The Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus has unveiled the full Oculus Rift headset, which will come with an Xbox One controller and is due to go on sale to consumers next year.
The virtual reality headset will be able to stream Xbox One games from the console, although Oculus also revealed that it is working on its own handheld controller system called Oculus Touch. Touch will be able to recognise hand gestures and will allow people to interact with virtual objects, consisting of two wireless handheld controllers fitted with buttons, joypads and sensors.
“Oculus Rift is going to deliver the magic of presence,” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said at a press event in San Francisco on Thursday. “This isn’t science fiction. This is reality and it’s happening today.”
The Rift headset will be available to consumers in the first quarter of 2016 and it will compete with other rival headsets such as Sony’s Morpheus and HTC’s Vive. Oculus has yet to reveal how much it will cost, but Iribe said it will be at an “affordable price”.
Rift buyers will be able to hold the headset with one hand, which will have a removable front capable of accommodating glasses. The ergonomics have been refined and the headset has been slimmed down and wrapped in fabric so that it’s more comfortable for people to hold and wear. You will, said Iribe, be happy to toss it on like a baseball cap.
Jason Rubin, head of Oculus Studios, introduced some early titles designed for the Rift, including Eve Valkyrie, a first-person shooting game which developer Hilmar Veigar Pétursson described as “the closest thing you're going to get to being a real space fighter pilot”, and role-playing game Chronos, which involves a young man on a quest who has to defeat a dragon and enter a labyrinth that opens only once a year.
The focus on games is clear with the debut of Oculus Touch and the preview of upcoming titles for the headset, but it’s still far from achieving Zuckerberg’s vision of becoming a mainstream computing platform.
The Rift was bought by Facebook for $2bn in 2014 after it started off as a crowdfunded Kickstarter project that raised $2.4m – more than nine times the initial funding target it asked for.