Facebook has dropped its PC-powered VR headset permanently down to $349 across all regions.
The Oculus Rift is now just a fraction of its original cost, hinting big things are to come from the VR giant. The Rift and two Touch controllers can now be had for $349 across retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, representing a mighty 41% price drop from the Rift's $599 debut in 2016.
This new reduction makes sense from a business perspective. The Rift is the company's core dedicated PC-based headset and soon will be joined by an all-in-one standalone HMD, the Oculus Quest. This diversification allows for more options and accessibility for consumers, widening VR's overall reach.
CES 2019 - In conjunction with a ton of other VR announcements, HTC today revealed a new eye-tracking variant of its $799 Vive Pro virtual reality headset.
Unlike the Vive Pro, the Vive Pro Eye isn't really made for consumers or enthusiast VR gaming experiences. Instead HTC hopes businesses in the enterprise sector will leverage the headset's built-in eye tracking technology for research and development and training scenarios. That doesn't mean it can't be used for VR gaming and apps, of course, and we could see some nifty interactive content roll out thanks to the Pro Eye. The new eye tracking headset is PC-powered and features the same specs as the Vive Pro (90Hz refresh rate, 1440 x 1600 resolution dual AMOLED panels) with the added bonus of eye-tracking sensors.
"Vive Pro Eye is targeted at the enterprise market where eye tracking has a number of immediate benefits-from performance, to accessibility, to improvements in training applications," HTC wrote in an official press release. "It will also benefit developers by minimizing computing resources needed to render high-end VR environments."
CES 2019 - HTC's new Cosmos VR headset can be powered by both a PC and mobile handset.
Meet VIVE Cosmos, VR made for everyone. Easy setup. Comfortable design. Modular capabilities. VIVE Cosmos goes beyond everything you could want in one device.
Today HTC announced its latest VR HMD called Cosmos, an interesting headset aimed at accessibility and comfort. The device looks like a mini Vive Pro and features inside-out tracking, but it's main selling point is a kind of expansive modularity. The Cosmos is primarily a dedicated headset for PC VR experiences and tethers to a desktop or laptop, but a smartphone can apparently be hooked up to it for on-the-go or mobile use (although Vive has yet to detail this feature). This could mean the Cosmos has varying power and perf, similar to a Nintendo Switch's docked vs undocked performance discrepancy.
"Cosmos is the newest VR headset in our family built with absolute comfort in mind. We really wanted this to be something that would make it easy to access your virtual world," HTC said in their recent CES 2019 stream. "In the coming months we'll have more to share on this product, including the kinds of form factors it can expand into."
CES 2019 - HTC's new Viveport Infinity subscription will serve up over 500 apps and games across Vive and other VR headsets, the company today announced.
HTC described Viveport Infinity as the Netflix of VR, but we think of it more like Microsoft's GamePass subscription. The service will give gamers access to over 500 VR-ready bits of content across a wide spectrum of interactive genres, including games, shows, movies, and apps. Interestingly enough, the service supports headset families like Vive, Rift, and other partnered headsets across various vendors.
"It's very similar to Netflix of VR. You have access to over 500 apps including popular games, indies, education, and entertainment," HTC said during its live stream at CES 2019, as per Road to VR. "It's the best value in VR. If you bought 50 apps, it would be $1,000. This let's you access 500 for a fraction of the cost."
Like the rest of the tech world, HTC is gearing up for CES 2019 and will likely show off new VR hardware at the event.
HTC's Vive platform has expanded a lot over the years with the Vive Pro, a new $799 VR headset with expanded 1440x1600 resolution and tweaks, and the mobile SoC-powered standalone Vive Focus with built-in 6DoF tracking. The company also rolled out a new wireless adapter that alleviates one of VR's most cumbersome problems.
So what's next for Vive? Outside of a new higher-end headset that's probably wireless and mirrors the Vive Pro's enhancements, we should expect other peripherals like new wands (or maybe even knuckle-style controllers) with more haptic feedback. And the Vive might go to the cloud at some point, possibly with game streaming.
The HTC Vive Twitter account, which teased some "new gear" to unbox at CES 2019, blurred out one of the boxes containing its new tech. But a closer look reveals what could be Vive Cloud. We're betting this has something to do with streaming and that Valve as well as HTC could be making its Viveport platform a kind of on-demand platform that streams VR games.
Just in case you've ever wanted to enhance your gaming experiences by smelling those in-game worlds you frequent, FeelReal has you covered with its new VR headset attachment.
Smell-o-vision isn't real for a very good reason, as the Nosulus Rift taught us. But that hasn't stopped FeelReal from creating a new device that lets your olfactory senses get a whiff of Skyrim's musty tombs. The Feelreal Sensory Mask clips onto VR headsets like the PSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift and essentially blasts scents into your nose based on real-time gaming feedback. "Have you ever wondered what a dragon smells like? It's your chance to experience Skyrim like never before by downloading a free mod that will add Feelreal support."
But the FeelReal mask isn't just about smelling your games. It also injects tactile sensations like vibrations, cooling breezes, heat, and even light mists. This admittedly sounds pretty cool and could be used in conjunction with specific games to deliver truly immersive arcade-style VR experiences. Right now the FeelReal is compatible with VR games like Beat Saber, Skyrim VR, and even YouTube's VR app.
The ZeniMax vs Facebook saga is finally over.
ZeniMax and Facebook, who were once up in arms over Oculus Rift VR tech, have settled their long litigation for an undisclosed sum. ZeniMax, parent company to Bethesda Softworks, alleged in 2014 that ex-employees including John Carmack (of id Software fame) took trade secrets with them when moving to Oculus. These secrets included specific code that ZeniMax says was used in making the Oculus Rift VR headset. ZeniMax wanted to block all sales of the headset and sought damages from Facebook, who had then bought Oculus for $2 billion.
In 2017 a Dallas court ruled in favor of ZeniMax, finding that Facebook violated NDAs and awarded the plaintiff $500 million. That sum was lowered to $250 million, causing both companies to appeal. Now the lawsuit has been settled for an undisclosed sum, ZeniMax today announced in a press release.
It looks like Valve is working on a new VR headset, with UploadVR reporting about a new prototype VR headset from the company that rocks a Valve logo on the circuit board, with images leaking out onto Imgur.
You'll notice we haven't said HTC in this post, with Valve working with the smartphone maker on the Vive and Vive Pro headsets, but this is a prototype VR headset made in-house at Valve it seems. The new headset seems to have SteamVR tracking photodiodes, with UploadVR explaining: "The leaked headset features what appear to be SteamVR tracking photodiodes under the plastic (similar to how Oculus hides IR LEDs under the Rift). It also has 2 cameras visible and integrated headphones. The padding on the back is visually similar to the padding on Valve's "Knuckles" controllers prototypes.".
The prototype VR headset seems to have a higher field of view, which should in turn mean it has a higher resolution display as well.
This new headset could be a prototype that Valve is making as a footprint for what it wants VR headset manufacturers to make, but it is the last bit of this news from UploadVR's sources that said: "this is in fact a Valve HMD. We've also heard the field of view will be 135 degrees with the Vive Pro resolution and it should come bundled with Knuckles controllers as well as a Half-Life based VR game".
Uh what now? There's a Half-Life VR game included? IS THIS HALF-LIFE 3?!?
HTC has just announced it has now joined the VirtualLink consortium, with the movement pushing a new VR standard with a single USB-C connector that has already been deployed on NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX range of graphics cards.
AMD, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Oculus and Valve are all part of the VirtualLink consortium, but there were eyebrows raised over HTC now being in the ranks. Daniel O'Brien, the GM of Vive in the US said that the company was "working to define not only a connection standard for future VR products but are also undertaking important work to help to define the future of what VR can be".
The news of HTC joining the VirtualLink consortium happened during the 2018 XRDC event held in San Francisco recently. VirtualLink, if you didn't already know, is a next-gen VR standard that will be capable of driving the entire VR experience (HMD, sensors, cameras) from a single USB-C cable. VirtualLink has enough bandwidth for four lanes of HBR3 DisplayPort, 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 for cameras and sensors, and 27W of power.
Oculus co-founder Brenden Iribe, who helped lead various initiatives across the Facebook-owned company's VR sector, is departing the virtual reality pioneer.
With its Rift headset, Oculus helped form springwell of virtual reality we now have today--and the decades of mixed reality experiences that lay in wait in the future. But one of the key players has now left the digital stage. After six long years helping push the forefront of virtual reality, Oculus co-founder Brenden Iribe is stepping away from the platform he helped create.
While Iribe announced his exit from the VR business in a Facebook post, he didn't give exact details for leaving the company, but he did note this would be his first "real break in 20 years." Unnamed sources claim Iribe clashed with Facebook's current mobile-oriented strategy. Iribe, the sources say, wanted Oculus to push into more dedicated and powerful hardware instead of rolling backwards to more widespread consumer-oriented gear.