. The bug where sounds sometimes don’t render has been in like every game in existence for the last decade.

      • Krogoth
      • 6 years ago

      3D Audio for gaming isn’t going to be coming back. The mainstream crowd doesn’t care enough about it to warrant development. It was never big to begin with even back during late 1990s and early 2000s. It required decent hardware in form of quality multi-channel speakers and/or headphones to take advantage of it. It also require keener sense of sound to appreciate the difference. It simply didn’t net the returns that is found in 3D graphics.

      The industry continued to focus their energies on graphical fidelity while audio fidelity was put into the backburner. Stereo with lossy formats was *good enough*. I don’t think the direction is going to change anytime soon either. Creative’s death grip on most 3D audio gaming IPs/patents makes the situation even more precarious.

      3D Audio is going to be limited to the realm of A/V related stuff and audio engineering.

        • Bensam123
        • 6 years ago

        I don’t think they care till they try it. All it takes is one really good example before it starts catching on again like wildfire. You saw what happened with the reinnovation of 3D tech, it will be the same way when someone finally comes up with killer sound.

        Sound is our second strongest sense. Just because someone isn’t doing it now, doesn’t mean people don’t and never will care.

        • DarkUltra
        • 6 years ago

        You, sir, should try Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3 on a home theater setup. They only support 5.1 but they have the best audio I have heard yet from a game. They both use software 3d audio (xna api I think) and have a lot of audio latency but other than that is muuuch better than for instance Battlefield 2.

        BF2 supported EAX 5.0 hardware accelerated 3D audio but doesn’t sound nearly as good at all. Audio layency was very good, though.

        Crysis 3 actually has lesser audio than C2 in my subjective opinion.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 6 years ago

    Why isn’t this out yet, I want one dammit.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 6 years ago

      Because they’ve got ONE MORE FEATURE they have to add to make it PERFECT.

      Just one more feature…

      Just one more…

      Just one…

      Just…

        • esterhasz
        • 6 years ago

        You’ve got a point, but I think that in this case, there is simply no other possibility. The physical and cognitive strain due to lag, body/eye dissociation, and so on could really make this impossible to use for too many people. End of 2014 has been on the table for a while now and I’m actually pretty impressed by their progres. This could be a big thing or just a novelty and the first consumer version may decide what it’s gonna be.

        • Firestarter
        • 6 years ago

        Well, they’re really only improving on the basic functionality of the device, right? I’d hardly call that feature bloat.

          • saluk
          • 6 years ago

          It’s kind of feature bloat, but for VR to really work you have to have all your ducks in a row. It’s not like a lot of other projects where there is a list of stuff that has to happen, and a list of things that would make it a bit better. The bar is high, and each feature is pushing it towards that bar.

    • sonofsanta
    • 6 years ago

    Regarding game support… just make it Source compatible so I can play Dear Esther in this thing. I cannot think of a finer way to relax of an evening and escape for an hour.

    Maybe Proteus.

      • Pez
      • 6 years ago

      [url<]http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/valve-gets-cosier-with-oculus-rift-as-it-launches-steamvr-1214937[/url<]

    • danny e.
    • 6 years ago

    [url<]http://www.tweaktown.com/news/33570/japan-display-inc-unveils-5-4-inch-2560x1440-543ppi-display/index.html[/url<] 4K any day now.

      • danny e.
      • 6 years ago

      The rumored 5.25″ AMOLED 2560×1440 screen in the Galaxy S5 is more relevant perhaps.

      Remember how we’ve all been complaining about crazy resolutions on phones and crappy resolutions on desktop.
      Well, the second part is being fixed. And now we can also be thankful that phones have crazy high res so the mass market production brings down cost for putting the screens into something like this.

    • danny e.
    • 6 years ago

    edit

    ugh.
    i liked my link but not all the other crapola that is around it on youtube.

      • danny e.
      • 6 years ago

      it’s relevant. trust me. maybe.

    • jjj
    • 6 years ago

    They broke my hear with the camera , adding it is the opposite of progress.
    Not having a retail version and solid plans for the next 2 gens is also far from ideal.At this point there is no competition but that won’t last and every second lost matters.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 6 years ago

      They’re lost in a cycle of, “Hey, this feature’d be cool!” and they’ve lost the plot they’re meant to be making AFFORDABLE VR to sell the concept and get it in so many hands as to make the feature viable for the future of gaming.

      Now they’re bouncing through all the ideas of how great it’d be if they added JUST ONE MORE COOL FEATURE! They don’t get how going up to twice as much as they were originally promising is going to kill the concept dead because having only a few units in CONSUMER’s hands in the end when it’s so much more expensive is going to keep developers from being able to make a case to publishers that software support makes sense.

      The trick is to make a product as cheap as possible that’s profitable and as close to impulse buy as possible. They’re hearing all this praise and they’re letting it go to their head, thinking they can get away with much higher pricing than they originally were targeting.

      They’re going to find out how wrong they are if they don’t course-correct soon.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<] That seems wise to me. When it's that close to your face and divided between two eyes, a 1080p display feels pretty low-res. If you stop and look, you can see the individual subpixels in the Crystal Cove's AMOLED array.[/quote<] You too, Scott? This refrain again? Look, I'm all for better resolution, but look at all the other features this thing has already (AMOLED screens, external camera for positional tracking) and then take into account it still doesn't have positional audio. You're [i<]not[/i<] going to get a 1440p+ AMOLED screen in that thing and hit a price point of around $200 where consumers will be comfortable with spending that kind of cash. This thing is quickly turning into the Homer of tech gadgets.

      • sschaem
      • 6 years ago

      How many people spent 500$ for a fancy blu ray player that can also play games?
      Over 3 million in past few month. The rift could cost $450 and they couldnt make enough to supply initial demand. The 350$ version can follow a year after that, and a cost reduced a year later.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 6 years ago

        Yes, but the number of people who have an HDTV to play the overpriced consoles on is huge.

        With the Oculus Rift, you’re talking about PC-only users out the gate who also happen to have a system capable of running games in 3D. Do you realize how small a target audience that is? The more expensive the device, the less likely these are going to be bought as an impulse buy. People are going to sit it out and wait. As time passes, this will become a niche gimmick that no one remembers. Whereas if they made it reliable and cheap (like it was originally marketed), then everyone with a capable PC would buy into it and that could grow the PC gaming market by making people go out and upgrade their PC’s to support the oomph required to run it properly.

        PC gaming is huge. The number of PC gamers with the hardware to push VR that will also throw down $450+ on VR equipment with virtually no game support is much smaller.

        It has to be cheap to sell the concept of VR and get a lot of people to own it. That way, they can get a lot of software support. In the future, they can then market it as the high priced concept you want. If they try to make it expensive (re: greater than the originally promised $300) out the gate, they’ll just be replicating every other piece of VR equipment ever released and they’ll have the same results, too.

          • ssidbroadcast
          • 6 years ago

          [b<]^^ THIS MAN KNOWS WTF.[/b<]

      • MadManOriginal
      • 6 years ago

      This isn’t going to be like tablets where ‘regular consumers’ want one right away. It’s extremely cool but initially will serve a niche audience. I am also sure that they are looking beyond the consumer market and want to do industrial and military applications.

        • Anovoca
        • 6 years ago

        The company already pretty much said as much about marketing to industry and military

      • yammerpickle2
      • 6 years ago

      I totally disagree. PS4, and Xbones were selling like hot cakes and the kids in my working class area all have smart phones and expensive shoes. Mommy, and daddy will buy it for them.
      Also you are telling me that a high hz 4K AMOLED VR display with head tracking is not worth what people will pay for a traditional monitor that is 4k and only 30hz and a TN screen?
      [url<]https://techreport.com/news/25881/699-asking-price-attached-to-dell-affordable-4k-monitor.[/url<] Also don't worry about the 3D sound. If your a gamer and don't have some decent headphones already than you can't afford a VR headset anyway. All they need is position tracking info to make it to the audio generation routines to tie it in. Even if you think the price point for 4K is too high, they can come back with two models an elite version, and a standard version. The head tracking and other hardware / software can basically be the same and just use different displays.

        • HisDivineOrder
        • 6 years ago

        Splitting the product line down the middle increases costs of production and on a device that is already very niche, that can be a lot of money to a small company not actually selling anything currently.

        And while the 4K version of the device might be “worth it” to a few high end, niche users, it won’t be “worth it” to the vast majority of users who could afford the lower end version. If anything, history has shown gamers tend to ignore displays as points of upgrade for long, long periods of time when they cost more than a couple hundred dollars. Look how many gamers swear by TN displays and tell me ALL of them are doing so because they just LOVE TN versus IPS.

        It’s all about priorities. A lot of people don’t prioritize around their displays and so they don’t allow for a LOT of money for the display.

        That’s ignoring the fact that VR is far more limited in use-case than a regular display because you’re not always going to want to be wearing your VR all day long. At least, not everyone is. This isn’t going to be the only display a person has. It’s going to be a additional display for a great many people. Most are going to want a main display to watch when they don’t feel like having a mass of equipment strapped to their skull.

        Thus, a great many people–all those people NOT buying 4K displays or hell even 1600p displays at $400-500–are going to skip VR, niche equipment no matter how awesome and whizzbang technically perfect it is if it’s priced higher than the originally promised $300.

        At $300, they are around the price of what a LOT of enthusiasts will pay for a video card. Much higher and they aren’t.

        Moreover, a higher resolution display will require more hardware than more conventional resolutions, which ALSO increases the investment required to use the hardware.

        In short, they need to keep the resolution within reason and they need to keep the overall cost of the device within reason. They’re moving outside their targets and they’re swerving into the same wall that every other similar device has faced. Those devices didn’t fail largely because they weren’t technically sound. They didn’t even enter most people’s minds because they were far too expensive.

        This won’t either if it pushes too far past the $300 price point.

    • codedivine
    • 6 years ago

    I am just wondering, who is the dude in the photo wearing the headset?

      • anotherengineer
      • 6 years ago

      From the name tag looks like Adam – the TR bizz guy. Is that Damage behind him??

      Edit – or an oculus guy?

        • Damage
        • 6 years ago

        The guy behind him is William F. Buckley Jr.

      • Inkling
      • 6 years ago

      It’s a professional model they brought in for the PR shot.

        • anotherengineer
        • 6 years ago

        lolz

        • eitje
        • 6 years ago

        you wish.

      • Gyromancer
      • 6 years ago

      It’s Adam.

    • internetsandman
    • 6 years ago

    In terms of audio, a high-end option they should consider is a full on VR helmet, complete with circumaural ear pads for the headphones. I don’t know how well it would work in terms of weight, but as a cohesive unit I imagine it would be much better than headphones and a display attached to your eyes

    Also, out of curiosity, what is peripheral vision like with these goggles? That’s something I’ve long been curious about, if this gives you tunnel vision, or if you can see enemies out of the corner of your eye, as you could hypothetically do in the real world?

      • superjawes
      • 6 years ago

      I thought about that, but I think a helment is a bad idea for a couple reasons. First, sizing. I have a fairly large head, so I would need a larger helmet than others. Might be okay for personal use, but someone with a small/medium sized helmet wouldn’t be able to show a friend like me how awesome the helemt is. Even then, it might “fit” one’s head, but not fit it well. Second, a helmet could do some weird things to the audio. If it bounces around, you might feel like you’re in a tin can.

      Even as a high end product, those are some sticky issues, and you’re going to want a minimum volume to justify tooling/manufacturing for such a setup. So I think they will be modifying the straps for the audio solution. A partnership might work, but I personally think they’d be better off by redesiging the straps to work around any headphone. That way, the user could choose the headphones he/she likes.

    • kilkennycat
    • 6 years ago

    What about vision correction for those with spectacles? Would not want to be wearing spectacles when using the Rift.

    Hopefully Oculus is actively negotiating a patent deal with Apple…. assuming that Apple plays “nice” of course… Or comes up with something totally different that addresses those with less than perfect vision.

    See:-

    [url<]http://www.macrumors.com/2013/12/10/apples-work-on-video-goggles-highlighted-in-newly-granted-patent/[/url<]

      • ferdinandh
      • 6 years ago

      I hope Oculus can stay away from the evil empires.

      • Pez
      • 6 years ago

      I have a Rift and it comes with differing lenses so accommodate specs, and you can Change the distance the Occulus sits from your face to make it more comfortable. Unless you are really really badly longsighted though you most likely won’t need your glasses as well.

      Or, you could always use contacts?

    • krazyredboy
    • 6 years ago

    They’ve shipped 50,000 developer kits and can’t track what everyone is doing with them. Well, I can guarantee you, at least, a few dozen of them are being used to create…ahem…more “adult” oriented products.

    Dare I say…

    Like, Virtual Cheese Shop walkthroughs…

    Just sayin’…

      • internetsandman
      • 6 years ago

      I remember hearing at least a few months ago that there were developers working on xxx software for the rift

      • oldDummy
      • 6 years ago

      Seems to me that crew is always on the bleeding edge. Taking chances is in their blood and they have cash up front to invest for possible large returns.
      .

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