Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, announced that it hired Atman Binstock as its new Chief Architect. We don’t usually report on industry hires, but Binstock was one of the lead engineers at Valve behind the “VR room” we heard so much about during the company’s Steam Dev Days event.
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.
In the the Global Game Jam, independent developers from around the world take 48 hours to make a game. It's a great source for a ton of small projects with big ideas, often gutsy or silly. This year's bounty includes games about shadow puppets, "doing it," and a staggering 4291 other entries. It's impossible to sort through them all, but a game like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which uses both the Oculus Rift and the Razer Hydra, is hard to miss.
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.
Once you got past the spectacle of Microsoft and Sony competing for the honor of delivering the console that promised to annoy gamers the least, it was impossible not to see a fantastic year ahead for PC gamers. Across every genre and from the biggest studios to the greenest fledgling indies we found something on the show floor (an overwhelming arena of animatronic monsters, light shows, and pounding wubwub) to arouse PC gamers of every stripe. So that wasn’t the problem. The tough part was winnowing down the list of nominees for our Best in Show accolades.
The Oculus Rift is the most exciting peripheral I’ve ever used. This is the virtual reality headset I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little boy; true future tech that will redefine what it means to play games.
I got to demo it running Doom BFG at this year’s Gamescom. Even better, the kind chaps at Oculus let us film the wondrous thing in action, so you get to share in me looking silly but having a truly joyous gaming experience. Click through for the video.