virtual reality

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.

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 Connect developer conference announced, Carmack and Luckey to keynote

Shaun Prescott at

Oculus VR will host its first developer conference this September. Oculus Connect will bring together "engineers, designers, and creatives from around the world" to discuss virtual reality technology. Best of all, the conference will sate our annual urge to see John Carmack speak at length about his work, given that he won't be attending QuakeCon this year as per usual.

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.

Oculus Rift to make long-awaited debut in American fast food outlets

Shaun Prescott at

What do you get when you mix copious amounts of pizza with in-development virtual reality tech which can trigger motion sickness with prolonged use? A lot of vomit, probably, but also a Chuck E. Cheese Oculus Rift game.

Oculus VR hires former Google Glass engineer to work on Rift

Cory Banks at

Oculus VR has been hiring some serious talent for the last few months. It nabbed id Software’s John Carmack last year, then Valve’s virtual reality wizards Michael Abrash and Atman Binstock,  then it hired a founding member of Halo 4 developer 343 Industries, Kenneth Scott, to be its art director on future first-party titles. Now it can add one more name to what must be a huge orientation meeting: former Google Glass engineer Adrian Wong.

Oculus VR hires Halo 4 dev founding member as art director

Emanuel Maiberg at

Oculus VR has been on a high-profile hiring spree for the last few months. It nabbed id Software’s John Carmack last year, then Valve’s virtual reality experts Michael Abrash and Atman Binstock, and former Electronic Arts executive David De Martini is helping the company partner with developers of all sizes. We just learned of another high-profile Oculus hire, but this one is a little different than the rest.

Oculus VR CEO sees potential for an MMO with "a billion people" in virtual reality

Patrick Carlson at

When news surfaced that Facebook had agreed to buy up Oculus VR, it became clear the headset maker had big plans for its virtual reality technology. Now we have an idea of just how big. Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe says the Rift headset could potentially serve as the platform for an MMO with "a billion" people, according to a report at The Verge.

Oculus Rift DK2 prototype reportedly sells 25,000 units in one month

Ian Birnbaum at

The second major permutation of the virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift DK2, has reportedly sold 25,000 units since its pre-order page went live on March 19. After only a month, that number is almost half of what the first development kit, the DK1, sold in its lifetime. Aside from a few tweets and forum comments, this is the first hard news from inside Oculus VR since the company was infamously purchased by Facebook last month.

The Rift Report: exploring the weird world of virtual reality sex

Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality in the Rift Report. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the dirty elephant in the room: sex games. As long as the concept of virtual reality has existed, people have been fascinated by the pornographic possibilities of the technology. Now, thanks to the Oculus Rift and accessible 3D dev tools like Unity and Unreal, those wet dreams are coming true. Sure, the Rift can whisk you away to fantastical worlds, but some people would rather just toss themselves dry to digitised filth. So it’s no surprise that a number of adult games developed for the headset have appeared online, which I’ve bravely decided to test.

John Carmack defends Oculus Rift acquisition: VR is "too obviously powerful" for independence

Ian Birnbaum at

The fury over Oculus VR’s acquisition by social media giant Facebook seems to have fallen to a low simmer as the raw emotion has a chance to cool. Another factor: we don’t really have any more information now than we did the day after the news broke. Aside from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey’s increasingly futile defense on reddit, no one inside the deal has spoken up. Now, development legend John Carmack, who famously left his position at Id software to work as Oculus’s chief technology officer, has spoken up for the first time.

Oculus VR hires Valve VR expert Michael Abrash as chief scientist

Wes Fenlon at

Three days after Oculus announced that it was being purchased by Facebook for $2 billion, the VR company has hired programmer Michael Abrash, who has worked at Valve since 2011. Abrash has been working on Valve's virtual reality technology for the last couple years, and regularly posts deep technical discussions of VR on his blog. Abrash is joining Oculus as Chief Scientist, and in his introductory post on Oculus' website, he cites the Facebook acquisition--and Facebook's deep pockets--as "the final piece of the puzzle" necessary for VR to achieve greatness.

CCP says Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift won't change plans for EVE: Valkyrie launch

Ian Birnbaum at

There have been a lot of reactions to the purchase of Oculus VR by Facebook in the last 24 hours, much of it polemic and apocalyptic. Our own reactions ranged from guarded optimism to cautious disappointment, while Minecraft creator Notch immediately canned an Oculus-focused version of Minecraft. EVE: Online developer CCP, on the other hand, has expressed support for the purchase and say that release plans for the VR starfighter game EVE: Valkyrie won’t be changing.

The Rift Report: exploring the solar system, interactive art, and virtual reality Zelda

Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality in the Rift Report. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.

So the new HD Rift development kit has been revealed, and it’ll cost you a princely $350 to buy. We don’t have one yet (don’t worry, we will), and the low-res screen of the first devkit is looking pretty pathetic compared to the dazzling high-res screen that Sam tried at GDC. But I’m still enjoying the original model, and a slightly blurry screen doesn’t diminish the power of the Rift for me.

Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 on sale now, an even better consumer version is "the next step"

Tyler Wilde at

A new model of the Oculus Rift Development Kit—simply called Development Kit 2 or DK2—is available for pre-order today for $350 with an estimated shipping date of July. Compared to the original virtual reality headset prototype, Development Kit 2 has a higher resolution screen (960x1080 per eye), generates no motion blur, and includes positional head tracking using a CMOS sensor.

Steam client beta update adds easy "virtual reality mode" access

Emanuel Maiberg at

Yesterday, Valve released a Steam client beta update that makes accessing the services's “Virtual Reality Mode” even easier. VR mode allows you to browse the store, access your library, and generally use Steam with an Oculus Rift dev kit. Valve first added VR support in January, when it introduced the SteamVR application to the beta client’s Tools library. This recent update simplifies access.

The future of PC gaming: virtual reality

Tyler Wilde at

All week long, we're peering ahead to what the future holds for the PC gaming industry. Not just the hardware and software in our rigs, but how and where we use them, and how they impact the games we play. Here's part three of our five-part series; stay tuned all week for more from the future of PC gaming.

Palmer Luckey has dedicated his career to virtual reality and bet millions of investment dollars on the idea, so it’s expected that he would call it “the most exciting technology of the last century.” It’s still a bold statement from the young entrepreneur and founder of Oculus VR, and we told him as much during our chat at CES 2014.

The Rift Report: Star Wars, virtual trucks and memory implants

Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.

When I first heard about how amazing Oculus Rift was, I was unconvinced. I’m naturally wary of any technology heralded as THE FUTURE, because I know that, in most cases, we’ll look back at ourselves and laugh at how excited we got about such rubbish technology. But then I stuck my head in one and was instantly converted. Now I’ve become a tedious VR evangelist, bending the ear of anyone who’ll listen about how incredible it is, and forcing people to sit at my desk and try it for themselves. So to give the guys in the office peace, I’ve decided to start this new weekly report on all things VR, both for people curious about the tech, and those of you who already own a Rift.

Oculus VR files tradmark for RiftCon as the Rift sells more than 50,000 units

Ian Birnbaum at

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 Rift's Crystal Cove shows off new low-latency screen and positional head tracking

Ian Birnbaum at

The Oculus Rift has been making waves in PC gaming for a while, but mostly absent from the buzz has been the company behind Oculus, Oculus VR. Apparently they’ve been saving up all that excitement for this year’s CES, where they unveiled a new prototype, the Crystal Cove. Our friends at Tested got to have a long hands-on with the new prototype, and I’m not even a tiny bit bitter or jealous about that. At all.