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Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2 Ready For Pre-Order Today 100

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hiro-protaganist dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today at GDC Oculus has revealed the second developer kit of their virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift DK2. The new unit has a 1080p OLED screen with low-persistence capabilities, positional tracking thanks to an IR LED array and compatible camera, and a bunch of other improvements over the DK1. Pre-orders start today for $350 and are expected to ship in July." The new model also eliminates the control box and adds a powered USB port. The experience is much better than the DK1 model according to the article: "The image is substantially sharper in the DK2 when moving your head, mostly thanks to low-persistence. I swear I could feel the difference between the DK1 and DK2 on my eyes. It’s hard to describe, but where the DK1 feels like looking through binoculars into another world, the DK2 feels like sticking your head out the window into another world. That’s not to say that the field of view is higher, but there’s something far more comfortable about using the DK2."
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Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2 Ready For Pre-Order Today

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  • They're selling another devkit. That's nice, but if the wind goes out of the VR sails before a production model hits the market, Oculus loses.

    • Why would the wind go out of the sails? That seems like saying 25 years ago, "if we have yet another test version of a cell phone people will eventually not want them." I honestly don't understand your concern.
      • Because, entertainment, like computers, aren't a linear path with "start" on one end, progress in the middle, and "ideal" at the end. Trends can shape markets. Being beaten to the punch by similar ideas that aren't the same can, and does happen.

        My concern is only specifically for oculus VR, the company. I'm not worried that games are just going to stop being fun. That already happened when EA bought all the fun companies.

      • Why would the wind go out of the sails?

        Because the "wind in the sails" probably isn't as strong as you think. My first job out of college was working with VR technologies. I worked some with headsets myself about 10 years ago. While headsets like this are cool, the use cases for them are pretty darn limited, even allowing for the improvements in the state of the art since I worked with them. It's a relatively expensive specialty item, people historically do not like wearing headsets for entertainment (see 3D TV), there is relatively little s

        • , even allowing for the improvements in the state of the art since I worked with them

          Which haven't been that much. I've used the Oculus. I also remember the VR glasses that CompUSA had for sale (was Descent the game they used to show off?), as well as some other VR tech that never got off the ground. The Oculus is clearly better, but it wasn't unusable technology before. Hell, the VirtualBoy is roundly criticized, but it technically functioned just fine.

        • Don't underestimate the market power of geeks playing games - they're the primary motivator for 3D video cards, and arguably one of the larger driving forces behind high-power CPUs as well.

          As for the expense - the Rift folks are holding pretty steady about targetting the $200-$400 price range - about the price of a midrange 3D video card or SSD, and I think most gamers would agree that a VR helmet would bring far more to the table. Not to mention that a good VR helmet should outlast at least a couple 3D ca

          • Don't underestimate the market power of geeks playing games - they're the primary motivator for 3D video cards, and arguably one of the larger driving forces behind high-power CPUs as well.

            The difference is that eventually the technology in high powered CPUs make their way into middle and low end applications. There is no low end application here. A secretary is never going to use one of these things. The only likely users are techies and early-adopter types. I could see a small business in these things for gamers and marketing and some other niche uses but I really don't see full immersion VR headsets becoming a mainstream technology. Augmented reality on the other hand has very obvious

            • by Jedi Alec (258881)

              The only likely users are techies and early-adopter types. I could see a small business in these things for gamers and marketing and some other niche uses but I really don't see full immersion VR headsets becoming a mainstream technology.

              Not sure I'd qualify the porn industry as niche, but if they pick up on this, and I reckon they will, that might certainly push sales big-time.

            • by Jeremi (14640)

              There is no low end application here. A secretary is never going to use one of these things.

              A secretary is never going to use an XBox either, and yet they manage to sell plenty of them.

              The only likely users are techies and early-adopter types.

              Maybe -- it will depend entirely on how compelling the experience is. If it's seen as boring, or nauseating, or socially isolating, then you'll be proven right. OTOH, if it's really fun, there's no reason the technology won't spread as the technology matures and prices decrease.

              • A secretary is never going to use an XBox either, and yet they manage to sell plenty of them.

                Do you seriously think this think is going to sell even close to the XBox numbers? Microsoft sold 3 million xbox ones in 2013. Frankly if they sell even a tenth of that I'll be very impressed. The xbox is a device with FAR more mass market appeal. Don't get me wrong, I hope they do well, but based on my own experience with the technology I'm not holding my breath. They're selling this thing at a price point that has to have fairly tight margins. I run a contract assembly company and I've got a moderat

                • by Immerman (2627577)

                  >I've used headsets like this.

                  I don't believe you. When has a headset like this existed before? There are cheap crappy consumer headsets, most of which are little more than low-resolution video glasses. And there are tens-of-thousands-of-dollars professional-oriented models for various visualization and simulation purposes. And neither had any selection of high-end games available for them. The VFX1 is the only serious gaming-oriented VR helmet I can think of, and it was garbage in comparison.

                  • by sjbe (173966)

                    I don't believe you. When has a headset like this existed before?

                    Believe whatever you want. I've had the good fortune of working with VR technology for a living for a number of years earlier in my career and I've had a few opportunities to use some really high end (for the time) gear. The Occulus is an incremental (though very nice) improvement over what has existed for well over a decade. I used VR headsets as far back as the 90s. I also worked with 3D glasses, some very expensive Silicon Graphics computers and various other immersive VR technology like CAVE systems

                    • by Urza9814 (883915)

                      I don't game. I can't think of a single good use for this.

                      But for $300? Shit I'm thinking of buying one anyway!

                      I'm mostly curious about the possibility of using it for some very heavily augmented reality...the tech that eventually ends up making that kind of thing mainstream will probably *look* more like Google Glass, but much of the internals and software will probably come from systems like the Rift.

                    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
                      So... the answer to when you used a system like the Occulus was never.

                      Thanks for clearning that up, nice try saving your ass with a tl;dr.

            • by MBGMorden (803437)

              For games - maybe not, but perhaps non-interactive content like many people already watch will be adapted to this.

              Its not a holodeck - there's no tactile feedback, but I can a future where one could watch the superbowl as if they're standing on the field with the players. Or similar things for movies. Basically like being a "ghost" - you're there, and you observe, but you can't interact.

              Your comment kinda reminds me of something my brother said back in the mid-late 90's. I had a DVD drive on my computer

          • by Kjella (173770)

            As for the expense - the Rift folks are holding pretty steady about targetting the $200-$400 price range - about the price of a midrange 3D video card or SSD, and I think most gamers would agree that a VR helmet would bring far more to the table.

            When you're actually wearing the helmet maybe but I don't see myself using a VR helmet nearly as much as my graphics card or my SSD. Yes, you can look around with a VR helmet but you can't actually move like in a VR world I still need to be glued to my chair. Anything else would take too much space, cost and it's too exhaustive to game standing up. It'll be a gimmick for some kinds of games just like IMAX movies are, but many games won't have any benefit.

            • by Immerman (2627577)

              I assume you've never used head-tracking in flight simulator or racing games - the increase in immersion and situational awareness is immense, enough so that it makes playing without it almost painful in comparison. And that's with nonlinear head tracking where you still have to keep your eyes on the non-moving screen and have no depth perception. I'm looking forward to the day I can play Civilization, and better still various real-time strategy games, while floating godlike over the world

              As for moving in

            • by Jmc23 (2353706)
              Dude, if you have problems standing up you REALLY need to get out of that chair!!!

              Gasp, some of us are capable of being active standing up all day long!

          • by holysin (549880)

            Don't underestimate the market power of geeks playing games

            FWIW, some of us non game playing geeks are also *really* looking forward to the Rift primarily for watching movies on our HTPC... $300-400 (a head) is not expensive to movie geeks wanting the best experience... Hell, I'm praying the rift is finally released before I give in and buy another projector to replace my 7 year old one. I'm not sure if the rift will beable to do what I want it to, but I'm hopeful. And at the cost of 1 lamp (I replace them each year with my viewership on projectorss) it w

        • There are a fair number of geeks who are interested in this sort of thing for playing games but that's about where the consumer interest ends. The limitations are probably less in the technological feasibility than in the lack of a killer use case.

          My opinion VR is the poster child of the technology having failed for being ahead of its time. Processing power and display technology simply has not existed at a quality and price anyone was willing to pay until very recently.

          Even if only compelling use case is playing games that market is still huge. When I can go on new egg and purchase 1000 watt PSUs, 3-way SLI GPUs with thousands of cores each, sub MS ultra polling keyboards, 10 trillion DPI mice rated for use inch above the mouse pad, water cooling

        • by grumbel (592662)

          Because the "wind in the sails" probably isn't as strong as you think.

          Sony is now building their own VR headset for the PS4 with Project Morpheus, Valve already has VR support build into Steam, plenty of games started adding VR support and in the last year more virtual reality demos got produced then in the previous 20 years. Hard to tell how long the wind it will hold, but it's orders of magnitude stronger then what we had 20 years ago. It's also not limited to games, the current DevKit1, with all it's problems, is already used in a few non-game instalations [oculusvr.com], virtual fashion

          • I just ordered mine.

            I also still have a running VFX-1, though it's dusty as hell.

            We'll see how well the nausea is fixed.

            I'd note that the VFX-1, running on a 1 GHz processor with games written for a 200MHz processor already had very low persistence (60Hz display refresh, same as the new OR, but horrid resolution) and decent head tracking and was still plenty pukey. Descent 2 was a guaranteed projectile vomit if you tried to tough it out. My take at the time was that games that left up/up were much be

            • by grumbel (592662)

              already had very low persistence (60Hz display refresh, same as the new OR, but horrid resolution)

              "Persistence" in this case doesn't just mean a higher refresh rate, but the time the image is on the display. With a classical LCD the image is on the display all the time, that's ok when you read text on a monitor, however for VR this leads to artifacts. When the image is on all the time and you move your head your eyes will receive an incorrect image until the next frame shows up, this leads to a lot of blurring and judder. With low persistence on the other side a frame is just flashed for a short amount

            • by SuperDre (982372)
              I also just ordered mine.. And I also have a VFX-1, and a VR920, but the VFX-1 is far superior IMHO to the VR920 which really has a crap tracking (with every update it even got worse, like the tracking was hardcoded for the US (and I'm on the other side), ofcourse it did have better displays, but due to the crap tracking the VFX-1 is still number one.. Especially when it comes to comfort, it sits so easy on your head, and with the flip-up vizor it's great for sitting behind your desk..
      • Why would the wind go out of the sails?

        Lack of marketability - just because you can get a handful of obsessive nerds, er, I mean "enthusiasts," to buy your non-production, R&D model, doesn't mean it's something the public at large is going to want or need. When I was a kid and first saw a WebTV, I figured they would sell like hotcakes; but they didn't.

        That seems like saying 25 years ago, "if we have yet another test version of a cell phone people will eventually not want them."

        25 years ago, companies didn't outsource R&D to the general public.

      • by Zocalo (252965)
        I don't think it's going to be quite the VR nirvana that some people are expecting, at least not for some of the more involved games that would benefit the most from VR - simpler console based stuff will be fine, although I'd expect there to be a similar level of bandwagon jumping crap that we had when the first "Multimedia PCs" were all the rage. Having a device like the Oculus Rift strapped in front of your eyes is a double edged sword; yes, you are totally immersed in the virtual environment, but you a
    • I think its ok that they improve it before selling it. I remember the VR fad in the 90s. The helmets were too expensive, they worked with next to no software, and they were nausea inducing. If they can fix all of that, which I doubt, they have a win. I did try the Occulus Rift a couple of weeks back and it was better than I expected but it wasn't comfortable to use for extended periods.

      • Yeah, it needs to get to the point where people are arguing about whether its good enough. Once that happens, you know you're set, because iPads aren't good enough, but people buy the hell out of them.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          The difference between the iPad and the Oculus Rift is that marketing and hype can convince people that the iPad is good, because it doesn't make you feel physically sick. If the Oculus Rift makes you feel physically sick, there is not amount of marketing that will make people want it. The iPad may be functionally crippled (unable to read from shared folders, for example) ,and miss out on basic hardware features like an SD card slot (and charging 5x the going rate for built in memory), but at least it doe
          • "The Oculus Rift makes you feel 80% less physically sick than the competition"

          • by Thud457 (234763)
            Users experiencing minor projectile vomiting are wearing it wrong.

            iEye* [wikimedia.org] user?
            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              This, or the computer it's attached to isn't fast enough, causing too much lag. From what I've heard, it requires quite a substantial computer to get the lag low enough. I'm sure the day it's released, a bunch of people with old PCs are going to run out and buy it, expecting it to work, feel sick, and it will tarnish the reputation of the product. This is probably why Sony has a better chance with a VR headset for the PS4. Because they'll be able to control how well it performs. With computers it's kind o
          • by mobby_6kl (668092)

            The iPad does make me physically sick!

    • I have to imagine that they're shooting for an October/November release. It would be at the top of a a million people's Christmas lists, and the number of current and future competitors is growing quickly.

      With that said, they need to get it right with the first consumer model. The first devkit version made me nauseous immediately.

    • by EdZ (755139)
      You even have to active tick a very explicit "I am a developer. I know this is a development kit. I am not an end consumer" checkbox before the checkout will work. I doubt that many people not familiar with VR development are going to order one by mistake.
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      You need to sell a devkit that's feature-complete compared to the production model, so they're going to have to release this at some point before the actual finished product.

      • by Immerman (2627577)

        Very true. There will undoubtably be some last-minute work for many of the "launch day" games to support positional tracking. At the very least positional tracking adds some major considerations with regard to not being able to stick your head through solid objects in the gameworld - no more option of just assuming your player character is a fixed-radius cylinder for collision purposes. Well, I suppose you could only allow head motion up to the limits of that cylinder - that should still at least add a l

  • The day after Sony announces its VR project.

    • by Dagger2 (1177377)

      They were both announced at the same games conference.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @12:11PM (#46524871)

    Just a heads up,

    If you plan to order, disable ClickToFlash (or other flash blockers). I was able to get through the order form but on the order confirmation screen, the agreement text was blank, and there was no button to confirm the order... then enabling flash for the site led to some cryptic error that said my order wasn't complete (although it seems it was complete enough to charge my card).

    • Well, sounds like you're going to have to go back in time, and use a phone or email to settle this. As long as you're in the stone age, could you bring us all some mammoth steaks?

      • Very prophetic. Order completion did not work, re-ordering did not work because my card claimed it had a duplciate transaction. Yet my order status page shows no sign of any order...

        So the emails begin.

    • by EdZ (755139)
      Tick the blank checkbox, then press the orange line (which the checkbox enabled as an 'complete order' button). The site is borked, but I successfully got an order confirmation, so if you didn't then your order likely has not completed.
      • Odd, I tried the checkbox and orange line (figuring there was supposed to be a button) but nothing happened for me. Only whitelisting the site worked - but since I had started the order before it only "worked" in the sense that I could press the button, which led to an error and not a complete order. I also cannot submit a new order, so it's up to support now to figure out what the backend has actually done.

  • What's a first version kit go for second hand nowadays? I'm planning to put mine on Craigslist in anticipation of getting V2 in July.

    • I'd imagine the price would drop a lot now that the second dev kit is near at hand, since the first dev kit is not going to be as useful in development that targets the final commercial product.

      You might be better off donating the kit to a school or some other group and then writing off the value of the kit.

    • Maybe it'll be a collector's item someday.

  • The 'sticking your head into another world' idea made me think of a cool app. It wouldn't be a long immersive experience, but somebody should code up a simulation of being beheaded with a guillotine. Your view would ''roll' after the head separating event.

    My other comment is, as any black lab could advise you, when you stick your head out into this other world, make sure traffic coming the other way doesn't shear it off.

    • You do know it's been done, right? http://laughingsquid.com/disunion-an-immersive-guillotine-simulator-for-the-oculus-rift-virtual-reality-headset/

  • by Lumpy (12016)

    Most of the problem is latency. and there are no numbers telling us what the difference is.
    Is is 5ms now so all potential sickness problems are gone?? I'm betting they have the same latency which will still cause the "sick" problems the old version has.

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      It was several hours ago that I watched it, but I'm pretty sure the video said the old version had something like 40-50ms latency, whereas the new on brings it down to ~30ms, with >20ms being the target. As far as the physical screen update latency (ghosting), I believe they said the shift to an OLED screen has almost completely eliminated it.

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        They need to get a lot lower than 20ms. 20 will still induce problems after time. Last time I tried the rift it was hugely noticable and bad. My wife almost started puking right away, But she get's car sick easy....

  • by JMZero (449047) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @03:46PM (#46526937) Homepage

    I don't think it's dangerous or stupid. I'm willing to put something funny looking on my head. I don't care if it's a bit awkward or unpolished, or even if it doesn't work well for extended play (I don't have time for extended play usually anyway).

    This is cool tech, and I'm excited for it. I hope it catches on. There was a time when Slashdot would mostly be with me on this. Now new tech is pretty much universally turded on.

    That said, I'm much less sanguine about Sony's prospects. It feels like the Move before it, kind of a half-hearted effort to grab onto a trend. The Oculus people (and Valve) seem to be taking development much more seriously, and focusing on the right things to optimize the experience. They're gamers eating their own dogfood, and they like it enough that they've repeatedly doubled down.

    Once it's released and gets some good software support, I think it's going to be something special.

    • by ozgood (873183)
      I'm with you on this one. This is cool tech. What is up with all the haters? There was a story the other week about 1Gb/s bandwidth, and many posters wrote that they can't see any use for that kind of speed. What is this site coming to? What is this world coming to? My god!
    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.
    • by msobkow (48369)

      What excites me is this is the first VR headset/device I've ever read about to deliver what I consider to be a usable resolution.

      They've caught my interest now.

  • If you get one but are not a developer, is there anything you can enjoy with it yet?

  • Does this prototype work for those who need glasses?

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