Out of this world
Rift becomes consumer-ready, Half Moon and Vive address control issues, and RIGS defies the rules: VR moves forward
The rate of technological change within the field of virtual reality right now is dizzying, a torrent of innovations and competitors rushing in to claim a share of the emerging market. Most recently, HTC and Valve snaffled up attention and column inches with their astonishing Vive prototype, but Oculus has just responded in kind with its retail-ready CV1.
The new headset retains a familiar form, but makes the DK1 model and its screen-door display look archaic by comparison. The CV1 unit’s clean lines are appealingly tidy, and the redesigned, partially rubberised strap is far more sophisticated than the harnesses that adorned its predecessors. The difference is instantly obvious when you put the unit on, surprising with its lightness and comfort. The headset has removable headphones, a resolution of 2160x1200 and makes use of Oculus’s Constellation positional tracking system. The result is a device that feels so natural, you can almost forget it’s there. Head tracking feels one-to-one, and we feel no nausea or disorientation during our time with it.
All of this does much to recommend the device, which will go on sale bundled with an Xbox 360 pad at some point in the first quarter of next year. But when it’s combined with Oculus Touch controllers, the experience is revelatory. Functioning in a similar way to Vive’s controllers, the Half Moon prototypes we try are tracked by the Constellation system and provide all manner of options for interacting directly with a virtual world.
After suiting up, the Toybox demo begins with us standing in front of a table covered in objects, including building bricks, toy tanks, robots, and some table tennis paddles. Our virtual hands glow