Oculus’ two-handed motion controls let you point your virtual guns anywhere you want.
Virtual reality company Oculus VR revealed new details about its product lineup and partnerships on Thursday morning, as the Facebook-owned company inched closer to the Q1 2016 release of its flagship device, the Oculus Rift VR headset.
We finally have a workable virtual-reality platform, but plenty of obstacles are between us and a Star Trek-style holodeck.
If you reach out to touch a table, you’ll feel the molecules of that piece of furniture push against your hand. Do the same thing in virtual reality, and you’ll feel nothing. This is a problem — and it’s one of the few that Oculus VR says it has no idea how to solve.
The company held a keynote address as part of its annual Oculus Connect developers conference today, and it put on something of a parade of its top talent. Business-development leader Anna Sweet, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, and even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg all took the stage. But one of the more interesting points came when Oculus chef scientist Michael Abrash gave an in-depth speech about everything the company needs to do to go from where VR is today to where it should get to in the future.
Abrash talked about improving the visuals with a wider field of view. He talked about providing 3D audio. He even speculated about creating a chemical-based way to deliver various smells to Rift users.
For every problem, he posed a solution that is either possible today or one that the company sees a way to work to in the future. Well, he did that for every problem except one.
Abrash pointed out that no one is even working on a technology that will make it feel like your hand is touching a table where no table exists.
This is something I asked Palmer Luckey about in a conversation we had a few months ago. He told me — and Abrash’s talk today reiterates this point — that the company wants to solve every aspect of VR. He essentially wants Oculus working on a way to fool every one of your senses. When I asked him about touching an object and feeling like it exists, that led us to the aforementioned Star Trek holodecks. That sci-fi technology manifests protons that it can give mass to. When I posed that idea to Luckey as a joke, I was surprised that he had already considered the idea.
“Photons are a dead-end,” said Luckey then.
So while Oculus doesn’t know what will work to make objects feel real in VR, it has already scratched one idea off the list.
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Virtual reality company Oculus VR will partner with film studio 20th Century Fox to deliver movies to Oculus’ VR headsets, the two companies announced on Thursday.
Here are all the big announcements:
While Oculus is planning to release the amazing new Rift headset in Q1 2016, one of its biggest partners, Samsung, revealed it will release the consumer version of Gear VR in November for just $ 99. This will work with Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5.
Oculus SDK 1.0 is coming in November
Both Rift and Gear VR will need a lot of VR content, and Oculus is planning to update its software-development kit to help studios do exactly that. One of the big things this SDK will come with is direct drivers — this will enable the headset to work without having to fiddle with setting up the Rift as an external monitor.
This is a 1980s-style arcade simulator that enables you to feel like you’re playing Pac-Man at a stand-up machine.
Trailer for Rift games
Twitch, Hulu, Netflix, and more to support Oculus Video
Developers are working on plenty of games for virtual reality, but Oculus is expecting all kinds of content to make the leap to its Rift and Gear VR systems. That includes video services like Netflix and Hulu — the latter of which revealed it is planning to build VR-native videos.
“Oculus Ready” PCs
You’re gonna need a beefy PC to use an Oculus Rift, but you won’t need to guess if certain systems will work. Oculus announced it will work with hardware manufacturers like Dell, Alienware, and Asus on a line of “Oculus Ready” rigs that cost less than $ 1,000.
Microsoft is planning to make the Windows 10 Edition of its block-building game Minecraft compatible with Xbox One.
Oculus is working on its equivalent of Xbox Live and the App Store
Facebook, the owner of Oculus VR, has said that it won’t try to make a lot of money on the Rift hardware. That means it’s going to make the real cash on the app and software side. And we saw a little bit of that today when the company revealed how its platform will handle social features, analytics, and distribution.
Oculus Touch trailer and release date
The incredible Oculus Touch controllers, which brings your hands into VR, aren’t coming out until Q2 of 2016. But here’s a trailer to show what they can do.
Oculus chief executive officer Brendan Iribe said that every new platform needs a paint app, and Medium is what his company is calling its take on 3D drawing.
Epic reveals new Oculus Touch demo Bullet Train
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