Oculus announces second developer kit

Oculus Developer Kit 2. Source: Oculus.



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20 March 2014 | 0

In the wake of Sony’s Project Morpheus announcement Tuesday and Microsoft’s vague rumblings of something to do with the Xbox One, VR forerunner Oculus countered with its own exciting news: the release of its second developer kit (DK2).

“Almost exactly one year after shipping the original dev kit, we’re pleased to announce DK2,” wrote Oculus in a blog post. The second generation Rift Dev Kit is now available for purchase for $350 – somewhat less than the $999 mooted by Sony for its consumer release of Morpheus, although what Oculus will charge for the finished article has yet to be confirmed.

The second-gen Rift dev kit seemed imminent after Oculus halted sales of the original Dev Kit last month. The new model is based off the Crystal Cove prototype.

Dev Kit 2, like Crystal Cove, is a multi-faceted improvement on the original Rift, offering a low-persistence display, higher resolution, and positional head-tracking. The new screen is a huge upgrade from the pixelated display of the original, whose low resolution often resulted in a notorious “screen-door effect.”

DK2’s leap in visual quality stems not just from using a higher resolution 960x1080p-per-eye, but the low persistence OLED screen prevents screen judder and motion blur, making you less likely to get sick or dizzy using the device.

You’ll also receive Oculus’s external camera, first introduced with Crystal Cove, which allows full positional tracking instead of the original’s mere head-tracking. In other words, with the previous model you could turn your head in any direction, and it would rotate your view in-game. Now you can also lean forward, side-to-side, or away from the external camera and your view will follow along.

“Positional head tracking opens up all sort of new gameplay opportunities like peering around corners, leaning in to get a closer look at objects in the world, and kicking back on a virtual beach,” wrote Oculus.

Less vital, but still important: DK2 also updates the original’s prone-to-drifting orientation tracking, and features a latency tester, a USB accessory port, and elimination of the original’s control box.

“All the content developed using DK2 will work with the consumer Rift,” the post continued.

Oculus expects the first DK2 units to ship in the US in July.


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