Gizmag is on the ground at Dogpatch Studios in San Francisco, where Oculus is showing off the final consumer version of its Rift virtual reality headset. The company has also announced a new partnership with Microsoft, new titles heading to the VR device, and a new pair of controllers called Oculus Touch.
It's been a long and intriguing journey for the device since the Oculus Rift was born as a Kickstarter project back in the summer of 2012. Since then the profile and mass appeal of virtual reality has grown tremendously – so much so that Facebook decided to acquire Oculus for a cool US$2 billion last year.
The newly unveiled consumer version of the Rift, on sale in Q1 2016, is a light and compact upgrade on earlier development kits. It comes with integrated headphones, an external sensor that sits on your desk to track head movement, and a new dial to adjust the horizontal distance between your eyes.
It looks like a comfortable, polished piece of kit, but we'll have to wait for E3 next week to see what the experience of wearing it is like (our best guess is "an even more polished version of the Crescent Bay prototype"). Oculus is still staying quiet on a specific release date and a specific price, but with pre-orders set to start later this year, we should know more at least by then.
As for the Oculus Touch (below), it resembles a gamepad chopped in two, with one piece for each hand. These controllers are going to let Oculus wearers reach out into VR space, interacting with objects and forming gestures in mid-air – which should only accentuate virtual reality's level of immersion.
Speaking of games, developer partners were on hand to highlight a couple of titles coming to the Oculus Rift in time for its launch, including EVE Valkyrie. There was also time to announce a partnership with Microsoft – the retail Rift is going to include an Xbox One controller and have integrated Windows 10 compatibility at launch. Xbox One to Windows 10 streaming will also be Rift compatible, making Oculus a bit more of a direct Project Morpheus rival than some imagined.
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