Gear VR and Project Morpheus both have a lot to prove in 2015 but it’s undoubtedly the Oculus Rift that carries the biggest burden. In 2014 Oculus VR has had the sort of year that few companies will ever get to experience. The virtual reality (VR) specialist has more than doubled in size, revealed three new iterations of its device and even hosted its own developer conference. 2014 for Oculus VR was about growth and progress. Hopefully, just hopefully, 2015 will be the payoff for all of the waiting that began all the way back at that Kickstarter campaign.
Hopes that the consumer Oculus Rift will finally arrive in 2015 aren’t simply based on crossed fingers, though. CEO Brendan Iribe has recently been describing its launch as ‘months’ away, while VRFocus has in the past heard of a possible Beta rollout of the kit perhaps even starting in April. It’s a very real possibility, then, that the device is finally deemed consumer-ready next year.
But there’s a long way to go until fans can think about that release. For starters, we haven’t even seen the final consumer version yet. The Crescent Bay prototype revealed at Oculus Connect comes close with its integrated audio and higher resolution OLED panel, but the company has stated that there are still adjustments and additions to be made before the final kit is revealed. Just when might we see it? The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on 6th – 9th January seems too early on despite the company revealing its Crystal Cove prototype at the show last year. Perhaps the 2015 Game Developers Conference on 2nd – 6th March is a better fit.
It can’t just be the hardware Oculus VR focuses on in these announcements, though. The company will also need to be lining up a wealth of supported videogames and experiences to help that launch. Fortunately, as anyone following VR already knows, there’s no shortage of Oculus Rift compatible videogames available even now. Once those titles have updated their support to the consumer version of the kit and a launch line-up is revealed, there’s going to be plenty for VR fans to play and experience in the months to come.
It’s easy to get perhaps a little too excited at the thought of the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, and the company will no doubt be looking to temper expectations from the start. With a true solution to VR input yet to be revealed and Oculus VR itself hoping to further streamline the kit’s design, we’re due to see plenty of iterations of the Oculus Rift in the future. This first release will no doubt be seen as something of test bed for the company.
Of course, 2015 won’t just be about the release of the consumer Oculus Rift, should it actually happen. Hopefully Oculus VR will grow in other areas. Oculus Connect, for example, will likely make a comeback and with luck be just as significant as it proved to be in 2014. The company should be making a bigger impact at shows such as E3 as well, not simply to promote its launch but also to compete against the likes of Project Morpheus and perhaps even that rumoured Microsoft HMD. Initiatives such as Oculus Research will also hopefully reveal their progress while the company will hopefully reveal how it’s set some its acquired companies, including Nimble VR, to work.
2014 was a big year for VR, but if Oculus VR delivers the consumer Oculus Rift next year then it will likely end up looking like the calm before the storm. VRFocus will be continuing to provide in-depth coverage of the technology, providing you with all of the latest updates.