Oculus VR has unveiled the latest version of their Oculus Rift headset, the Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. This new version of the Oculus Rift boasts a number of substantial improvements over its predecessor, and while purchasable for $350, the DK 2 is meant for software developers who want to make Rift-compatible games. Oculus has asked the public to instead wait for the consumer release, which is promised to be significantly better than the DK 2.
The DK 2’s numerous improvements include a higher resolution display, at 960 x 1080 per eye. The upgraded display also generates no motion blur compared to the headset’s previous versions. In a video feature on the DK 2, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey says: “Our low- persistence display shows an image for only a brief amount of time. Then, the display goes dark until the next frame comes in. Doing this at a high enough frame-rate means that your brain does not see any motion blur or any judder in the resulting image.”
Another notable advancement with the DK 2 is the ability for the unit the track all of the user’s head movement, rather than just the user’s head rotation in previous versions. This allows for users to lean forward and move laterally, which the DK 2 will track and translate into the game being played. In the past, the lack of head tracking meant that performing these actions “would cause the world to feel like it’s stuck to your face,” according to a PC Gamer article. The DK 2’s head-tracking abilities necessitate an additional peripheral: a camera that must be positioned several feet away near eye level.
Oculus has also been getting some high-profile assistance from none other than Valve, who, despite having its own VR prototype, have decided to instead contribute to the development of the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift’s tracking functionality is an example of the fruits of the two companies’ partnership. Valve’s very own Team Fortress 2 was the first game to add support for the Oculus Rift, which is accessible through a command line option.
The Oculus Rift DK 2 is but one side in what is shaping up to be a significant rivalry in the virtual reality gaming scene. Sony also debuted their own VR headset at the GDC, titled “Project Morpheus,” for the PlayStation 4.
No release date for either peripherals have been announced, but the Oculus Rift is expected to be released before the end of 2014.