Oculus Rift, the highly anticipated Virtual Reality gaming apparatus, has its origins in a very successful Kickstarter campaign where it raised approximately $2.5 million. Now, speaking to Edge, CEO Brendan Iribe said that the team wants to release the VR headset to the public next year. Iribie also said that the company is right now focusing on the PC and “next-gen cellphones.” Seeing as how the developer’s kit is only compatible with the Mac and the PC as of now, their focus on PC (or Mac) is not very surprising. However, the “next-gen cellphones” bit is intriguing. On the prospect of releasing the Oculus Rift into the mobile market, Iribe said:
“It’s the innovation, and how fast cellphones are now improving - where we’ll be with the next Galaxy or the next iPhone compared to where consoles are. Those tings are almost doubling every year, compared to a console that’s just stuck it out for eight years - it just makes us very excited. There’s a lot of improvements that can be made on the hardware side for VR that no-one’s doing yet because it’s a new thing. The mobile rate of innovation is going to be able to make a lot of those improvements.”
To yours truly, the main thing to look forward to in this VR paradigm is the immersion factor. And thankfully, Iribie seems to agree with my sentiments:
“I think a lot will come from the social and emotional side that nobody has even seen yet. Like, you’ll know where the player’s eyes are, and characters can now look at you and say ‘hey what’s up?’ and if you look away they’ll be like, ‘hey, what’s going on?’. There’s a lot of emotion you can spark in [VR] that you just can’t on a TV. When you have headset with a really wide field of view and low latency, your brain flips the switch and says: wait a second - this is reality now? It just fundamentally changes the way you feel things.”
Although the team is aiming for a next year release, they’re not in hurry, since they’re putting a lot of effort in making it ready for the consumer market. Still, Iribie said that “... we have internal prototypes which have a lot of each thing solved and it’s such a magical experience when you see it all together.” As for the subject of pricing, the team seems to intend to keep the launch price as close to 300$ as possible.