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Oculus: VR could be more about movies than games; "We don't know what the killer app is"

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Oculus: VR could be more about movies than games; "We don't know what the killer app is"

When the Oculus Rift was Kickstarted, it was taglined ‘Step into the Game’. First and foremost, we expected, VR would revolutionise gaming. But two years and a Facebook buyout later, its scope has widened.

“We’ve said from the beginning we’re big gamers," said Oculus’ Nate Mitchell. “But it may well end up being that VR is more about film than games."

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Oculus: "a new platform emerges every 10 years; Zuckerberg believes VR is coming next"

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Oculus: "a new platform emerges every 10 years; Zuckerberg believes VR is coming next"

CES doesn’t do many panels - it’s all about the blue LED lights of the show floor. But this year the LA tech event held a session on ‘Emerging Trends in Gaming’. VR was sure to be the first item for discussion, even if Oculus head of studios Jason Rubin hadn’t been mic’d up for the occasion.

“Mark bought Oculus because he believes that a new platform emerges every 10 years," said Rubin. “And he believes that VR is coming next."

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Oculus VR swallows up a three course meal of one mo-cap expert and two developers

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Oculus VR swallows up a three course meal of one mo-cap expert and two developers

The news that there were still people not employed by Oculus VR did not go down well in the company's underground lair, which is also on the moon. That’s why the VR developer isn’t just hiring individuals, now, it’s swallowing up whole teams. You probably know someone working there now, or perhaps you are reading this from your office in the aforementioned underground layer. 

Today, Oculus VR announced three new acquisitions amounting to many brains that will be consumed by the virtual hive mind: Nimble VR, 13th Lab and mo-cap expert, Chris Bregler. 

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Oculus console partnership was never on the cards

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Oculus console partnership was never on the cards

Back in March, Oculus were bought by Facebook for $2 billion. The deal took much of the tech world by surprise because there’d been rumours that the console giants, Sony and Microsoft, had been interested in buying the VR company.

However, Oculus’ CEO Brendan Iribe says that “we were thinking the whole time that we wouldn't partner with Microsoft or Sony."

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James Cameron calls VR “a yawn, frankly”

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James Cameron calls VR “a yawn, frankly”

James Cameron, director of Aliens, Terminator 1 & 2, and... Avatar, is none too impressed by the new virtual reality tech on the market, saying "There seems to be a lot of excitement around something that, to me, is a yawn, frankly."

Cameron’s famed for looking to new technologies to enhance his films but he doesn’t think VR tech is “mature" enough to use yet.

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50-100 million Oculus Rifts will need to be sold for it to be a "meaningful thing as a computing platform"

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50-100 million Oculus Rifts will need to be sold for it to be a "meaningful thing as a computing platform"

Facebook has over a billion users. Even babies, unable to communicate with the world besides leaking, have Facebook pages. So it’s probably with good reason that Mark Zuckerberg thinks in big numbers, numbers like 50-100 million. That’s the number of Oculus Rift units that will need to be sold for the device to be a "meaningful" platform, which the Facebook head honcho dropped in an earnings call

Not quite a billion then, but gosh that’s still a very large number. 

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Hang out in the Batcave with the Oculus Rift this winter

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Hang out in the Batcave with the Oculus Rift this winter

Batman: The Animated Series is the Dark Knight at his very best, more faithful and entertaining than any of the films or that bewildering Gotham TV show that’s recently appeared. Come this winter, owners of VR devices like the Oculus Rift will be able to step into the Caped Crusader’s Batcave, based on the Animated Series version. 

A “narrative experience" rather than an objective-based game, this VR Batcave is being designed by visual effects company Otoy Inc. along with Bruce Timm, creator of the “Timmverse", DC’s animated universe. 

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Oculus Rift Development Kit 1 plans are now open source, go “make something awesome” say devs

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Oculus Rift Development Kit 1 plans are now open source, go “make something awesome” say devs

VR sensation Oculus Rift is two years into development now and is, what some would say, a ‘pretty big deal’. From a Facebook takeover to a deal with Samsung, Oculus has sprouted from the mind of a 19-year-old Palmer Luckey and bloomed into the biggest thing in consumer electronics. 

Whilst Oculus are proud of that progress, they acknowledge that none of it would be possible if not for their fans and supporters.  As a thank you, Oculus are making the hardware and software details for Development Kit 1 of the Oculus Rift open source. 

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John Carmack on what the Oculus Rift's integrated audio can do for gaming

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John Carmack on what the Oculus Rift's integrated audio can do for gaming

The weekend’s Oculus Connect conference has flooded the internet with keynotes from staff at the VR company - where water cooler chat, you imagine, ends with a totally reengineered water cooler.

In one panel, CTO John Carmack talked up the good VR can do for sound in gaming - where audio is traditionally under-resourced.

“All that audio stuff that everybody always wanted to do and we never thought made the grade for traditional gaming? Now we can actually make a difference," said Carmack.

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Get your face ready: a consumer beta for the Oculus Rift could kick off as early as next April

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Get your face ready: a consumer beta for the Oculus Rift could kick off as early as next April

Oculus VR has yet to spill the beans on its plans for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, and when we’ll actually be able to slap the headset on our eager faces. However, a public beta of the consumer version may kick off as early as April, 2015. 

That’s less than a year away, so start moisturising your face now.

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The finished Oculus Rift will cost less than £250

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The finished Oculus Rift will cost less than £250

Right now, you can order an Oculus Rift dev kit 2 for $350, or about £215. But if you’re not a developer you absolutely mustn’t, say Oculus. The dev kit isn’t for you. Instead, you must queue up at conventions, or wait for the headset’s consumer version.

There’s still no word on when we’re getting that - but we do know how much it’ll cost. No more than $400, or a little over £245. And that’s the upper end of the price scale Luckey and co. are looking at.

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Oculus and Samsung announce the Gear VR headset for smartphones

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Oculus and Samsung announce the Gear VR headset for smartphones

That rumoured Oculus and Samsung-developed Gear VR headset has become a real, tangible device you’ll be able to plonk on your noggin in the Autumn.

Strap an empty Gear VR to your face and you’ll simply look a bit like Watchmen’s Owlman. But slide a Galaxy Note 4 into the side and you’ll be subject to a virtual reality experience not entirely unfamiliar to Oculus Rift dev kit owners.

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Oculus VR "could" become a Sony or Microsoft, but "don't want to"

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Oculus VR "could" become a Sony or Microsoft, but "don't want to"

Oculus have found themselves in a curious position. With the backing of Facebook, they’re not only able to produce the hardware to push VR into the mainstream, but the platform to sell its games.

They’re not interested in locking down VR development, though. Oculus might have the tools to become a Sony or Microsoft - but “that’s not what we’re gonna do".

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Notch is back aboard the VR train: "I'm over being upset about Facebook buying Oculus"

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Notch is back aboard the VR train: "I'm over being upset about Facebook buying Oculus"

Mojang were in talks with Oculus to build a version of Minecraft for the Rift - right up until the VR company announced their acquisition by Facebook, and Notch publicly pulled the plug.

“I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook," explained the Mojang founder. “Their motives are too unclear and shifting, and they haven’t historically been a stable platform. There’s nothing about their history that makes me trust them, and that makes them seem creepy to me."

Given a few months’ distance and an unending stream of brilliant VR demos, however, Notch has started to come around.

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Begin your Jedi training with the Sixense STEM System and Oculus Rift DK2

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Begin your Jedi training with the Sixense STEM System and Oculus Rift DK2

When I was a smaller human being, I used to pretend to be a Jedi by deflecting tennis balls with a plastic lightsaber. One day the tennis ball won, and my seemingly indestructible lightsaber snapped in half. My path to become a real Jedi was over…

That was until as of five minutes ago, when I saw this tech demo for the Oculus Rift DK2. A company called Sixense Entertainment have tinkered away at a new peripheral that works in tandem with the Oculus Rift DK2 to enable full position and orientation tracking for both the user’s head and hands.

Technical lingo aside, all you need to know is that it works. See for yourself in the video below.

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Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot let Comic-Con attendees battle kaiju with the Oculus Rift

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Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot let Comic-Con attendees battle kaiju with the Oculus Rift

Legendary, ReelFX and Oculus VR have put together a VR “experience" based on kaiju-bashing action flick, Pacific Rim. It was at Comic-Con last week, and sounds exactly like the sort of awesome multi-media projects I hope more companies use VR to make. 

Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot is a combat simulator that uses Industrial Light and Magic assets from the Guillermo del Toro movie developed using Unreal engine 4. Unfortunately the trailer below just shows a few clips from the film, so if you weren’t at Comic-Con, you’ll just have to use your imagination. 

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