What you need to know about the Oculus Rift

Set for release in the first quarter of 2016, the virtual reality head-mounted display that is the Oculus Rift will probably be the most advanced VR gadget ever.

However, given the fact that most people do not have more than a faint clue on how a VR device works and what it could bring to us, here's a short heads up if you're curious.

The latest Oculus development kit for developers was unveiled in mid-2014, being the final 'dev kit' before the consumer version was unveiled. However, the Crescent Bay version launched in September featured improved design and specs over the kit. Weighing lesser than its predecessor, the Crescent Bay contained a headset with OLED display and attached headphones with 3D audio and afforded users with 360-degree head tracking and expanded positional tracking capabilities.

Basically, the user needs to wear the headset to be able to view virtual reality movies or to play games which have been configured as per the gadget's specifications. The lighter weight as well as better ergonomics in the latest prototype ensures that users won't have to hold on to the gadget with their hands.

However, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, with an eye on the early 2016 release, recently calculated the total cost that users have to bear to use the Oculus Rift optimally. Along with the headset, users will also need to purchase a fairly loaded PC that will run the software, and the total cost could run up to $1500, or very close to £1,000 in the UK.

So, apart from educating the general public about the wonder that is the Oculus Rift, Oculus will also need to convince them to shell out money for a device which is significantly costlier than the best available smartphones.

However, since the actual release date is still around a year ahead, the presence of rival VR platforms like the Samsung Gear VR and Google's Cardboard programme should make today's users more aware about what VR stands for and can do for us in the future.


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