If you roll the clocks back to July, word got out that the guys behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset were very interested in next generation smartphones over consoles, largely due to how quickly portable electronics are advancing compared to the console cycle which settles in with nearly a decade between hardware refreshes. It makes sense, as new iPhones are released yearly while the Xbox 360 which launched back in 2005 is only just now being replaced.

OculusRift1

During his keynote at the GamesBeat 2013 conference, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe revealed that the iOS Android version of the Oculus Rift is going to launch along side, or as closely as possible, to the PC version. This is huge as the Oculus Rift is, in a totally non-hyperbolic sense, going to change everything. It's hard to imagine if you haven't tried one, but the Oculus Rift provides a virtual reality experience that is so immersive it's scary.

If you're interested in checking one out before the consumer version launches (Which still has a nebulous future release date.) check out this Google map. It's filled with people who have dev units willing to give people a test drive. Alternatively, check out this video from Tested which is the best demonstration I've seen aside from trying it yourself... Or watch the official video below:

The future is going to be awesome.

UPDATE: Well, VentureBeat has what seems to be the mixup of the century in that the mobile version of the Oculus Rift is actually for Android and not iOS. Oops! *sigh*

[via Venture Beat]

  • nini

    I smell "gimmick" all over this but I hope I can be proven wrong.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      You are wrong. Try one. Look up a unit on that map I linked or read literally any review anywhere on the development kit.

      • nini

        Only the Sith deal in absolutes, Eli. I'll wait and see, not that I don't believe you.

      • sbnewsom

        A gimmick isn't something a whole industry supports and develops for...

      • Jake7905

        Have you seen 3d TV?

      • JCat

        Hey, I love my LG 3-D TV. No other way to watch Pixar films!

      • klepp0906

        Yep. It's awesome. Point?

      • hourglass

        You may call me Darth Hourglass.

      • LeeDot

        Did you just quote one of the 'new' Star Wars films as part of your argument that you sense something is a gimmick? Wow..

      • TheBitPilot

        They weren't gimmicks, they simply weren't as good as the originals. Angry Birds Star Wars, now that's a gimmick.

      • LeeDot

        This is definitely one of those topics that might as well be discussing religion so I'm totally ok with just saying that we disagree and leave it at that but in my opinion the second trilogy was made purely to attract business / make money after Lucas had run out of ways to milk the original series with remakes / releases which fits pretty neatly with the definition of a gimmick.

      • Jay G

        I think that it will have the same problem that 3D always has, a lot of people can't use the product because it hurts their eyes, makes them dizzy/headaches, and seriously, who would want to wear this for extended periods of time? Hell, I can hardly stand to wear headphones for more than hour.
        This seems like a great product, but then again, they looked promising in the 90's too...

      • sbnewsom

        That is why you should actually learn about the oculus and not judge it with ignorance like your post does.

      • Jay G

        I think you should get your virtual head out of your virtual ass and stop implying that I'm ignorant of it just because I take a different view of the situation. Unlike you, I am factoring in human nature into the chances of success of a product like this. Just because you can use it, doesn't mean everyone can...or will. As long as wearing something like this makes the wearer feel silly or self-conscious, or it makes them physically uncomfortable, it's never going to hit mass market appeal, and without that, developers won't continue to support it in the long term, and money to develop better versions of the hardware aren't going to keep rolling in.

      • totallymichael

        I think he was mainly referring to your concern about it hurting your eyes. It's a very common misconception, but it's been answered months and months ago. The lenses in the Rift set your focal point to infinity which is their natural resting position. This completely eliminates eye strain and is actually more comfortable than staring at a tv from your couch. Or even a movie theater screen. This also means that the 3d is more natural than anything you'd see in a theater. Things that are miles away truly look miles away. The depth and scale with the Rift is almost as perfect as what you'd see in the real world.

      • grammatonfeather

        Although you do raise valid points about the likely negative reactions a percentage of people will have, this is the best technology currently for immersing someone in a virtual world. The Star Trek holo deck isn't going to happen in our lifetime but giving someone a compact head mounted device that tracks precisely their head movement and recreates a 360 degree sphere is very powerful. Some people simply dismiss it as a gimmick but it's about as far removed from gimmick as you can get. A head mounted display gives you a true sense of scale of imagery you can't get from any large screen tv and it's far more immersive. This tech is useful for far more than just games. But of course there's a percentage of people who get dizzy and spew even if they wear headphones. We just have to steer those people away from VR completely. They can still be useful members of society in some way.

      • Uncomfortable Movie Goer

        Agreed. I get the feeling that most people that call the Oculus (aka functioning VR) a gimmick don't even know what it is. Fly by folks going off of what happened with VR 20 years ago. 3D TVs are a gimmick. I couldn't care less for them. Most 3D movies are a gimmick because they were an afterthought in production to increase ticket prices. But this device changes everything. It offers a completely new experience in the confines of your own home. And its only day zero.... How could any gamer (or tech enthusiast) not be excited?

      • grammatonfeather

        Exactly. The tech was in it's infancy back then and now at last we have the high resolution compact displays needed for HMD VR. I think the people who dismiss it as a gimmick have no idea what the tech really represents as you say. Anything that's not a standard gaming console or pc with 2d monitor is seen as a gimmick. HMD only failed at the consumer end of the market back in the 90s because of the cost of the hardware and poor resolution. I owned a PC3d back then. It retailed for £900 and had 2 x 800 x 600 displays that changed colour randomly when the unit heated up. The quality of imagery was so poor most games were unplayable and yet for the few games that displayed well, it was an incredible experience. Unfortunately companies like Sony are still stuck in the past. They created a HMD with excellent clarity and image resolution and priced it far beyond the average consumer. I think Palmer is the first person who really understands what's required to bring HMD into the home in a big way.

      • MkRwilliams

        Big paragraphs :0

      • IMNS

        Don't be an ignorant yourself and accuse others of not knowing anything about oculus rift just coz they have concerns about its usability. I've read nothing but positive things about it myself but still have a lot of concerns about it.

        I simply can't see myself using this for more than a few minutes. IMO too it isn't going to be too much more than a gimmick. Even if its great at what it does, just the weight of the thing is going to keep it from ever being useful for anyone but a very small group of enthusiasts IMO.

      • Will Buckingham

        So let's get this straight. You've read nothing but positive things about it, including how major developers who have been at the head of technology in the past are incredibly excited about it. Multiple people I know tried it in person at PAX and are incredibly excited for it. It's the first time that a device has done the 3D right, where it doesn't induce a lot of eyestrain, has fast and accurate head tracking, and does it in a less than 1lb implementation (.84lbs for the dev kit). So calling it a gimmick when it's addressed past 3D problems and basically everyone is excited for it makes me wonder who is the ignorant one here.

        On topic, it's pretty sad they're going with Android implementation first, as it will be a mess of compatibility issues between various devices, but I can understand from a development standpoint how it would be easier than dealing with Apple's locked API.

      • IMNS

        Let me tell (bore) you with a bit info about me. I have a 65" tv in my bedroom. Coupled with a decent 5.1 avr & speaker system. And with a click of a couple of buttons, a 120" Projection screen rolls down to complete the theatre experience.

        BUT. I still (most of the time) end up watching Netflix or something else on my ipad with a pair of headphones in my bedroom. Why? I'm near sighted and I can't stand contact lenses. Watching either my tv or the projection screen requires me to use prescription glasses. Ipad on the other hand doesn't. If I were to rate the av quality of both my ipad and my tv/PJ + 5.1, ipad would get atleast 4 times as less points as the tv/PJ. Still I chose the ipad only coz I don't need to wear my glasses. Which btw, are probably less than .15 lbs.

        Comfort always wins especially when it comes to leisure. Sorry, but I think people who think the general public is going to choose better quality vs comfort are the only ignorant ones here.

      • Will Buckingham

        I see, so this is a case of you being an absurd outlier and outright dismissing the device due to your personal hang-ups rather than anything logical. And it's kind of sad that you dismiss virtual reality technology as a "quality" issue, like we were talking about upgrading from a 720p to 1080p TV. It's an entirely new way to experience media, which is why people are so excited about it. And FYI, there has been plenty of talk of prescription lenses working with the consumer versions of the device, assuming you'd even need them with the screens right up next to your eyes.

      • IMNS

        Oh dear lord. I don't think you even understood a word of what I said. Please read it again and show me where the hell in my post did I say I'll have issues with wearing prescription glasses with rift. I don't even know if I'll need to (as the screen is this close) and even if I did, what's an extra .1 lbs to the ~1.0 lbs already strapped to my head? Common sense for gods sake!

        Also, I already SPECIFICALLY told you my personal experience where quality is atleast 4X better by my own admission and yet I choose the inferior device simply coz its more comfortable to use ias I don't need to put on my barely .15 lbs glasses.

        So How the F in this world did you deduct I meant a marginal improvement in the quality with oculus rift after reading that? Did you not understood a single sentence I wrote and just picked up one random word per sentence and reached whatever conclusion you wanted?

        I don't even know why I bother arguing with clueless people who can't imagine anyone else but themselves being right. Atleast learn to read before you start arguing with someone on the internet. I'm not dismissing the rift for quality. Read my post again to figure out why I'm dismissing it. I can't spoon feed you all the time. And if you can't figure it out this time either, don't bother replying. Or do. Idgaf anymore.

      • bob

        I think your "glasses" example was a bad one. Most people wouldn't opt to watch a movie on their ipad simply because of that reason. I'm near sighted and wear my glasses all day. I take them off when I sleep.

      • Maskirovka

        Yes comfort is important but only a tiny minority of people would forego their giant expensive high quality screen for their tiny ipad

        I hope you have a medically valid reason for not getting laser eye surgery...clearly you could afford it.

      • IMNS

        I don't claim everyone one in my situation will do the same as me. That was just an example of how comfort trumped quality for me. For others, it will certainly vary. IMO though, strapping a 1 lbs rift to their heads would be that Crossing their comfort vs quality/features limit. I don't see it happening. But if it does, more power to them. No point in arguing any further.

        Also, Laser surgery isn't really an end all solution. Your number could increase in the future negating the previous surgery and requiring glasses again. My wife got it done a few years ago and she doesn't have the perfect vision anymore. I can easily read stuff with my glasses on which she can't now.

        And my number isn't that much. Its .75 and 1.00 in left and right eye. That's enough to not require glasses for most things except watching tv. I can even drive without my glasses on. That's why I haven't bothered with LASIK yet.

      • BulkSlash

        I've got an Oculus Rift as I backed the Kickstarter and frankly my dev version sits in the corner gathering dust. Both myself and my brother have tried it and within minutes we both got really bad motion sickness from using it.

        Hopefully we're in the minority or perhaps some tweaks to the headset can reduce the effect but as it stands I can't see myself buying the high-res consumer version.

    • nburcombe

      I promise you...where this is heading is good. I've played on the early prototype and I'm very impressed. Something like the cockpit view if Real Racing 3 (read: or indeed anything first person really (GoF, CoD, DTrigger, minecraft!) using the full power of the iPad Air and Oculus R will be an awesome experience. Certainly rival current gen consoles in the hands of good developers.

    • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

      Maybe. But I see iOS controllers as more of a gimmick than the Oculus rift. There is a clear market for this, not just a niche market, but outside of what we think of gaming today, could be expanded tomorrow. Non-gaming, exploration based apps along many other types.

      Of course, I won't make a bold claim like the guy below that said "this will never hit mass market appeal". I'm just pulling for the porn industry to explode...

    • toxiccheese

      I've used one a few times and it is amazing.

    • klepp0906

      I love that 8 people actually Up voted this . Cmon guys - lets here you back up that lemming like pov.

      How will it be a gimmick? Or is it just cause your pandering to stereotypes and it's not for ios? (To be fair I'm pissed too lol)

  • http://entrepreneurialblog.com Niclas Johansson

    This plus MFI IOS controllers = a new definition of living room entertainment.

    • wojovox

      Living room? Anywhere in the world room.

  • garret44

    Imagine how much this can enhance the nudity scenes

    • nini

      There's so many better things I can think of than virtual humping.

      • Uncomfortable Movie Goer

        Name them.

      • Lazer Kat

        See. He can't think of even one.
        Check. And mate.

  • cobbyco

    I'm gonna say...
    No thanks.

    • {SQUEEK}

      Pass

  • cuw

    Can iOS do differed rendering so this would actually work? I guess if it's a HDMI device the software just needs to be aware it's outputting to the rift so it can apply the proper shaders to make the screen geometry right.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Both the existing 1280x800 developer kit and the 1920x1080 "HD" version which isn't available yet could be easily driven by modern iOS devices. It's crazy to think that neither of those resolutions are... ...that high, anymore.

  • Adams Immersive

    No gimmick--it's amazing even in the rough devkit version. So much so that I back-burnered my iOS game in progress to make one for the Rift... Despite no real market yet!

    Maybe my VR title will make to iOS after all....

    Two things come to my mind though:

    1. The dewarping, chromatic correction, and dual-camera rendering suck a lot of

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I'm super curious about how they overcome your second point. While those few milliseconds don't matter much for 99% of the things you'd ever use Lightning to HDMI for, I feel like they'd be pretty noticeable in a VR environment. Have you tried coming up with any kind of iOS proof of concept?

      Seems like you could render the video on the iPhone easily, then basically tape your phone to the front of the Rift and use its accelerometer and gyroscope readings for the head tracking data that is typically provided via USB.

      • Adams Immersive

        I haven't messed with that--it would work, but the lag would be unacceptable.

        Now, all of this is in the future, and lag-free video output from iOS may be in the future too!

        But if I had to guess the REAL future of Oculus: skip Android fragmentation, skip having any kind of device connected, and just have the Rift itself BE the game machine. Presumably Android-powered. That seems ideal to me. It wouldn't run the same games as other Android devices, and would be Android in name only, but it would be a great game platform all its own.

        The market isn't ready for that yet of course, so for now it looks like a Mac and PC thing.

        I don't take the prospects of Oculus VR on Android phones/tablets very seriously: I don't see the profit in offering a device for just those tiny sliver of devices that meet certain requirements... and then I don't see the profit to developers in making Android games to run on it.

        I do see it as a logical step on the way to my vision of Android-in-the-Rift itself!

        At which point I'll gladly become an Android developer of sorts! (And keep at iOS as well of course.)

  • Brandon Higgins

    I'll buy one of the consumer products. It'll be smaller and I know it's a game changer.

  • Jay G

    I thought the picture was of the rear-view mirror of a Tesla.

  • MonkeyChunks

    Oh God please let this be good. I really want to experience this. This is not a sarcastic comment. I actually want to put a mask on to experience greater sensory isolation from my surroundings when playing a game.

  • bigitec

    When I met Nate Mitchell at GDC he said because of Apple restrictions the mobile launch will be Android only... Man I am so relieved that they managed to figure it out with Apple :-)))

    To all you bums out there who can't imagine what this means - you do not deserve to enjoy what's coming to you. I own a dev kit and tried the HD version and I know that they're addressing remaining issues like head position tracking, field of view and vr sickness...

    And it's enough to know that John Carmack is there... Locked up in a room working at "top secret stuff" as he stated in an interview, that alone makes me so super stoked... Someone put me in cryo sleep for a year or two please :-/

  • MonkeyChunks

    Are these lots developed in Europe somewhere? I checked my city in the US, a big tech job city, and there is one location where someone has it while Europe and even Middle East seems to have more per area.

    • Piph

      Are you sure? I was getting the same results, but when I clicked the "O" looking button at the top, it focused in on my location and showed some people willing to demo their kits in nearby cities. I live in San Antonio, Tx and found at least 3 people within an hour's drive.

  • Hoggy110

    I actually had an opportunity to try one of these on the weekend

    HOLY SHIT AM I EXCITED!!!!!!!!

  • Ingwersen

    Well, that sucks - might as well take down the article and replace it with a "Derp!"-meme. No offense, ir's just such a tease to look at ;-)

  • PresidentZer0

    Why no ios?

  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    HA! Still will be neat to watch where this goes, on PC, Android, whichever platform it supports.

  • Sven Van de Perre

    Among my gamer friends, we've got a conversation going on what shift in gaming genres this will have. The first consoles brought us platform games, and movement on two axisses. More powerfull hardware brought 3d fps on pc, and as soon as dual sticks came to console, we got a never ending stream of fps there. Oculus is the first piece of hardware that will bring another shift. Personally, I see a big rise in horror games. Any stuff we're you're alone. As putting on the oculus breaks your link with the world around you.

    Anyone else thinking about new game genres with this thing? (Which will surely come to iOS, by the way)

  • Mike

    After seeing all those little game pads getting hyped, this is a breath of fresh air. Finally something new different to experience games on. I don't understand why they'd leave out iOS though, I doubt that will be the case.

  • Lazer Kat

    How are you suppose to control the game.
    I know he also created an omnidirectional treadmill...
    Which seems un achievable.

  • rewyan

    Hahahaha, epic fail by Venturebeat

  • rewyan

    The future is going to be awesome...... For android.

  • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

    This is 'the next step' to immersive 3D gaming. It's also the next step to neck pains, deep nose creases, and people shouting NERD NERD NERD at smartphone gamers who whip one of these onto their faces.

    Yes, it's the next step. I, however, am more interested in what's coming a few more steps up the 3D tech ladder, b/c this step looks a bit awkward.

    (Sorta like buying the first iPhone. They were cool, but no cut&paste, no multitasking, lots of awkwardness, etc.)

  • IMNS

    I don't know how bad your eyesight is but mine isn't too much. I don't really need glasses for anything else except watching tv. May be that's why I still haven't gotten comfortable wearing glasses even after 10+ years. May be if I HAD to wear them all the time I'd be more inclined towards tv instead of ipad just coz tv requires me to wear glasses.

    But that's besides the point. Maybe it is a bad example. I just don't see how a big majority of people (excluding the enthusiasts) would be willing to strap a 1 lbs rift to their heads and not feel uncomfortable no matter how much better the experience is compared to their TVs.

  • DemoEvolved

    Oculus rift is not a gimmick, it's the real deal.

    Hooking it up to a lousy android device, now that's a gimmick.

  • klepp0906

    So am I seriously going to have to go android because yet another up and coming tech or software is android/windows only? I just don't freaking get it