Virtual reality, SteamOS, fiber broadband, 4K displays, holodecks (you know, maybe)—the next five years of PC gaming will radically transform our immortal hobby. What new experiences will the PC games of the near future provide? How will technology surprise us? This April at PAX East 2014, we'll look into that glowing future with the innovators and PC gaming stakeholders shaping it.
Oculus VR, maker of everyone’s favorite virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift, has filed a trademark for RiftCon, a gathering to “encourage use and development of interactive entertainment, virtual reality, consumer electronics, and video game entertainment software,” according to the US Patent and Trademark Office. We’ve enjoyed checking out the Oculus Rift devkit and Crystal Cove prototype at trade shows, but it looks like Oculus is interested in a show devoted to VR specifically.
Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, announced today that Eve: Valkyrie, a space dog-fighting game often used to demo the device, will be the first game Oculus will co-publish, and the first exclusive Oculus Rift launch title.
Okay, this makes more sense. Last November, eyebrows were cocked when Valve announced the session names and descriptions for this week's Steam Developer Days conference. At the time, when describing their VR session, Valve revealed that they'd "assembled a prototype," which would show what VR hardware could be capable of within two years. The question then became what they planned to do with this prototype, and whether their VR expertise would lead to an Oculus rival.
Quite the opposite, as it turns out. During the session, presented by Valve's VR virtuoso Michael Abrash, it was confirmed that the company have no current plans to release VR - at least, not yet. As a result, it's Oculus VR that are their most obvious choice as to who will ship a quality consumer headset. What's more, Valve say they're "continuing to work with Oculus to drive PC VR forward".
It's safe to say that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey was exhausted when we sat down at last week's International CES to chat. He'd been in town for eight days, talking to the press and showing the newest Oculus Rift prototype, dubbed "Crystal Cove." The newest headset uses 360 degree positional tracking and low persistence motion blur tech to essentially keep wimps like me from vomiting during use. But even though he was wiped, Luckey still took a few moments to talk to me about the promise of VR for videogames and beyond, the rumors of John Carmack making an Oculus Rift game, and his thoughts PC gaming moving to the living room.
That's me, leaning forward in the cockpit during my Oculus Rift demo of EVE: Valkyrie this morning. I'm reading the words printed on a screen to the left side of my cockpit, as my fighter sits in the launch bay. The words were blurred as I reclined in the char, but came into sharp focus as I got closer.
But there's something else, something more subtle happening in that photo: I'm amazed that I haven't thrown up.
We've got an Oculus Rift in the office, and - while a truly impressive piece of kit - it's a headset filled with caveats. The resolution is low, the motion can be nausea inducing, and, after spending enough time in its chamber of isolation, you'll probably emerge to find co-workers have stuck a crude knob drawing to your monitor. Beyond the development kit, though, Oculus VR have been introducing increasingly promising solutions and features as it works towards a commercial version.
First there was the HD version, and now at CES 2014, they've announced a new prototype called Crystal Cove. It features a low-persistence OLED display, designed to make the device more comfortable for users by reducing motion blur and 'smearing'. The new device can also better track your movements, thanks to a camera that detects infra-red dots that have been placed across the headset. Now able to track you in 3D space, it enables the Rift to, for instance, register crouches and leans.
id Software co-founder and master of Doom John Carmack is one of the brightest minds in the industry, which is why we were excited to learn he had joined Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. Aside from the impressive demos of the device, nothing lent the company as much legitimacy as his coming on board as chief technical officer.
We're all impressed and excited by the potential of the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles. It’s amazing technology, but persuading game developers to actually invest time and money in implementing it will be no small challenge. Today, Oculus VR revealed it has hired former Electronic Arts senior vice president David De Martini to tackle that challenge with its new publishing initiative.
Oculus VR, the company that's developing the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles you want for Christmas, has secured another $75 million in Series B funding. This is in addition to the $16 million it raised in Series A in June, which it must have placed on top of the $2.4 million pile of cash it raised in the initial Kickstarter campaign.
How real is real anyway? Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey thinks the best solution to motion sickness problems when using a virtual reality headset might be rethinking how movement is simulated in all games, not just those that plan on exploiting the new technology.
Like most of the world, I haven't yet had a go on an Oculus Rift, so I have no idea whether it really as good as sliced bread and 3D printers and all the other things that are the best things in the world. As someone who can barely tolerate the 3DS screen, I'm not sure I'll be too compatible with it though - particularly when you factor in motion sickness and the currently fairly low resolution. According to creators Oculus VR, however, both those things are likely to be improved soon. The latest prototype appears to have made great strides with the motion sickness problem, while a 4K resolution on the device is "not far away".
The Oculus Rift has already been modded into every game ever in the history of everything, but the company behind it will soon be offering an incentive to make virtual reality games from scratch - or 10,000 incentives, to be precise. Oculus VR and IndieCade's 'VR Jam' will run for three weeks from the 2nd to the 25th of August, and there's a cool $10,000 awaiting each of the eventual top winners. Anyone can enter - well, anyone with a $300 Oculus devkit knocking about.
There's been an abundance of intriguingnews about the tools and applications of VR faceset Oculus Rift. Which is great, if you're an owner of the $300 developer kit. For everyone else, it's like watching the cool kids play with their fancy View-Master, flicking between pictures of dinosaurs, while you're left listlessly browsing a picture book about chaffinches.
As yet, we don't even know how the Rift will be officially released to the public, let alone when. But in an interview with Edge at last week's Develop conference, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe suggested that their eventual hope is to find a business model that will let interested players pick one up for free.
Virtual reality is kind of a big deal now. We've always hoped the tech would one day succeed, and now a few other people share our opinion—people with money. After taking in a cool $2.4 million from a successful Kickstarter campaign last September to produce dev kits, the Oculus Rift team has obtained an additional $16 million from Matrix Partners, Spark Capital, Founders Fund, and Formation 8. Oculus Rift Founder Palmer Luckey wrote a few words assuring backers that the new financial partners believe in his dream as well.