Oculus Debuts Consumer Version of Rift Virtual Reality Headset

Through a partnership with Microsoft, the Rift will be compatable with a wireless Xbox One controller, allowing users to stream Xbox games to the Rift.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe

"With this device, you'll finally be able to teleport to new worlds. For the first time, you'll be inside the game," said Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe as he introduced the consumer version of the company's hotly anticipated Rift virtual reality headset, scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 2016, during a Thursday press conference in San Francisco.

Oculus also announced a partnership with Microsoft that will involve bringing a wireless XBox One controller and adapter to the Rift that will allow users to stream their Xbox games to the headset via Windows 10.

"It's the content," Iribe said of the key to the Rift, also introducing several game developers working with Oculus, including CPP Games, for EVE: Valkyrie; Gunfire Games, Chronos; and Insomniac Games, Edge of Nowhere. Oculus also said it intends to invest $10 million to speed up independent game development for the Rift.

During the press conference, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey introduced a prototype (dubbed "Half Moon") of Oculus Touch, a pair of handheld tracking controllers to give the sense of touch and support for communicative gestures.

Reviewing the features of the headset, Iribe said the Rift includes custom optics with two OLED screens, a wide field of view and constellation tracking system. "There's an external sensor that you put on your desk, and that's it," he added.

He highlighted work on getting the audio right — a critical part of the experience. The Rift has integrated headphones that are removable should a user prefer to use their own.

Iribe also emphasized comfort, saying that the Rift would be lightweight, and has a form factor that's been developed to accommodate glasses. "The goal is you put it on and it disappears," he said, adding that users will also have a "dial to adjust lens distance, allowing that extra level of comfort and presence. And, it's wrapped in fabric to make it easy to wear."

Oculus' announcement comes just prior to the start of annual gaming show E3, which will be held next week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Hollywood has taken a keen interest in VR, not just for gaming, but for narrative content.