oculus rift 1080p prototype e3

Today at E3, the massive annual gaming convention, a new Oculus Rift 1080p prototype is being shown running with Unreal Engine 4. Here’s all the info we gathered so far.

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Oculus Rift 1080p Prototype

oculus rift 1080p dev kit
Photo credit – Engadget

Everyone was expecting a higher resolution Rift at some point, but we weren’t expecting to see it so soon. The new Oculus Rift prototype is using a 1080p display. Based on a picture from IGN (above), it looks like they’re gone down from a 7-inch screen to a 5-inch screen, a size that they had originally intended to use.

Assuming a 5-inch display, the new 1080p panel would have a pixel density of approximately 440 PPI, more than twice the density of the current Oculus Rift developer kit (215 PPI). As currently, the display is divided in half for each eye. This makes the effective resolution 960×1080, compared to 640×800 of the current model. While this still doesn’t take the Oculus into the realm of true 1080p HD gaming, it is a big improvement in visual fidelity, about 2x the current development kit.

The latest official update from Oculus says that new display “greatly reduc[es] the screen-door effect seen in the development kit. The brightness, contrast, and color are also improved. All of these changes come together to ratchet the sense of immersion to an entirely new level.”

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oculus rift 1080p comparison dk1 dk2
Comparison between current developer kit (left) and 1080p prototype (right)

The Verge’s David Pierce took a look into the new Oculus Rift 1080p prototype. Oculus is showing off integration with Unreal Engine 4. They’re showing some environments from the ‘Elemental’ demo, seen below:

Oculus is also showing off the VR Cinema 3D demo with a trailer of Man of Steel.

Oculus Rift 1080p Dev Kit 2 in 2013?

Earlier this year at GTC 2013 we saw a hint that Oculus was planning a second development kit for “Q2-Q3 2013”.

oculus rift roadmap dk1 dk2 consumer version
Photo credit – PC Perspective

Seeing as we’re almost into Q3, I think it’s a safe bet that it’ll be at least until Q4, if not into 2014, for a 1080p version, and that’s if Oculus even plans to release a second dev kit.

While Oculus is showing off the new 1080p Rift prototype to the press at E3, they currently have “no solid plans” to release it, according to IGN. The fact that we see two cables coming out of the new unit (one for display output, the other for tracker data) tells us that this decidedly still in protoype status — the current Rift development kit has one custom cable for both data streams.

“The 1080p prototype isn’t a product — this isn’t necessarily the display (or even the resolution) that we’ll use for the consumer version — it’s simply a taste of what’s coming,” wrote Oculus in their latest update.

Will the New Screen Adapt to the Current Development Kit?

Photo credit - Engadget
Photo credit – Engadget

Those who know the Oculus Rift dev kit well will note that the new prototype appears to be using the same front portion as the current dev kit, with only the screen portion swapped out. While we’d love to see an upgrade available for existing dev kit owners, we doubt it’ll happen.

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Oculus chose to directly connect the display on the current dev kit to the control box. An upgrade would essentially mean replacing nearly all of the hardware, making it not much of an upgrade to begin with. We would have preferred to see a connector attachment from the display to the control box for this reason, and also to extend the cable length when necessary.