8 things you need to know about the Oculus Rift consumer VR headset

Oculus VR just revealed the real deal, and these are the essential details

Oculus Rift

After several hardware revisions and a seemingly endless stream of hype, the Oculus Rift is finally coming to market in early 2016 - and the consumer version of the VR headset was just shown off this evening ahead of E3 next week.

What have we learned about the final product? Not everything, but plenty: we've seen the build and components of the proper release, we finally know how you'll control the games and apps, and we found out some surprising new details - like Xbox One compatibility (sort of).

Want to get up to speed in a hurry? Here are the eight things you need to know about the consumer version of the Oculus Rift.

1. This is the headset

This is the Oculus Rift you'll be able to buy in stores next year. It's very similar in form and function to the Crescent Bay prototype seen before, and features two OLED screens within - one for each eye - that Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe says deliver no motion blur or judder as you look around. "Maybe not as high of resolution as you want on day one, but this is the beginning, and it really delivers that magic of presence," he added. Official specs aren't yet available.

Additionally, the headset has built-in headphones that deliver spatial sound, but they can be removed if you'd rather use your own. And the new constellation tracking system uses an array of sensors that help the tracking device (which sits on your desk) read its movements.

2. The right fit

Oculus Rift

When you're strapping a VR headset to your face, fit and feel are absolutely essential details that much be executed perfectly. Luckily, the Rift looks like it's keeping all of that in mind. The adjustable strap doesn't pull against your face, and Uribe says you'll "put it on like a baseball cap." Likewise, it can be pulled off with ease.

The consumer version is designed to better accommodate glasses, as well, and it has a dial that lets you adjust the lens distance for the perfect view into the virtual worlds. Also, it's wrapped in fabric, so it feels a little nicer than a mostly plastic-and-metal device otherwise might.

3. Familiar controls

Oculus Rift

Is that an Xbox One controller? Surprise! Oculus has teamed up with Microsoft to include a wireless Xbox One gamepad with every Rift headset, which provides gamers with a familiar input device for controlling games and experiences.

Granted, an Xbox controller is still pretty complex for non-gamers to use, which could be a problem when your gran tries to strap in for a demo. But it's not the only input option that will be available (at some point), as you'll discover later in this list.

4. Xbox One and Windows 10

Oculus Rift

Sony has its own Project Morpheus headset for PlayStation 4, but rather than compete on that level with a specialised headset, Microsoft has thrown its lot in with Oculus (at least for now). You'll be able to stream games from your Xbox One over to a Windows 10 PC and play them in something of a virtual viewing room, with the game displayed on a faux TV on a digital wall.

It's not the same as playing an Xbox One game in full-frame VR, but it strikes us as a first step towards something more down the line - like plug-and-play direct compatibility with Xbox One, we hope. And the Rift is natively compatible with Windows 10, as well, with DirectX 12 designed to boost performance for Rift games.


Liked that? Read this...