By: Kate Van Druff
The Oculus Rift VR headset has been a long time coming. Founded by Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe, Oculus VR launched a Kickstarter campaign during the summer of 2012 to bring to life a versatile virtual reality head-mounted display for serious gamers. The idea of Oculus Rift captured the attention of the masses and garnered $10 million for its development in those early days, with parent company Facebook purchasing Oculus VR in March 2014. As of March 28, 2016, the fruits of the company’s labor have now, finally, come to market.
Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg recently addressed the release of Oculus in a video on Facebook, illustrating key features and touting the “trippy experience” of what VR actually does. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you’re really there as with normal video game computing, he says you find yourself trying to convince yourself that you aren’t actually there and that it’s not a real thing. And, isn’t that the true beauty of virtual reality?
Now, onto the Oculus Rift… here are a few things you should know about it.
- What’s in the Box: The Oculus Rift kit includes a headset with integrated mic and headphones, Oculus Remote, Oculus Sensor, Xbox One Wireless Controller (plus two AA batteries, an adapter, and an extender), all required connection cords, and a special audio tool to remove or add back the headphones. The game Lucky’s Tale is also included with every Rift purchase.
- It’s not cheap. Oculus Rift sells for $599, and…
- You’ll need a bangin’ PC. Depending on your current system, you may need to upgrade. Amazon, Best Buy, and others are currently selling computer + Oculus Rift bundles. The recommended specifications as per the Oculus website are:
- NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
- Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- 8GB+ RAM
- Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- 2x USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer
- You’re tethered. Oculus Rift requires a single cable to connect to your PC and mainly keeps you in your chair, as much as you’d rather be more actively playing out your moves in a virtual world.
- The design is sleek with plenty of thoughtful features. Oculus Rift offers minimalist beauty with black styling and a rubberized carrying case that just barely contains the excitement. Sweet 3D audio, combined total resolution of 2160 x 1200, and full 360 degree perspective make gaming situations even more realistic.
- Oculus Rift launches without hand-tracked controllers. But don’t let that deter you, at least not for good. Oculus’ Touch controls are set to launch later this year, bringing your hands into the virtual world. A selection of new games is set to launch alongside the controls as well.
- The game lineup for Rift is 30-strong and growing. So be sure to set aside some play money for a few game selections. See the full list at launch here and stay tuned for many more games that will be released in the coming months.
- If you can’t find a game you like, you can just build it. Well, if the dev kit isn’t sold out. The DK2 Development Kit 2 empowers developers to build exciting games with positional tracking and an integrated latency tester.
- Social VR makes it even more real. That social aspect may just be the reason why Facebook acquired Oculus VR in the first place, as the Rift allows you to bring along friends on your game time adventures.
So there you have it. A cutting-edge gaming system reserved for serious, elite gamers with time to play and money to burn. Featuring realistic visual and audio effects, 30 current game options, and endless possibilities for creation of new games, Oculus Rift crafts its own shiny new dimension of reality. VR is everything we hoped (and expected) it would be, and the Oculus Rift delivers an exciting experience in full 360-degree enjoyment. Welcome to the future.