Display resolution is critical to creating compelling virtual reality (VR) titles. Anyone that’s used the first development kit (DK1) for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) will know that pressing a low resolution screen against a user’s eyes will cause a ‘screen door effect’ in which the pixels themselves can be seen. It’s an issue that will continue to improve as display technology comes along, with recent HMDs using 1080p displays as the next step up and the Oculus Rift’s Crescent Bay prototype beating even that. But, according to Oculus VR’s Michael Abrash, there’s a long way to go before resolution is truly convincing.
Speaking at this year’s F8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco, California, USA, Abrash noted that VR HMDs would have to reach 16K resolutions in order to achieve ‘retinal resolution’. “To give you just one example of how much better visuals can get; in order for Crescent Bay to deliver the same pixel density as a monitor at a normal viewing distance, it would have to have a resolution of about 5K by 5K per eye, something like 20 times as many pixels as it currently has,” he said. “In order for it to have retinal resolution at a field of view of 180 degrees, it would have to have something on the order of 16K by 16K resolution, roughly 200 times as many pixels.”
Oculus VR is yet to announce the specific resolution for Crescent Bay, though has confirmed that the HMD uses two screens instead of one. The device also features integrated audio and full positional tracking. While not the consumer version of the device, both Oculus VR and Facebook have noted that it is ‘on the cusp’ of what will be released. A launch date for the consumer Oculus Rift is yet to be announced, with rumours of a possible hint of a 2015 launch stemming from F8 recently shot down by Facebook.
VRFocus will continue to follow the Oculus Rift closely, reporting back with any further updates on its progress.