Oculus RIFT

Oculus Crescent Bay interview: Nate Mitchell on prototype tech and VR presence

Wes Fenlon at

After testing out Oculus VR's new headset prototype Crescent Bay, I put the pieces of my brain back together enough to have a coherent chat with Nate Mitchell, VP of product at Oculus. I last talked to Nate at E3, when he walked me through demos of SUPERHOT and Lucky's Tale. This time, at Oculus Connect, we talked about the new Crescent Bay prototype—what Oculus had to improve from DK2 to achieve "presence," what kind of hardware it takes to run games at 90Hz, and whether gamers who ordered a DK2 should be upset that there's already a new prototype on the way.

Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype hands-on: experiencing true VR presence for the first time

Wes Fenlon at

Wow. I thought I had experienced virtual reality before I put on Oculus VR’s new prototype Crescent Bay headset. I put on the original Rift when it was still a duct-taped prototype. I’ve played game demos on the higher resolution Crystal Cove prototype, which added positional tracking, and the polished version that is now shipping as DK2. Every one was amazing: an experience with a technology that was clearly on the cusp of changing gaming as we know it. Putting on Oculus VR’s Crescent Bay is a different experience altogether. Those previous headsets were just shadows of virtual reality, simulacra that asked you to fool your brain into believing in the magic. In some of the Crystal Cove demos, I found myself having to remind my brain that this wasn’t real, because all my senses were telling me otherwise.

In their keynotes at Oculus Connect, the brains behind Oculus kept talking about “presence”—what it takes to create total immersion in virtual reality. It sounded like a buzzword to me, until I strapped Crescent Bay onto my face, placed its integrated earpieces over my ears, and stood on the ledge of a skyscraper looking out over a virtual steampunk cityscape. I looked down, tried to step off the ledge, and my body recoiled. I was there.


Oculus Rift 'Crescent Bay' prototype unveiled, a "massive leap" over DK2

Tyler Wilde at

This isn't the consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR headset, but according to Oculus, it's another big step closer. This morning at Oculus Connect, company CEO Brendan Iribe revealed the Crescent Bay prototype, which he says is "a massive leap" over the currently available Oculus Rift DK2.


Watch Oculus Connect livestreams here all Saturday

Wes Fenlon at

Oculus Connect is Oculus VR's first developer event, and it has some major headliners: techno-wizards John Carmack and Michael Abrash are both delivering keynotes on the science and technology of virtual reality. All of Oculus Connect's talks will be livestreams on Twitch, and we've got a handy embed below if you want to watch along. We're also at the event to cover the news, talk to developers and go hands-on with the latest Oculus Rift demos.


The PC Gamer Show episode 6: Due Process, Oculus Rift DK2, and a fond farewell

PC Gamer at

It's The PC Gamer Show! In episode six, Evan and Tyler play indie tactical shooter Due Process, Andy subjects the office to Cyberspace on the Oculus Rift DK2, and we say goodbye to a friend.


Oculus Rift consumer model reported to be releasing in 'beta' next summer

Phil Savage at

I'd like to issue a formal apology on behalf of everyone who keeps going on about the Oculus Rift. Sorry. It's just that the current development kits are filled with the promise of exciting escapism—even if it is to some deeply strange places. Luckily for everyone not yet prepared to deal with the DK2's current issues, news has emerged of the planned release window of the long-awaited consumer edition.


Oculus Rift co-founder says consumer release is expected to stay under $400

Andy Chalk at

Oculus Rift development kits have been kicking around for awhile now, and by all reports they've awfully cool. But where are the consumer versions? Will they be meaningfully different from the DK units? And how much are they going to cost, anyway? Read on for answers—sort of.

Virtual reality is closer than ever, but it still has a long way to go

Andy Kelly at

I’ve been regularly strapping the office Oculus Rift to my head for a few months now, and I’m convinced virtual reality is something special, and not just a daft gimmick we’ll all laugh at in a decade. But there are still a lot of problems with the hardware as it exists today—including the recently released DK2 version—that will have to be ironed out before the thing is ready to appear in peoples’ living rooms. If, indeed, that ever happens.


Notch is "over being upset," Minecraft on Oculus Rift may happen after all

Andy Chalk at

Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson was not a happy camper when he heard that Oculus Rift had been acquired by Facebook. He was so put off by the news, in fact, that he pulled the plug on early-stage talks about developing an Oculus version of his game, because, as he put it, "Facebook creeps me out." But apparently it was just a passing thing, and now he's more concerned about the state of his socks.


Highlights from the Oculus Rift's Health and Safety guide

Phil Savage at

As part of the new SDK, Oculus VR has updated the Rift's "Health and Safety Warning" documentation, and it's pretty great. There's something about the clash of new technology and old legislation that I find deeply amusing. As such, I'm going to highlight some of the highlights—not in an attempt to over-exaggerate the dangers of VR, but rather to celebrate sentences like, "symptoms of virtual reality exposure can persist and become more apparent hours after use."

Virtual reality exposure is a thing now. A thing with symptoms. That's pretty cool.


Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot lets you use the Oculus Rift to fight kaiju

Andy Chalk at

The list of things you can do with the Oculus Rift has grown by one—a very big one—as Legendary Entertainment and Oculus VR debuted Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot today at the San Diego Comic-Con.


EVE: Valkyrie producer explains why VR is good for flight sims but not FPSes

Andy Chalk at

The space combat sim EVE: Valkyrie is a particularly exciting addition to the genre because it's being built from the ground-up to use the Oculus Rift VR headset. Assuming it lives up to the hype, that will make it one of the most uniquely immersive gaming experiences available, as players will have complete freedom of view through their cockpit windows as they yank-and-bank across the galaxy. But despite that great potential, executive producer Owen O'Brien doesn't believe it will herald a new generation of similarly engaging FPSes.


Oculus VR won't provide support for Oculus Rift headsets purchased "second-hand"

Andy Chalk at

Oculus VR is dropping the hammer on Oculus Rift resellers by tracking them down through their eBay listings and canceling their preorders for the DK2 version of the headset. But it also warned that anyone who purchases an Oculus Rift "second hand" through eBay or elsewhere will be "on their own" if they run into trouble.


Oculus Rift suspends sales to China because of "extreme reselling"

Andy Chalk at

The Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 started shipping this week, but the company has been forced to suspend orders from China because of "extreme reseller purchases." It's now looking into alternative methods for getting the hardware into the hands of legitimate developers, but says it doesn't have a timeline for when that might happen.


The PC Gamer Show Episode 0: E3

PC Gamer at

As we started planning for E3, the busiest week of the year, we decided that simply covering every PC game we could get our hands on at the convention wasn't enough. We wanted to do something ambitious. Something that would make our lives harder. Something like shooting the first episode of a new bi-weekly series about PC games. We're calling it The PC Gamer Show.


Oculus VR acquires Carbon Design Group, designers of the Xbox 360 controller

Andy Chalk at

Oculus VR has grown again with the acquisition of the Carbon Design Group, and while you may not recognize the name, you almost certainly know its work: It's the team that designed, among many other things, the controller for the Xbox 360.

Oculus VR accuses ZeniMax of seeking a "quick payout" from Facebook

Andy Chalk at

Oculus VR has filed a response to ZeniMax Media's lawsuit against it, describing the trademark infringement claim as "a transparent attempt to take advantage of the Oculus VR sale to Facebook." It alleges that ZeniMax omitted and misstated facts in its suit, and repeated its own assertions that "there is not a line of ZeniMax code" in any Oculus VR product.


Bastion, Transistor programmer Chris Jurney joins Oculus Rift team

Andy Chalk at

If it seems lately that everyone under the sun is going to work for Oculus VR, that may be because everyone under the sun is going to work for Oculus VR. The latest addition to the virtual reality dream team is Chris Jurney of Supergiant Games, the studio behind the indie hits Bastion and Transistor.


Oculus founder Palmer Luckey thinks 30 frames per second is 'a failure'

Shaun Prescott at

Developers offer plenty of reasons for 30 frames per second in blockbuster games, but Palmer Luckey isn’t having a bar of it. According to the Oculus Rift founder, not only is it inexcusable in virtual reality, but even consoles and onscreen PC games shouldn’t be let off the hook.


Lucky's Tale interview: Paul Bettner on crafting a 3D platformer for the Oculus Rift

Wes Fenlon at

The most surprising, charming game I played at E3 was on the Oculus Rift, but it wasn't bullet-dodger Superhot or fright factory Alien Isolation. It was platformer Lucky's Tale, which looks and plays a whole lot like 3D Mario. But man oh man, does VR make a difference. The sense of depth it adds is immediately helpful and immersive, and I knew immediately VR would have been a killer feature in a game like Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U. But Lucky's Tale will be a PC, Oculus Rift exclusive, launching alongside the consumer version of the Rift at an unannounced future date. The demo was so exciting, I had to find out more.

In my last E3 appointment, I spent 30 minutes talking with creator Paul Bettner about how his studio stumbled onto the idea of doing a traditional platformer in VR, the technical challenges of nailing the VR camera, and the future of Oculus hardware.