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Oculus Rift Details from the Livestream

By WskOsc12-06-2015

Today Oculus hosted a livestream event to talk about their virtual reality product, the Rift. You can see the recorded stream above and read our words below. We've talked about the Rift plenty of times before, so here's a little bit more:

The livestream opens with Oculus CEO, Brendan Iribe dropping all the usual buzzwords while talking about their vision while a disinterested audience fiddles with their phones. Iribe namedrops Atari and Apple while talking about the early innovations of gaming, likely trying to excite the audience which rather hilariously falls flat when he asks them how they feel about the image of a T-Rex and is answered by awkward silence.

A slick video shows a bit of what looks like the consumer model Rift and a bit of EVE Valkyrie which we've already seen previously. Followed by a presentation about the headset itself; the screens will be a pair of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays and a “constellation” tracking system – punctuated by another awkward silence from the audience – which couples the headset with a sensor that sits on your desk and plugs into your PC to track head movements in low latency. Integrated audio is included in the form of two small ear cups which can be removed easily if you should prefer your own.

A recurring theme of the presentation is how light the Rift unit itself is, how comfortable it is to wear. We can't speak to the validity of these claims as none of us here at Pixel Judge have gotten our peepers in one yet but we do see that the headset is light enough to lift and hold up with one hand and appears to have a decent amount of padding and thick robust looking straps.

For those worried about the eye-related issues around the Rift we get to see in the presentation that it has a slider switch for adjusting the convergence point so that different eye widths can enjoy the Rift as well as the spacious looking interior that's meant to allow users with glasses to wear the headset comfortably.

None of that is really surprising though, coming out of left field however – and garnering some tame applause – is the inclusion of a wireless Xbox One controller and dongle with each Rift. I can confirm that the pad is great, and newer models have ironed out the bumper issues the first models had so this is actually a rather pleasant surprise.

Also surprising is the announcement that the Rift will work natively with Windows 10. Xbox One to PC streaming was announced a while back and this will extend to the Rift; games streamed from Xbox One will be playable on the Rift in a virtual living room. While I personally feel that it looks a bit naff the living room will likely be possible to disable and the prospect of playing Halo on a VR device is very tempting but implementation (ie that terrible living room) is still vague and frankly, key to making it a worthwhile experience.

Jason Rubin takes the stage, jumping right in to another positive word association session by namedropping Star Wars. It all feels very much like an Apple presentation and feels very out of place coming from someone other than the late Steve Jobs. It's the games that are important though and EVE Valkyrie is one of the flagship titles for the Rift. Bombastic promises like “this will be the closest you'll come to being a real spaceship pilot” ring hollow in light of Star Citizen's existence but there's no denying that the Valkyrie gameplay demo is still very very cool.

David Adams of Gunfire Games (previously Vigil) also takes the stage to show off Chronos, a game that takes place over the course of the main character's life, with his agility and knowledge changing as he ages. Ted Price from Insomniac also gives us a look at a Rift exclusive called Edge Of Nowhere which is a third-person adventure game, it looks like the standard creepy stuff but a third-person VR game is intriguing at least. Other Rift games include Damaged Core, VR Sports Challenge, Esper, AirMech VR, and Lucky's Tale.

We'll see more of each of the above games and the Rift at E3 next week so stay tuned for more coverage of the tech and games as it happens.

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