Speaking with Edge, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe confirms that we won’t see the Oculus Rift 2 / consumer version in 2013. Though not necessarily a surprise, this is the first official confirmation of that fact that I’ve seen; there could be a silver lining. Additionally, Iribe talks about the future of VR and how smartphones might play a role.
“Consumer release-wise we haven’t set a date yet – it’s not going to be this year but we would love it to be next year – we want it to be right… We don’t want to announce any dates because frankly we just don’t know when it’s going to be really ready for the consumer market where everything is tied together – you have the form factor, HD, motion blur eliminated… so we don’t know how long that will take, but it’s close – we have internal prototypes which have a lot of each thing solved and it’s such a magical experience when you see it all together,” Iribe told Edge.
Yes, it’s a shame to know that we’ll have to wait until 2014 for the future to truly arrive, but it’s possible that Oculus is looking to release a second Oculus Rift developer kit (called DK2) before 2013 is over. According to a roadmap that Oculus showed back in March at GTC 2013:
The Oculus Rift roadmap shows that the company anticipated launching the DK2 in Q3, which we’re now part way into.
At E3 2013, Oculus showed off the Oculus Rift HD prototype. They said there were “no solid plans” to released the HD prototype, but it makes a DK2 seem likely. Still, there’s no way to tell how Oculus’ plans may have changed since the roadmap went public, especially with the recent influx of investor cash.
Oculus Rift and Your Smartphone
While the smartphones of today are not likely powerful enough to function as a compelling VR platform, Iribe thinks the time will come in the near future.
“I love consoles but internally we’re a lot more excited about where mobile’s going to go, and being able to plug it right into a next gen cellphone… It’s the innovation, and how fast cellphones are now improving – where we’ll be with the next Galaxy or the next iPhone compared to where consoles are. Those things are almost doubling every year, compared to a console that’s just stuck it out for eight years – it just makes us very excited. There’s a lot of improvements that can be made on the hardware side for VR that no-one’s doing yet because it’s a new thing. The mobile rate of innovation is going to be able to make a lot of those improvements,” he told Edge.
Oculus is constantly fielding questions about whether or not they’ll bring the Oculus Rift to the Xbox or PlayStation. The answer is always that they’d love to do so, but peripheral certification for consoles is not open for anyone who wants in. I personally feel that it’s more likely that Sony and Microsoft will launch their own gaming HMD rather than allow Oculus onto their platforms. In the mean time, a focus on mobile is probably a good strategy.
I for one am looking forward to hooking up my future Oculus Rift 4 to my iPhone 9 and using Ibex to have a huge virtual desktop space to work with, even when in a cramped airplane seat or on the train!