Archive for the ‘rift’ Category

Oculus co-founder: “Free is still not cheap enough” for current VR tech

November 1st, 2018
Sebastian saw the light in the HTC/Valve Vive VR headset

We'll still use any excuse to reuse this photo of Ars alumnus Sebastian Anthony reacting to VR. (credit: Sebastian Anthony)

Ever since Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey revealed that the first consumer Oculus Rift headset would launch at $600, many industry watchers have been arguing that the high price of entry was keeping virtual reality from becoming a truly revolutionary mass-market technology. Though prices for VR headsets and compatible hardware have come down quite a bit since then, sales and usage stats are still struggling to climb out of the doldrums when compared with other tech products.

Now Luckey, who left Oculus in early 2017, argues in a recent blog post that there is no price low enough to convince a critical mass of people to regularly engage with existing VR headsets:

No existing or imminent VR hardware is good enough to go truly mainstream, even at a price of $0.00. You could give a Rift+PC to every single person in the developed world for free, and the vast majority would cease to use it in a matter of weeks or months.

I know this from seeing the results of large scale real-world market testing, not just my own imagination—hardcore gamers and technology enthusiasts are entranced by the VR of today, as am I, but stickiness drops off steeply outside of that core demographic. Free is still not cheap enough for most people, because cost is not what holds them back actively or passively.

Luckey goes on to estimate that current VR technology could attract an absolute ceiling of 50 million active users worldwide—and that number only with significant industry effort. That's a far cry from the 1 billion users Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cites as his long-term goal for VR adoption.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, oculus, plamer luckey, price, quality, revolution, rift, virtual reality, VR | Comments (0)

Oculus reconfirms “future version of Rift” amid PC cancellation rumors

October 23rd, 2018
An Oculus Rift photo montage from Oculus Connect.

Enlarge / An Oculus Rift photo montage from Oculus Connect. (credit: Kyle Orland)

Oculus has reaffirmed it's working on a new version of its PC-based Rift hardware. That affirmation follows a report from TechCrunch suggesting the cancellation of the "Rift 2" was behind the sudden departure of Oculus co-founder and former CEO Brendan Iribe, announced just yesterday.

Iribe, who stepped down as CEO to help lead Oculus' PC/Rift division in late 2016, announced his departure from the company on Facebook Monday. Iribe said he was "deeply proud and grateful for" the work he'd done with Oculus and that "although we're still far from delivering the magical smart glasses we all dream about, now they are nearly within our reach." That said, leaving the company "will be the first real break I've taken in over 20 years," he wrote. "It's time to recharge, reflect, and be creative."

The TechCrunch report, though, cites an unnamed source "close to the matter" in saying Iribe had actually grown frustrated with "fundamentally different views on the future of Oculus that grew deeper over time" and was concerned about a "race to the bottom" in terms of performance. That suggests Iribe may not have been happy with the increased focus on the recently announced Oculus Quest, a $400 standalone headset powered by a mobile system-on-a-chip.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, oculus, pc, rift, virtual reality, VR | Comments (0)

Reddit users re-enable Alien: Isolation’s VR mode with unofficial patch

July 30th, 2017

Enlarge / You’d never be able to tell that a crewmate turned inside out on this very table only a few short hours ago!

Although 2014’s Alien: Isolation was a well-written, beautifully stylish exercise in terror, it failed to sell in large enough quantity for publisher Sega to justify a sequel—something for which we are all lessened, because the game is an exquisitely crafted love letter to the Alien universe. It’s also—as can be attested by numerous Youtube reaction videos—pants-wettingly terrifying.

The game was released just before the consumer versions of the Rift and Vive VR headsets became available, but it had a hidden Rift DK2-compatible gameplay mode that could be enabled by editing a configuration file. The VR mode mostly worked—the camera clips through the player’s body a lot, and folks prone to VR sickness would likely get nauseated within minutes due to the lack of any kind of VR accommodation in the game’s design, but even in its limited unsupported form the VR mode was stunning—and provided an even more terrifying experience than playing on a regular screen.

Unfortunately, the extended screen method by which Isolation’s VR mode functioned made it incompatible with the release versions of the Rift or Vive. The game’s sales figures were too low for Sega to justify bringing the coding team back together to update the feature for consumer headsets, and it would have passed into history as little more than an experimental footnote.

Except, of course, for the fan community—thanks to them, you can once again play Alien: Isolation in VR. Mostly.

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Posted in alien, alien isolation, aliens, Gaming & Culture, oculus rift, rift, virtual reality, VR | Comments (0)