oculus android sdk mobile

Despite announcing that the Oculus Rift would support Android all the way back during the company’s 2012 Kickstarter, Oculus VR has been quite secretive about their forthcoming Android SDK. In an interview at Gamescom 2014 last week, the company alluded that work is still underway on bringing virtual reality to mobile.

In an interview by Enter The Rift (French link) with Oculus VR’s founder, Palmer Luckey, and VP of Product, Nate Mitchell, a question was asked about the powerful graphics cards needed to power virtual reality experiences.

“The best experiences require the best graphics cards, how do you ensure that general public can play VR in good conditions?” asked Nicolas Germouty from Enter the Rift.

“That’s largely up to the content developers,” Luckey responded. “…the Rift can run on extremely low-end hardware even with integrated graphics if the experience is stripped down enough.” Going on to note that the company’s Oculus World demo could even run on a last-generation MacBook Air.

“I think it is a very real problem… even with lower-end experiences, and I agree with Palmer—we have experiences running even on cellphone devices right now—but as we move the framerate higher and higher and the resolution higher and higher, it’s only going to get more and more challenging and so I think Palmer is right, content creators are going to have to be smart about how they create experiences,” said Mitchell. “…initially it may be that the highest-end experiences… you do have to have some serious computer hardware and latest GPU technology, and we’re working with Nvidia and AMD and all the graphics card manufacturers as best we can to really help drive that…”

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It wasn’t stated explicitly, but my intuition leads me to believe that when Mitchell says the company has experiences running on mobile devices, he means running at the 75 FPS that’s recommended of all DK2 titles, which would be quite impressive on mobile hardware.

Oculus CTO John Carmack appears to be one of the people working hard on the Oculus SDK for Android, occasionally tweeting out some bits referencing the platform.

Beyond the company confirming that there is work in progress on the mobile SDK, there’s little info about when it will be released or how deeply it will dig into the Android OS. With Samsung and Oculus apparently working together, it’s possible that we’ll hear first about the mobile SDK when Samsung’s ‘Project Moonlight’ is announced, reportedly happening in early September.

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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."
  • mptp

    Totally inevitable. Palmer talks about how PC hardware outperforms console hardware because of the 8-10 year turnaround on console generations, while PC hardware has a roughly 6-12 month turnaround. Keep in mind that mobile hardware turnaround operates on a similar timescale to PC hardware!
    And with the advent of nVidia’s Tegra K1, which performs on-par with current-generation consoles, I think that mobile devices are just as likely to be able to support (perhaps somewhat simplified) VR experiences at HD, 90Hz within 5 years as PCs are.

    The advantage of mobile devices is *everybody has them*, so you don’t have to worry about Average Jim not wanting to fork out $1000 for PC upgrades, when just upgrading his phone to any of the new models is enough to allow him to enjoy the soon-to-be-thriving mobile VR market.

    • snake0

      You should learn to stop stating your personal opinion as fact, it makes you look like a huge idiot when it turns out to be wrong, as often is the case.

      • snake0

        “nVidia’s Tegra K1, which performs on-par with current-generation consoles”

        Not even close to true. nVidia spout the same crap every generation.

    • drifter

      “And with the advent of nVidia’s Tegra K1, which performs on-par with current-generation consoles”
      you mean last-gen ;)

      Agree, and I think the K1 should be enough to start.
      Mobile IMAX 3D, anyone ?