Fully Charged: New Oculus Rift dev kits shipping, the arty mountain simulator, and Google snags Songza

Prepare for the day ahead with our sampling of top news stories from overnight
Oculus Rift

Latest Oculus Rift dev kit shipping this month

We’re still a ways off from a consumer-ready version of the Oculus Rift VR headset, but it’s drawing nearer with each new development kit release. And a whole lot of them are soon to be out in the wild, as Oculus VR announced last night that Development Kit 2 pre-orders will begin shipping this month, with first units hitting developers the week of 14 July.

That said, Oculus claims to have more than 45,000 pre-orders for the kit, but only about 10,000 headsets will actually make it out to developers during July. The rest should ship in August, bringing game and content developers a massively updated version of the highly-anticipated device.

Development Kit 2 bumps the display resolution to 1080p and adds external motion tracking via a camera, which significantly reduces motion sickness for many players and allows for more immersive experiences. Oculus VR is still taking pre-orders for the unit, with new orders slated to ship in September, but just to stress this once more—it’s development hardware, not a consumer-ready device. Purchase at your own risk.

[Source: Oculus Developer Forums]

READ MORE: Hands-on with Oculus Rift v2: believe the VR hype

Mountain is an arty mountain simulator

Between Goat Simulator and Rock Simulator, developers are pushing the simulation tag into the realm of parody. However, Mountain—released yesterday on PC, Mac, and iOS—wears its tag of “mountain simulator” without a wink or tongue pressed firmly against cheek. It’s probably not exactly the kind of game you’re expecting, either.

Created by artist David OReilly, the man behind the fictional hologram game in Spike Jonze’s film, Her, Mountain begins by asking you to answer three questions with drawings, and then generates a virtual mountain based on your response. From there, the atmospheric game promises “no controls,” that “things grow and things die” and “nature expresses itself,” and amusingly, “~ 50 hours of gameplay.”

Anyone put off by experimental art games will have already stopped reading before the end of that sentence, but those with more of an open mind can check it out on any platform today for just £1.

[Sources: Mountain, App Store]

READ MORE: From HAL to ‘Her’: the top 24 artificial intelligences on film

Songza acquired by Google, will continue running


As rumoured last month, Google went ahead and acquired streaming music service Songza, the companies announced yesterday. The New York Times reports that the deal is worth more than US$39 million—much more than the original US$15 million expectation, but a far cry from the $3 billion that Apple spent for Beats Music bundled with the Beats headphone business.

Songza is known for its distinctive curation approach, which asks users to input a mood or situation and then be provided relevant songs. The service will continue to operate, with the company promising that they’ll be making it “faster, smarter, and even more fun to use.” Additionally, the team is expected to begin contributing their talents to Google Play Music and possibly even YouTube.

[Sources: The New York Times, Songza]

READ MORE: Fully Charged: Google mulling Songza purchase, shatterproof phone screens incoming, and the Minecraft creator’s strange new horse game