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The Age of VR is almost here; the Oculus Rift has a release date and a new look!

By Salehuddin Bin Husin - on 7 May 2015, 10:52am

The Age of VR is almost here; the Oculus Rift has a release date and a new look!

 The final look of the Oculus Rift headset.

The race to release a mass market VR headset has nearly reached its boiling point. With the Valve HTC Vive coming out this year, the race to be the dominant VR headset is on. While the HTC Vive will be the only choice for a mass market VR headset this year, next year will see the release of not only Sony's Project Morpheus but also the Oculus Rift.

Originally revealed in 2012, the headset was once on Kickstarter to gain funds. It became one of the most successful Kickstarter projects ever, and has been one of the leading examples of how crowdfunding can work if done right. It used that momentum to garner support from investors and developers, actively courting the big names in the industry.

Oculus gained even more momentum when it managed to scoop up John Carmack in 2013. Carmack signing up with the company gave it more credibility as Carmack is one of the gaming industry's most respected figures, famous for his work on the Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake series. Last year, the company made even more waves as it was acquired by Facebook for a whopping 2 billion dollars. While many initially wondered if the acquisition would negatively affect the VR headset, the move actually seemed to stabilize the company further, giving them more time to refine on the headset.

The original Oculus Rift Development Kit (DK) 1, which was shipped to developers in late 2012.

The newer DK2 version of the Oculus Rift, which boasted improved hardware specifications, was shipped to developers in the middle of 2014.

Apart from Oculus saying that the Rift is coming next year, there really wasn't anything else of significance to note in the reveal. Surprisingly, the company has decided to keep final hardware specs and price a closely guarded secret from now, though they have promised more details starting from next week, where they'll unveil the Oculus Rift's final tech specs.

Oculus' announcement that the Rift is coming in Q1 2016 isn't exactly a surprise. The company has stated that it had no plans for a 2015 release when it was asked earlier this year at GDC, following Valve's revelation that their VR headset would reach the market later in the year. Sony also opted to pass up on a 2015 release, with their announcement of a planned early 2016 release.

Sony's Project Morpheus is the company's latest peripheral from its gaming division. It is for use exclusively with the PS4, though there are rumors floating around it might be Xperia compatible too, ala Samsung's Gear VR. The Oculus Rift on the other hand is currently only meant for PC users only, as the company views current consoles as being too limited for the Oculus Rift.

With the Oculus Rift also eyeing an early 2016 release date, it might now become a race between Sony and Oculus to see who can beat the other to the punch, despite their headsets serving entirely different segments of the gamer population. As for the final horse in the race, Razer's OSVR, there's hasn't been any significant news about it ever since it released its first developer's kit last month. Chances are, as the newest entry to the headset wars, the OSVR will be the last to market, with at least a late 2016 release.

Expect to hear more about all of the VR headsets this coming e3, which will be held from 16 to 18 June.

Source: Oculus


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