Palmer Luckey holding the first Oculus Rift developer kit (DK1).

Earlier words from Oculus CTO, John Carmack, seemed to confirm that a second Oculus Rift developer kit (DK2) was in the works, but the language was a bit ambiguous. Now, Oculus Co-founder Palmer Luckey explains clearly that a second Oculus Rift developer kit will be released before the consumer version.

Jumping into a Reddit discussion on Carmack’s comments about a second Oculus Rift developer kit, Palmer Luckey shared the following:

We’re working on a lot of new tech for the consumer product, we want to ship a new development kit before the consumer version launches. That way, developers can build and test their games on the nearly final hardware that users will be playing at launch. The timing of that dev kit is tightly tied to our progress on these new features.

We are not going to formally announce a new development kit or the consumer version anytime this year. Also, we’re working to ensure that content built using the current Rift development kit is compatible with new Oculus hardware, though there will be a bit of integration required to take advantage of the new features, especially for the best experience.

The second paragraph tells us that we won’t see the Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2 (DK2) in the remaining two and a half months of 2013. The consumer Oculus Rift is expected to launch in 2014, so we can expected to see the DK2 prior to its launch.

Beyond these comments, the company hasn’t confirmed any details about what the DK2 will entail. My money is on the DK2 featuring a wireless 1080p display with positional tracking.

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Some good news for a small number of early Oculus Rift supporters: responding to a question about whether or not Luckey would make good on a promise to offer new products to pre-Kickstarter backers first, he responded “Of course I will!”

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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."
  • Druss

    Your money is on wireless? Wow, I must have missed something. I never thought they would do anything to introduce any unnecessary latency, but you’re the guy with the website. :P

    • Mageoftheyear

      I don’t want to agree with Druss, but wireless does seem like a stretch. Perhaps this is Carmack’s “secret project?” Hmm… more likely a peripheral…
      In terms of hardware guesses: positional tracking will be accounted for in some form (as this is definitely something new that devs need to be able to implement properly), QHD (1440×2560 iirc…) panel, revised movement mechanism to move the panel forward/backward and adjustable optics (only god, Luckey and Carmack know how.)

      As for when DK2 will hit the market? I’d say they’ll aim for shipped and arrived in devs hands 3-4 months before CK1. That should be long enough for devs to optimise and short enough to dissuade John Doe from taking the plunge because he just cant wait any longer.
      They haven’t clarified what scale of production they are aiming for have they? Will there be criteria or requirements for placing orders such as an order number for a DK1?

    • EdZ

      Current wireless video systems can get below 10ms in test cases, Finding a chip that bothers to implement the protocol with that performance outside a lab is another thing, but that’s something I can’t imagine Oculus not working on. Wireless operation is probably right behind positional tracking in the list of desired features (beyond even panel resolution increase).

      I can imagine G-sync threw a spanner in the works if they were looking at wireless protocols that were based around HDMI/DVI though. I haven’t heard and news of wDP anytime recently. Carmack did show up to speak at the nvidia unveil event, so I wonder if an implementation of wDP compatible with variable vblank intervals is what he’s been working on.

      • Mageoftheyear

        I’m sure they are working on it and it would be an amazing feature – I just have my doubts as to whether it will be in gen 1. There’s no denying how important wireless is as a selling point to the mainstream. Haaa! Get it!? Mainstream? Cause it’s streaming and the main target aud-… oh forget it.

  • Fernando

    Oculus posted this pic on Twitter a few days ago: http://t.co/yiv87qJ86Q

    I asked if the thingy on the side was a wireless antennae… I was told it isn’t. Now I have my doubts

    • Connor Brubach

      It may possibly and hopefully be a positional tracking device? Similar to the new stems? If so this may be one of the reasons why it fixes motion sickness with those who have had that major problem.

    • EdZ

      Erm… That’s a bollard. In the background. Check the full-size image: it’s out of focus, and the fabric strap passes in front of it.

      • Mageoftheyear

        Lol, Oculus trolling.

      • Fernando

        OMG… you are right, LOL

    • Fredz

      Looks like a rotating USB plug to me.

  • Kevin

    I have my doubts about Wireless in DK2 or CK1, but that is definitely a feature that the company will need in the future.

    Then again, with Wireless Headphones already being a thing and the STEM coming soonish, a wireless Rift doesn’t seem too far off.

  • Holoplex

    I wouldn’t expect wireless video on the first consumer iteration. It’s likely enough of a challenge to keep the position and orientation tracking latency down and focus on that experience. Adding an additional layer of latency with wireless video could make it more difficult for developers to optimize.

    My wishlist is for a larger FOV and adjustable IPD in addition to the higher resolution and position tracking.

  • Runewell

    I hope they make the consumer Oculus Rift with a 1080p screen, built-in hardware running Android, and allow the headset to bypass Android if connected physically to a PC to run more graphically-intense software. The timing might work out since they plan on launching late next year. I could see them pricing the device at $350 with a Tegra 4i chipset built-in. This may also allow them to add in ports for peripherals.

    • Ben Lang

      That would be awesome to see, though I’m not sure they could pull of Tegra 4i next year for $350. Having a fully encompassed VR device is probably what we’ll see in the future, but being able to have PC pass through for really graphically intense stuff would be great too.

  • Don Gateley

    This is sounding more and more like something my children might be able to buy when they grow up.