The darling of the tech industry, Oculus, was bought by Facebook and that gave it the needed boost to be able to announce the release of their consumer RIFT model. This virtual reality headset has been featured at several trade shows but applications for it were missing. A surprise move on the part of advertising for Oculus and Facebook to announce a partnership with Microsoft through their Xbox has solved that issue.
Xbox is also on the move with heavy marketing, making 2016 a year that Microsoft dominates
The recent E3 press conferences have all but solely focused on the release of Halo 5. This is the game updated that could revive the Xbox and make Microsoft a relevant name in entertainment products again. Halo 5 and the new Xbox releases are generating enough notice on their own with what it could mean for home entertainment that when you add in the Oculus partnership announcement – the potential for the future of home gaming becomes exciting.
RIFT may be much more than a headset
Right now, Oculus RIFT is a VR headset that uses a conventional controller for Xbox games. Brendan Iribe is firm on that fact that a new joystick controller and motion control camera detector will be in place by the time RIFT is released for Xbox. Both of these could transform the VR experience from simulated 3D to near total immersion in a game. The motion cameras are used to translate the angle and motion of your body into the game so the game environment responds, creating the impression of total immersion. The joystick controllers that Oculus is currently developing will do away with buttons and use a joystick with rings to make hand control more natural.
What this could mean for games
No one is talking about business or social application of the RIFT now, but they are sure to come. Right now the focus is on establishing Microsoft and Oculus as the kings of the home entertainment venue. The RIFT could be what pulls it off, if they can work out the control issues so that there is a full range of game experience offered, not just Halo styled games.
It’s coming soon, so save up now
One of the initial pushes of the home entertainment VR movement was to deliver headsets that were affordable for the average consumer. On its first release, it is looking like just the RIFT headset is going to cost $1500 with an Xbox bundle. While first releases are always more expensive, the RIFT is in danger of becoming the next Google Glass if Iribe can’t find a way to lower that price. The reality is still months away, but you can bet that first adopters are racing to try and insure they get the Xbox RIFT as soon as it is released.