Last week, we got our first close up look at the new Oculus Rift — the long-awaited consumer-facing virtual reality headset, slated to hit the market in Q1 of 2016.
Oculus held a press event in San Francisco, California, and I braved a hoard of croissant-fed tech journalists just to tell you about it.
Here are 4 things you should know about the new Oculus Rift.
First up, Oculus is partnering with Microsoft. That means Rifts will work natively with Windows 10, and be able to stream Xbox One games, and will ship with an Xbox One controller. It's a good move for Oculus as far as content and audience go. But also, we've learned that Microsoft is also partnering with Valve, and of course, they've got their AR headset Hololens. So, maybe it's a new age for Microsoft.
Second, speaking of that Xbox One controller, inputs were a big question going into the event — what Oculus saved for the end was the introduction of Oculus Touch, which is a pair of tracked hand controllers that include haptics. The prototypes are called Half Moon, which is precious, and they do all kinds of things like deliver low-latency hand presence, and gesture and finger pose recognition. That seemed to appease the folks who were struck with a certain ennui at the thought of using a plane old Xbox One controller.
Third, Oculus is putting 10 million dollars toward indie game development. That sounds like a lot of money, and it makes sense that Oculus would want to help make sure that there's lots of content available on the Rift, but one analyst we talked to said that in the game development space, 10 million really isn't that much.
And fourth, the new Rift is supposed to be relatively easy to use — they say you can put it on like a baseball cap. They say, it'll work right out of the box. You can even keep your glasses on to use it. It'll be lightweight, won't pull on your face, and convection, according to founder Palmer Luckey, will keep the lenses from fogging up. Obviously, it's not available yet so we haven't tried it — but considering what a pain the most recent developer kits could be — man. You sure hope it's plug and play.
Erin Carson has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Erin Carson is a Staff Reporter for CNET and a former Multimedia Editor for TechRepublic.