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After all the waiting, Oculus has finally announced a release date for the Oculus Rift. In a new post on the Oculus Blog, the company has revealed that the virtual reality headset is now available to pre-order and will ship to consumers on March 28 (with addition headsets available in stores in April). But make sure your finances are in order as the Rift will retail for the budget-busting price of $599.
The complete Oculus Rift package will include the headset, a sensor, the Oculus Remote, an Xbox One controller, and a copy of Lucky’s Tale, a VR platformer developed in-house by Oculus. All pre-order customers will also receive a copy of Eve: Valkyrie, a dogfighting game from CCP Games. Running this software through the Oculus Rift will require a fairly powerful PC, and the company has posted a list of system requirements so users can get the “full experience” from their virtual reality headset:
Oculus Rift: Recommended System Requirements
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
- Processor: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- Memory: 8GB+ RAM
- Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- Input: Three USB 3.0 Ports + One USB 2.0 Port
- Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit or newer
But if you’d rather buy all the necessary equipment at the same time, Oculus will begin pre-selling Oculus Ready PCs (bundled with a Rift headset) in February. Prices for Oculus Ready PCs will start at $1,499.
It’s been a long time coming, but Sony officially announced Project Morpheus, their virtual reality headset for the PS4, at the 2014 Game Developers Conference last night.
Like the Oculus Rift, Sony’s Morpheus is concerned with presence, a state where “players feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game.” Unlike the relatively self-contained Rift, Morpheus is a head-mounted display that uses the PlayStation Camera to track head orientation so “as the player’s head rotates, the image of the virtual world rotates naturally and intuitively in real-time.” The Morpheus headset can also connect with the PlayStation Move, allowing players to bring objects, such as a sword, into their virtual world and manipulate it using gesture controls.
The Morpheus headset also makes use of 3D sound to orient the player to the game world. Sony gave the example of sounds heard from above and below the player, such as “footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or engine noises of helicopters flying overhead.” Sound will also reach the player differently depending upon the orientation of their head in relation to where the sound came from.
If you’re attending this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Franciso, you’ll be able to test out the Morpheus headset at Sony Computer Entertainment’s booth. Four demos will be available including a virtual reality version of Square Enix’s Thief, as well as Eve: Valkyrie, a multiplayer dogfighting shooter set within CCP’s Eve universe, and two tech demos: “The Castle,” a Move-based medieval combat simulator, and “The Deep,” which places players in a sharkproof cage.
Sony eventually plans to release the Morpheus headset as a commercial product, but the release date is currently unknown and Sony would only say that development is continuing.