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Displays The Almighty Buck Games

Oculus Raises $75 Million To Make VR Headset 114

An anonymous reader writes "The company making the VR headset that has John Carmack and many others in the gaming industry excited has just received another $75 million in funding to make it happen. Netscape founder Marc Andreessen is joining the company's board, along with fellow investor Chris Dixon. Dixon had seen a prototype earlier this year, but it wasn't good enough to spark his interest. After recently seeing how the device has progressed since then, he was blown away, comparing it to early demos of the iPhone. 'The dimensions where you need to improve this kind of VR are latency, resolution and head tracking, and they have really nailed those things.' Now that the device is in good shape, Oculus is going to work on turning it into a product they can produce and ship for gamers."
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Oculus Raises $75 Million To Make VR Headset

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  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Friday December 13, 2013 @05:09PM (#45684171) Journal
    That's what killed the 3DS for me. Fine tune the latency, resolution, and head tracking all you want, but if I can't play it for more than twenty minutes, I'm not interested.
    • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Friday December 13, 2013 @05:15PM (#45684225)

      Being an adult ruined it for me.


      • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Friday December 13, 2013 @05:20PM (#45684273) Homepage Journal

        When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.
        --C.S. Lewis

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mythosaz ( 572040 )

          Un bon mot ne prouve rien.

          As a nerd, I game.

          The majority of nerds I see wielding 3DS systems seem to be the type wearing jean jackets with MLP and Poke' patches on 'em.

          My two young teen kids grew out of their assorted DS systems over the last two years. If you're still using a DS as an adult, you're likely just waxing nostalgic.

          • My nostalgia is PC games. It's just a better mobile gaming choice than a tablet or phone due to input technology.

            • I enjoy the whole, "not carrying a second device" and "not constantly needing a video game in my hand" as a part of growing up, and having a fallback of a tablet or phone as a mobile gaming choice.

              So, to each their own.

          • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

            Un bon mot ne prouve rien.

            Neither do anecdotes.

        • But video games aren't childish, they're pubescent. Every well adjusted adult has an deep abiding, ingrown fear of his pubescence.

      • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

        Being able to drop $300 on impulse on a toy you will probably screw with for a few months then never touch again is imo a big part of being an adult.

    • I wonder if there are backlight PWM issues. Maybe someone has once again figured that it improves motion response if you blink the backlight at some crappy 120-240Hz rate. And it does, but also gives a scorching head- and eye-ache to some people.
    • by XMark3 ( 2979399 )
      Haven't tried it myself - but if they actually do nail all the latency, resolution and head tracking issues, then the only unavoidable thing left would be the focal depth issue that all current 3D technologies suffer from (your eyes converge at a different depth than they are focusing on). This will remain a problem until true real-time holography becomes a reality, or at least some kind of advanced eye tracking to dynamically adjust focal depth to the point you're looking directly at, which is probably sup
      • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

        I find I get almost a form of sea-sickness (which others have dubbed "VR Sickness"). Logically it makes sense as your eyes are seeing stuff that doesn't line up with what your bodies balance mechanisms are telling it, and for whatever reason the response to that is to make you feel like shit.

        For me I find it hits me all of a sudden. Like I'm fine, then I get a weird kind of combo mild nausea and head pressure. The first time it got me I literally closed my eyes, took the thing off, and went to lay down for

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      I have one, and it definitely messes with your head.

      It's the same mechanism that causes sea sickness. Your eyes are out of whack with your sense of balance, and your body retaliates by making you feel like shit. After awhile you do get used to it, but I definitely see this as a major hurtle to overcome (how many non-geeks are willing to suffer what's been dubbed "VR sickness" for the month or so it takes to adjust).

    • by grumbel ( 592662 )

      It won't give you a headache like the 3DS, as the 3D is done via a display strapped to your head instead of lenticular lenses, shutter glasses, so the image that hits your eyes is always the proper one and there is no cross talk. The current devkit will however give you motion sickness as there is both latency between your head movement and the display updates as well as a lack of positional tracking, meaning there will be a small offset between where the image is and where it should be.

      However people who

    • That's what killed the 3DS for me. Fine tune the latency, resolution, and head tracking all you want, but if I can't play it for more than twenty minutes, I'm not interested.

      3DS is a totally different ballgame. The 3DS display has to be in exactly the right spot for the effect to work. It's easy for it to leave that sweetspot, which is possibly where your headache came from. Also, with the 3DS the display isn't all that's in your field of view. The rest of the world is there too. I can imagine that may cause problems for some users. With a head-mounted 3D display, both of those issues go away: the 3D effect will be robust and always present. No sweetspot issues. It will also b

  • Seriously, every bit of horizontal motion not matched by your head is going to make you feel a little sicker, and even a tiny bit of unmatched vertical motion will have you vomiting.

    It is incredible, but your body's reaction ain't.

    • The human mind is capable of adapting to viewing the world upside down []. Disjointing motion from vision certainly can cause nausea and disorientation, especially in some people, but most people will be able to adapt very quickly. That's assuming the problem even still exists when they release the Rift, and eliminating that problem is a lot easier when you have $75 million to play with.

    • Your head, maybe. Mine does just fine. I used to play Early VR games in the mid 90's. Other people puked, but not me.

      I can only assume this is because my ancestors were actually time travelers from a future where wearing badly tuned VR headsets is an essential skill of survival if one wishes to reproduce.

      Unfortunately, it seems wearing a VR headset has just the opposite affect in this day and age.

    • by MRe_nl ( 306212 )

      I worked with Jason Lanier's VPL stuff in the 80's and even then the amount of people that got motion sickness was negligible. But we where "flying" over and through wire-models so the immersion was less than complete. And the "helmet" weighed 12 kilo's/ 30 pounds iirc.

  • I Thought Oculus was an album by Paul Speer

  • I can't wait til this comes out with Star Citizen. We are talking nerd heaven........
  • I'm surprised it costs this much to bring to market. Oculus Rift first fundraiser on kickstarter was targeted to raise $250,000. I'm not judging; rather, it is revealing how much more it costs to bring something to market than develop a working prototype.
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday December 13, 2013 @05:46PM (#45684545)
    The new next-gen consoles are all a bit lackluster, if you ask me. And Oculus Rift, though probably usable with existing games and GPUs, would really benefit with a big raft of new games and hardware made just for it. Sony, or Microsoft, or Nintendo, should have partnered with Oculus Rift and built their new generation of consoles around it.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm willing to bet Microsoft would buy you outright (see: Bungie), Nintendo would want an exclusive license and Sony would just steal it and release their own version of it later.

      • Venture-capital funds aren't exactly cheap either.
      • I find your post amusingly insightfully funny. Get some mod points.

      • I'm willing to bet Microsoft would buy you outright (see: Bungie), Nintendo would want an exclusive license and Sony would just steal it and release their own version of it later.

        You forgot Apple: they'll wait a few years and release one "done right".

    • You forgetting what console gaming is all about. It's the venue. On a couch comfortable, in front of a TV, and with friends and family. Even by yourself, most console gamers are pretty casual about the whole experience. If anything, Oculus will be a huge hit for PC gamers. Currently however, the technology looks too anti-social with other people around.

    • Oh well, I guess that just leaves the PC master race to take advantage of it!

  • How about for work? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PeterM from Berkeley ( 15510 ) <petermardahl@yaO ... inus threevowels> on Friday December 13, 2013 @06:03PM (#45684713) Journal

    Forget about gaming, how about a HUGE virtual desktop for work?


    • Why, so my boss can dump more work on me? No thank you.

    • by Alejux ( 2800513 )
      Virtual desktops will be amazing for work and remote collaboration. The problem is, we probably won't see anything like that in the first version due to the low resolution. We would need at least 4K in order to allow decent readable texts in a virtual desktop. Maybe 3 or 4 years from now. I'm sure it will be a killer application, having dozens of floating monitors of various sizes for you to work with.
    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      Check the resolution of the display.

      It may cover your full field of view, but it's pixel count sucks. There is just no excuse for that in the day of 5" retina displays and such.

      • Excuse? I dunno, having production runs spoken for by other companies and until recently having an order of magnitude less cash to work with are pretty good excuses. High DPI displays haven't been around very long yet, and it took Apple to kick the display manufacturers in the ass to make it happen. They were perfectly happy making low res displays with really nice yields. Apple demanded higher res and you can bet the yield on them is noticeably lower. So they're harder to make, and meanwhile Apple wan

    • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      We would have to wait and see for side effects for 12 hours work sessions I sometimes spend in front my 3 22 inches flat screens.

      For extended periods of time like these, I am not sure yet how my head would feel after with a virtual desktop. Think about people complaining about getting headaches watching 3D movies for example.

      The concept sure sounds great although.

  • The next step is to work on proper surround sound for the helmet:

    Embed high quality speakers into the helmet so that they are positioned spherically to the head, and encode all software materials with Open Source Ambisonics [] in full-sphere sound field mode. Don't bother with the limitations and closed source nature of DTS or Dolby surround systems as they are only suited to sound fields that involve a central screen or stage.

    After that a chair with integrated joysticks, pedals, a bass shaker, back massager,

  • Jeri Ellsworth [] is taking an interesting device to manufacturing in the very near future. It does both VR and AR... and uses quite a novel approach. It can both project images into the real world, or reflect them back into the eye. She raised over 1M (their kickstarter aimed for $600,000). Apparently they've already demoed it at a couple of maker faires and people lined up for hours to give it a try... considering how yawn-worthy most 3d solutions are, that's quite a rap.

I've got a bad feeling about this.