The Oculus Rift release date has finally been narrowed down, closing in on a date that’s been highly sought after since 2012. Just about everyone working with VR has had something to say about that release date. VRFocus has already heard the thoughts and opinions of several companies and figureheads working within the space, and today offers many more from some of the UK’s leading teams.
One studio that’s always happy to talk about the latest goings on in the VR world is Tammeka Games. The Brighton-based team has spent the past year preparing its sci-fi racer, Radial-G, to be ready for the consumer Oculus Rift, though wishes the wait wasn’t quite so long. “As developers of VR games and having set the company up specifically to do this, having followed and supported Oculus VR since DK1 with the initial assumption that commercial VR would be available in 2015, “The Year of VR”, we were still hopeful that we would see something from them this year,” the developer’s Sam Watts tells VRFocus. “So it’s a little disappointing that we have to wait until early 2016 but also completely agree that it cannot be rushed and half-arsed, in order to protect and make VR a great success this time around!
“Although this is the preliminary announcement, we are excited to hear what other details they plan on sharing publicly about the technical specifications, system requirements, any details around input and controllers and of course, launch software line-up. Having recently been able to try out Crescent Bay, we are very excited to have tried what looks to be close to commercial spec and think they have got it right, light and comfortable. The HMD seems very similar in response and screen to HTC Vive so competition is going to be hot! ”
Heading up North, Sunderland-based team Coatsink Software looks forward to the kit’s launch. As one of the rare developers to have already released a VR title commercially, the studio anticipates bringing its Gear VR project, Esper, over to the Oculus Rift. As the team’s Tom Beardsmore tells VRFocus: “We’re really excited about having a definite release window for the consumer rift. We’ve had a great reception for Esper so we’re looking forwards to the prospect of having our game experienced by others on a more specialized platform. We’ve really enjoyed developing for virtual reality and it’s something we wish to continue working with in the future, not only that, but we are interested to see what other things come to life through the medium. It’s exciting news not only for us, but other developers and the public!”
Some studios, such as Fire Panda, are still in the early stages of developing their Oculus Rift titles. An immediate release isn’t as much of a concern for the developer’s Nick Pittom, then, who is currently working on Echo Red. “It seems like all the consumer hardware is really coming together to make 2016 a real big year for VR,” Pittom says. “It’s of course great to have some solid info on release dates and hopefully soon more solid technical info will also follow. Most importantly is input. Vive has a great input system, so it will be very interesting to see what Oculus put out.”
Elsewhere, Triangular Pixels doesn’t even have a confirmed Oculus Rift title at this point in time, sticking with Gear VR for its upcoming chaotic title, Smash Hit Plunder. All the same, the developer’s Katie Goode recognises that this is a step forward for the VR industry. “It’s exciting to start seeing consumer releases for VR HMD devices. For what seems like so long, developers have been in the fortunate position to be experiencing some brilliant VR – but at last we get to see consumers enjoy the platform too, and with all the experiences we’ve been working on as a community. Finally we’ll get to see the reactions of the general public of our products, see them share and enjoy them, and that’s what any creative really wants from their work.
“The consumer version of the Oculus Rift looks incredibly pretty, very classic. I’m really interested in the fact there is improved tracking for standing experiences, as we often demo Smash Hit Plunder standing up it would be interesting to experiment with what they have to offer on the new device. It’s clear that Oculus have spent a long time perfecting the design for user-led needs, which I’m passionate about as a games designer. It’ll be interesting to see how these have translated into the final product when it starts getting placed on the general public’s heads.”
Of course, it’s not just videogame developers that are looking forward to the Oculus Rift. WEARVR, an online marketplace that hopes to become one of the definitive spots to download VR content. A launch window gives Nic Mitham and the team something to work towards: “It’s great to have a launch window confirmed,” Mitham states. “Setting it at Q1 2016 gives Oculus enough time to prepare for a full consumer launch. It’s also good news for developers because they can now align their internal plans accordingly in order to maximise the frenzy expected in the months leading up to the consumer version release. We expect the overall VR market to expand significantly in the run-up to the Oculus launch and very much look forward to being part of this expansion.”
Overall it’s positive signs from the UK industry, then. The Oculus Rift release date gets closer by the day and VRFocus will be reporting on every update, videogame and announcement in the run up to launch.