Kyle Orland of Ars Technica Demos the Rift

The Oculus Rift Kickstarter officially ended last Saturday. Reeling in an impressive $2,437,429, the campaing achieved a whopping 947% of its original 250k goal and secured the #6 position of top grossing Kickstarters of all time. Last week, Adhesive Games announced that Hawken would support the Rift at launch. This week, two new games a pledging support for the Oculus Rift. Furthermore the Oculus Rift continues to impress the press, but not without a few issues.

Kickstarter Wrap Up

About 24 hours before the Kickstarter ended, Oculus shared an infographic with stats from the campaign (now updated with final stats) [I wonder where they got the idea ; D]:

As you can see above, of the 9,522 people that backed the Kickstarter, 7,408 (77%) backed a tier high enough to receive one of the Oculus Rift developer kits. 100 slots were available for an unembarrassed Rift DIY kit at $275 (these sold out in the first few hours of the Kickstarter). These lucky 100 are expected to receive their kits in November, while everyone else is expected to receive theirs in December.

Some people expressed concern about Oculus’ ability to delivery 7,000+ units, but Palmer planned well in advance for large demand and said last week in a Q & A on reddit that “We are very confident that we can ship everyone a Rift in December!” Good news!

New Oculus Rift Games: Miner Wars and 0x10c

Oculus might just have to update that infographic again because two new games are now pledging support for the HMD.

First up is Miner Wars 2081, from the devleopers:

Miner Wars is a first-person action-survival space simulation game set in the year 2081. This first installment of the Miner Wars franchise is currently being developed by Keen Software House a. s., an independent software company founded and lead by Marek Rosa. There are currently two branches: Miner Wars 2081 as a classical single-player, co-op and multi-player and Miner Wars MMO as a massive multiplayer online version.

Taking place in a post-apocalyptic inner Solar System, approximately 10 years after the destruction of Earth. The premise of the story supposes a very limited technological advancement, and a population desperately struggling to live long-term in space without a home planet. War breaks out over vital resources such as food, oxygen and fuel.

The player controls a mining ship on an adventure across the inner Solar System.
Miner Wars 2081 is an action-oriented game, set in a fully destructible and open-world environment, which remains persistent as players complete missions or play online with others. Realism and survival will be key aspects of gameplay. Inventory and the way players use resources such as fuel, ammunition, oxygen, ore, and weapons will be important when surrounded by dozens of warring factions.

Here’s a video of the game in action to give you an idea of the gameplay:

Meta's Former Head of VR: Oculus Go Was His "biggest product failure" & Why it Matters for Vision Pro

Last week Keen Software House announced that they had already planned to add TrackIR support into Miner Wars, but now they’ll be fully supporting the Rift as well. The company will add Oculus Rift support as a free update after the launch of the game which is expected before the end of the year. Additionally, they mention that for those who can’t get their hands on the Rift, they may add the webcam-based FreeTrack for those who want to give head tracking a shot with a standard display.

Second is Mojang’s (the company behind the indie smash-hit Minecraft) upcoming game, 0x10c. From Markus “Notch” Persson, the founder of Mojang:

In a parallel universe where the space race never ended, space travel was gaining popularity amongst corporations and rich individuals.

In 1988, a brand new deep sleep cell was released, compatible with all popular 16 bit computers. Unfortunately, it used big endian, whereas the DCPU-16 specifications called for little endian. This led to a severe bug in the included drivers, causing a requested sleep of 0x0000 0000 0000 0001 years to last for 0x0001 0000 0000 0000 years.

It’s now the year 281 474 976 712 644 AD, and the first lost people are starting to wake up to a universe on the brink of extinction, with all remote galaxies forever lost to red shift, star formation long since ended, and massive black holes dominating the galaxy.

The game is still very early in development, but here is a list of things we hope to include:

  • Lots of engineering.
  • Fully working computer system.
  • Space battles against the AI or other players.
  • Abandoned ships full of loot.
  • Duct tape!
  • Seamlessly landing on planets.
  • Advanced economy system.
  • Random encounters.
  • Mining, trading, and looting.
  • Single and multi player connected via the multiverse.

Last Friday Notch tweeted, “Just got a demo of the Oculus Rift, and am 100% impressed and will make 0x10c compatible with it.” He teases at the end of the tweet, “(maybe minecraft too)”, which I definitely hope happens, as Creepers will be that much more terrifying in VR!

Meta's Former Head of VR: Oculus Go Was His "biggest product failure" & Why it Matters for Vision Pro

Notch put $10k toward the Oculus Rift Kickstarter prior to his demo.

Gift a Rift

A few days prior to the end of the Kickstarter, Oculus announced a small contest called Gift a Rift. The goal was to give away two Oculus Rift dev kits to deserving indie studios. After 3,000 votes from the community, the winners were Lee Salzman and Phosfiend Systems.

Salzman worked on the Cube Engine and has contributed to games such as Red Eclipse.

Phosfiend Systems is a three person indie studio based in Canada. Their latest game is a work in progress title called FRACT OSC.

Each will receive an Oculus Rift dev kit, t-shirt, and poster signed by the folks at Oculus.

Oculus Rift Press Coverage

The seminal head mounted display has already made rounds in some of the biggest names in online journalism — from Forbes to the BBC.

Here are its latest stops:

Develop’s piece is called “Making Oculus a Reality“, in it they interview Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe.

Ars Technica’s is called “Virtual Reality’s Time to Shine: Hands-on with the Oculus Rift“, the author demoed the Rift at the PAX gaming convention last weekend and says that “Oh shit, this is amazing” pretty much sums up his impressions of the HMD.

Eurogamer’s Jeffrey Matulef also published a piece today titled “Oculus Rift Impressions: It’s Amazing Until it Makes You Want to Hurl“. Matulef, who doesn’t otherwise have issues with motion sickness, is apparently part of a subset of people who get rather nauseous while using the Rift. Oculus’s Nate Mitchell tells Matulef that he’s seen around two to three percent of those that try the Oculus Rift succumb to some level of nausea. Palmer says he can go 8 or so hours using the Rift with no issues with motion sickness so it seems to be highly dependent upon the individual in question.

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That’s all for now, stay tuned!

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Very nice coverage! I have to say that being a backer feels like being a part of an awesome revolution, even if it does not represent the final consumer version, I’ve not been this excited about gaming since the Wii, and at that time I was a very cynical and jaded old gamer. Too bad Nintendo crapped out and stopped producing the games I wanted, oh, side-tracked. I really hope Oculus Rift support in games mean they will have fixed the stereoscopic properties of the games, I have tried playing Half-Life 2 but got a 2D-crosshair at screen depth which ruined the experience, otherwise it’s awesome. Really hoping developers takes S3D seriously with the Rift SDK and all…

  • Ben Lang

    Thanks Andreas!

    There’s definitely a lot to be figured out by developers before VR is ready for everyone, but with ~7,500 kits going out, even if 25% of those are actual developers, that’s ~1,800 developers working on finding out best practices for VR experiences. Carmack changed the reticle in Doom 3 to a laser pointer to prevent the zero-cross-hair depth issue that you described, but there’s still much left to be done! I just hope I don’t turn out to be one of the small number of people who gets sick while playing. Just a few months and we’ll see.

    Are you going to do any dev work on the Rift or did you get it as an early adopter to be able to experience what others will be working on?