VR headset Oculus Rift Kickstarter successful on first day

Fund for production of 3D headset with head tracking attracts $400,000, praise from several PC gaming leaders.

Virtual reality is attracting a lot of real cash for the creators of Oculus Rift, a motion-tracking wearable display intended to get previously cost-prohibitive, high-end technology onto the heads of gamers and game creators of everywhere. The project's Kickstarter has already collected more than $400,000 in its first day, handily surpassing its $250,000 goal.

Jamiroquai said it best: the future's made of virtual insanity.

The Oculus Rift is a 3D virtual reality headset, with screens for each eye offering large viewing angles. The headset's sensors support low-latency head tracking, allowing users to move their heads to actually look around the game's world with supposedly little in-game delay. Oculus' stated goal is to make the VR technology both lightweight and high-quality, a combination which would previously be far too expensive for most consumers.

The undertaking comes with the seal of approval of several notable PC gaming figures, including id's John Carmack, Valve's Gabe Newell, and Epic Game's Cliff Bleszinski. "It looks incredibly exciting, if anybody’s going to tackle this set of hard problems, we think that [Oculus founder Palmer Luckey] is going to do it," Newell said in a promotional video for the project. Carmack, himself a 3D technology evangelist, ran a demo for the technology at the Electronics Entertainment Expo in June. While several working prototypes of the Oculus Rift already exist, the Kickstarter is intended to start mass production of developer kits for the system, which will integrate with both the Unity and Unreal engines out of the box.

The Kickstarter had attracted $411,103 with 1,668 backers as of publication time, setting the average backer pledge at about $250. This is close to the $300 minimum pledge required to receive an Oculus Rift and developer tools in December, as well as a copy of Doom 3: BFG Edition, the first game to be compatible with the system.

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Discussion

102 comments
shantd
shantd

The Occulus Rift sounds great and all, and being the first mass produced VR headset, it's important. But I suspect it won't be any good for the first couple generations. For one, it doesn't have full peripheral vision, which I feel is the most important feature of VR. Think about this: why are are almost all sports games in 3rd person? Because in 1st person you'd be at a huge disadvantage due to lack of peripheral vision. In a football game, somebody comes at you from the side, you don't know he's there, and you get tackled. 

When the 2.0 version comes out with full peripheral vision and, hopefully HD resolution, I'm sure I'll jump onboard. Til then, I'll let everybody else be the guinea pigs. 

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

The newest, coolest, fastest way to go blind.

 

I want to try one.

hombreg1
hombreg1

and... what happens if you wear glasses?

thundercave01
thundercave01

i'm interested... just wished that the resolution were higher 640x800 per eye, laid out over your entire field of view ,thats gonna be some blurry pixelated bs.

still head movement update 1 on 1 is impressive,  but as it stands now i'll just wait for the full hd or better version,  just imagine playing skyrim like this.  i want this, just the full hd version sadly....so hurry the f up :)

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

Star Citizen + Oculus Rift = marriage counseling

Ghost345
Ghost345

not gonna get it because I get motion sick pretty easy, just thinking about it is currently making me sick, but It sounds like a cool idea. Better than 3D horse shit that has gotten popular.

 

hellrazorangel
hellrazorangel

Augmented Reality VS Virtual Reality     Which is less gimmicky? 

melante
melante

VR on Ouya? Oh Yeah!!

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

A great part of this is that they're using the Kickstarter to get this into the hands of developers rather than just throw the thing into the consumer space. This has such amazing potential and really it's success may be more due to how well developers utilize the technology.

rarson
rarson

This technology is much more exciting than Ouya (not that they're competing). And they also already have working technology. Pledging $300 gets you a working dev version. If the final retail version arrives at the same price, it'll be a no-brainer purchase for anyone who really wants to feel immersed in their games.

 

Carmack was talking about this a while ago. He said that adding more graphical power wasn't going to make the gaming experience significantly better. In other words, while a bump in resolution and some extra little graphical effects might look nice, it's not improving the actual experience a whole lot. He saw this technology as a way to increase immersion and take the gaming experience to the next level. I absolutely agree with him.

 

I've been a VR enthusiast since the early 90's when it seemed like the technology was ready to explode (in reality, it was far too early). I've been waiting a long time for an affordable, but high-quality head-mounted display with low-latency head tracking. It seems like Oculus' current prototypes have finally achieved that. I can't wait to see what the retail version looks like, and since I doubt I'll want to wait for it, I might just pony up $275 and try building my own dev kit.

 

I can imagine in 10 years, combining the technology of Oculus and smart phones, delivering an immersive 3D experience with a headset barely larger than a pair of glasses, with the graphical power of a console, but on a chipset small enough to actually fit in the glasses themselves or in a wireless device small enough to wear (like an earring, for example). And then eventually we'll get high-resolution contact lens displays...

 

This could bring high-quality VR to the masses. That is pretty exciting.

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

At least this kick starter has some heavy hitter devs really talking about this product....ouya did not seem to have real devs on video talking about how great that was......kudos Oculus hope you do well, it is time for VR to take a huge leap forward...

Stinger_editor
Stinger_editor

I have to be the voice of caution on this. Working in the VR-E sector (public-space) with the current generation of HMD's - these expensive but powerful systems way surpass the performance that is being proposed with the Oculus Rift - but are $20,000+ monsters.

 

The Rift offers a glimpse at a gaming future, but there is a large amount of hype (needed when you need to raise your funding through KickStarter). The danger is that the media may interpret the proposal as serious fact (hype) - when in reality a number of compromises will have to be made to filed the system into the consumer sector.

 

As we saw with the aborted launch of the SONY HMV - the application and development issues of releasing personal viewers are impeded by the limitations of the sales price. The reason a CyberMind HMD costs $25,000 with full tracking and wide-FOV, is because of the hardware needed to achieve this experience.

 

I don't think we are looking at another VirtualBoy- but we are not looking at Law Mower Man!

Bad_Ass_Dr_Funk
Bad_Ass_Dr_Funk

I remember demoing a VR headset at a student fair in college in 1995.  Running the original Duke Nukem.  It was heavy, gave me a headache, had crappy control, and I figured that would be the end of it.  Thanks Gamespot for flashing me back to to my early 20's.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

I'm really curious about this. If you think about the resolutions/DPI we're getting with current mobile devices, it's quite possible to at least have the same level of detail in the VR headset as you have on the TV.

 

And with the computing power in mobile devices getting to a point where they rival those of the "current" consoles, ensuring a lag-free experience should be quite possible.

 

If the headset does all the calculation and merely sends across the final angles/deltas it should make it easier for games to adopt the technology as well.

 

But all-in-all, low latency is the top priority.

blackothh
blackothh

the technology for holodeck needs to start somewhere!

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Who's really going to want to wear a VR headset to play games? It seems to me that the market would be similar to current 3D home theaters. It's entertaining every now and then, but it's not something you would use on a daily or even weekly basis.

 

Until VR is like the Holodeck in Star Trek, it will only be a niche market.

Fanible
Fanible

@shantd

Have you even watched the video describing how it works?  You're going to argue that 110 FOV left and right is not enough for right now?  That's brilliant.  Don't get me wrong, if they manage to have a full round 180 FOV some day, that would be amazing, but this is still pretty damn amazing, and better than any monitor experience can provide (especially for shooters).

This is going to be tailored more towards FPS games, ironically, which tend to only have up to 90 FOV anyway.  Even in a sports game, 110 in FPS would be crazy to try, but I don't think anyone will be playing sports games outside third person anytime soon anyway, because it gives more than just a peripheral view advantage.  You can also see more behind you, which is the primary reason people will want to continue playing it that way.

Having said/ranted about that, buyers of these are probably going to stick with games that have been tailored for it anyway.

vault-boy
vault-boy

@hombreg1 Contact lenses? Maybe pop out the lenses to a spare pair of glasses and hot glue them to the inside of the device?

esqueejy
esqueejy

 @hombreg1 

1.  Put on Glasses.

2.  Encase face in epic nerd visual cortex stimulator (lube recommended).

3.  Play for several hours.

4.  Vomit a little in your mouth.

5.  ...

6.  Profit.

eriktkire
eriktkire

 @hombreg1 there would have to be a focus feature to accommodate the ocularly impaired... otherwise you'll have to wait for the 2.0 version.

 

But seriously.. Carmack wears glasses.  You'd hope that if they didn't think of it he would have pointed that out to them.

hombreg1
hombreg1

 @rarson or... you could connect chipsets to the ocular nerves in your eyes and project coded, virtual "images" on to your own eyes...

plasticreality
plasticreality

 @Stinger_editor

 Based on the proposed specs, what you do think needs serious improvement beyond the screen resolution (which they claim will be improved for the consumer version)?  Personally, I don't care if the performance a $20K piece of hardware - I just want a pretty good approximation for an affordable price. 

rarson
rarson

 @Hvac0120 

 

I've been waiting for a quality HMD at an affordable price for almost 2 decades now. I'd love to be able to play games in actual 3D with low-latency head tracking.

Colekern
Colekern

 @Hvac0120 Not exactly. With this headset,you can look around using your own head, making the game more natural.

shantd
shantd

@STARWARSFANYANN@shantd Really? That's news to me. Good news! I was expecting that it would probably take around 10 years before this technology reached its potential, which for me means:

1 - Full 180 degree vision

2 - Full HD resolution

3 - Top notch 3d integration

4 - Complete game integration/compatibility, meaning you can use the OR on any console or PC, with any game. 

Perhaps, at this rate, it will be sooner. Can't wait til we're there!

shantd
shantd

@Fanible @shantd  Ofcourse I've seen the videos, and I'm not arguing that it's not impressive. Ofcourse it is. But I still see it as the first baby step of a massive staircase. Normally I'm an early adopter of technology. That is, I'll pay stupid prices to try the first generation of tech. But I don't see that happening with the Occulus Rift. The technology is too early in its development cycle even for me. Besides the reasons I stated, you mentioned another one: games. It's not compatible with existing games, and of the list of games that are compatible, Star Citizen is the only one I have any interest in at the moment.

Having  said all that, I do believe VR headsets are the future of gaming. The only way you're going to get full 180 degree FOV is with a head set (I don't see TVs that wrap around your head as being particularly feesible).



Stinger_editor
Stinger_editor

 @plasticreality I had the chance to listen to John's full session at QuakeCon'12 and listed the failings of the current system:

 

These failings are:

- limited resolution ["resolution-low"] (he hopes for a 1080p future (end of 2012))*

- need for a stronger anti-aliasing, noticeable (need for more power)*

- top of the line PC needed (saturated his current high-spec system)

- demanding high bandwidth from the target system

- poor latency on this version (hoping for better but has to force syncs)*

- imbedded LCD means bleeds of image (15mil/sec issues)

- 60fps causing additional latency issues (unable to nail this down due to prototype)*

- update at less than wanted with a 250htz, taking two passes (latency linked to gyros and tracking problems)

- rapid head movement / tipping tracking lag (looking at a screen flash for consistency)

- image tear with rapid movement noticeable*

- no positional data so spacial awareness issues ('Scooby Soo'ing!' leading to motion nausea (simulation sickness))***

- ascertaining the final tracking system still undecided, demo offering positional difficulties (lumpy, with 10-degree off on occasion)*

- ascertaining the final interface system, still undecided and offers problems

- orientation not completed in time, so positional problems

 

These are not earth shattering (other than resolution and latency). So these can be fudged and you get your $700 HMD. But we in the amusement and attraction sector could build a system that addresses these failings at a $1,500 price point for amusement application and would offer a unique game experience unachievable @ home!

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

 @rarson Same here. Been waiting since the early 90's for anything close to this. Willing to pay more for this than I would be for an actual console, especially if I could watch tv on it too.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

 @Colekern But you still have to wear a headset. There are tons of problems with this for mass marketing.

simewn
simewn

@shantd @vault-boy You do not need 180 FOV. It is not a stationary monitor; you can move your head around freely. Humans do not have an 180 FOV but 120. And if you compute also the way that we attend our vision mostly at the center of it, then it becomes clear that 110 is not bad.

shantd
shantd

@vault-boy 

- 720P may technically be HD, but with 4k just around the corner, 1080 should be the minimal bar for the forseeable future. 

- On the FOV, everything I'm reading online talks about 110 FOV. Can you guys offer a source for 180?

- I do agree, it's the game/console/PC integration that will be the biggest hurdle because developers have to recode their games from the ground up to work with the OR. From the wiki:

"There is also no native support for Mac OSX and Microsoft on the device, as the system uses its own home baked development environment; forcing developers to code or recode their games from the ground up."

Hopefully that will change at some point. 


vault-boy
vault-boy

@shantd @STARWARSFANYANN Well I know they fore sure have 720p resolutions which qualifies as HD and they are pushing to get it up to 1080, but they haven't confirmed it and they already said it might not happen but it is still HD none the less. Apparently it does have full 180 degree FOV and it has full 3D support which, according to the tech demos, is quite good. The only thing left is support for most games (not all can take advantage of the tech in a rational way, look at games like Civilization) and console integration which mostly comes down to the developers along with Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.

eriktkire
eriktkire

 @hellrazorangel could be the right time for VR though... the 90's version was when 3D was still pretty damn primitive.  Now though with today's spec machines and the advent of hi-res tiny sized LED screens... it shouldn't damage your eyesight from extended use like the old tech probably would have.... or be fatigue inducing.

hellrazorangel
hellrazorangel

 @Meta-Gnostic and attacking someone that shares a different opinion and calling them ignorant is not an insult? 

Although I find the idea of blending computer images with reality fascinating (always have). I always end up returning to my original question... 

Augmented Reality VS Virtual Reality     Which is less gimmicky?

I fail to see how that is hypocritical (or is that another one of your insults)?

 

It is not hypocritical to be excited about what the future may hold but AR today is very gimmicky to me, things like this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoodrUC05r0 

 

I think its fair to say that the ideas are cool but until something really astounding happens with either AR or VR it will always be just another gimmick to make money.  

 

 

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

You were the one who threw insults out, calling me a little kid. I could care less for AR because that is a complete gimmick when it comes to gaming. Who the hell has abandoned buildings like that to create a battlefield game within them. Even if you did you would have too many other idiots running around trying to play a game with their AR glasses. You would run into him and you would both fall on your fucking asses. Entirely impractical. You can stop posting replies because I'm not going to read anything else coming from your hypocritical mouth. See ya!

hellrazorangel
hellrazorangel

@Meta-Gnostic

If you are not a child than you simply have the trait(s) of one. e.g. acts as if they know everything and tosses insults around online to random users etc) That is the trait of a child. Just saying.

 

Yes, for the fourth time it does feel gimmicky to me. You obviously don't agree, that's fine, but instead of moving along you attack someone with a different opinion (another trait of a child). 

 

I am really hoping augmented reality has a place in the future. Creation of a computer-generated world vs the inability to distinguish fabricated computer images that meld with the real world images would be astounding! Here check out some videos:

Pirillo discussing how AR could be implemented: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0m5FJDXvuA&feature=plcp

how games could work: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sSsRIhVYB4

Future of AR:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnRJaHZH9lo

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

 @hellrazorangel I have tried VR simulators and they were not gimmicky at all, they were truly immersive. Funny how you resort to the little kid crap when I am probably older than you. You have still not explained why it is gimmicky, therefor you fail.

 

Things have changed since the early VR experiences in the 90's, yet even back then there were some good high end experiences at some of the better arcades.

 

Now tell us what is the future of gaming? How can you make it more immersive?

hellrazorangel
hellrazorangel

 @Meta-Gnostic By the way I agree that it is truly unfortunate that the future of gaming and technology lies in old gimmicks such as motion controls, 3D and VR... smh 

hellrazorangel
hellrazorangel

 @Meta-Gnostic ...and Obviously you have never tried VR. VR is nothing new little kid and it has been around for a long time (90s). While it all sounds well and good on paper the actual experience is well... gimmicky 

Meta-Gnostic
Meta-Gnostic

 @hellrazorangel What part of it is gimmicky? Your ignorance astounds me. How is having complete immersion with no outside distractions and head tracking so that when you look around your view changes automatically a gimmick?

 

That's like saying having someone interrupt you while you're gaming every 10 minutes while turning lights on in your face is better than no interruptions. That's like saying it's better to not have a 2nd analog stick to view your environment while gaming. Because essentially with Oculus rift you no longer need to view your environment with the right analog. It's based on your own head movement, bringing you further immersion.

 

Obviously you either have never thought of the experience or never read up on it before. It truly is unfortunate for the future of gaming and technology.

plasticreality
plasticreality

 @Stinger_editor

 Ah, I see your point (from the perspective of developers).  Still, it should be functional and allow experimentation in order to get software ready for the consumer release. 

 

Personally I'm thrilled with the $300 price, as it allowed me to buy one of the prototypes.  I realize it's not meant for people like me, but I've been waiting for consumer VR for so long I couldn't help myself.  Even playing Doom 3 and Hawken in low-res VR is an exciting prospect, to be sure.  Plus, there are a number of other indie developers who plan on integrating support for the Rift, such as Lunar Software (Routine) and Organic Humans (Montas).  A very exciting time indeed.

Stinger_editor
Stinger_editor

 @plasticreality  @Stinger_editor 

Thank you for the reply - and your cogent observations.

 

I agree that all the issues can be addressed with time. But I was addressing the issues that exist now for the SDK's to be fielded next month - rather than the production specs.

 

Regarding the comments on resolution and latency, I was actually focusing on the comments from John's QuakeCom'12 keynote - where he actually raised the issues: http://arcadeheroes.com/2012/08/06/kevin-williams-delves-into-john-carmacks-discusson-of-newer-vr-tech/

 

Fundamentally, my concern is not about the home system, but the deliverable of a paired down system forced into the $300 price point missing the needed capability. As a developer in the Out-of-Home sector I favor a high-tech amusement approach for the first systems... but you would expect that :)

plasticreality
plasticreality

 @Stinger_editor

 Thanks for your detailed reply.  While I don't have your technical expertise, it does seem that the resolution issue is an easy fix, with high resolution displays coming onto the market in the next year, coupled with the expectation that prices will drop by the time the consumer version is manufactured. 

 

As for latency, I've read a number of hands on features of the Rift, and not a single person has reported any issues.  In fact, one guy from PC Gamer tried to force a problem by moving his head really fast, but was unable to do so. 

 

Given how impressed everyone has been who tried it, coupled with the fact that it will not be released as a consumer version for another year or two, I think we have reason to be optimistic.  And of course, after the first generation of these headsets are produced, better cheaper ones are sure to follow.  The possibilities for home applications of this technology are endless.

Colekern
Colekern

 @Hvac0120 True, there are a lot of problems, but it does have potential.