Since the launch of the Oculus Kickstarter, we’ve been focused on building the best virtual reality platform. The original development kit was a strong starting point that showed the world a glimpse of presence, but its shortcomings prevented it from delivering great VR.
Almost exactly one year after shipping the original dev kit, we’re pleased to announce DK2, the second development kit for the Oculus Rift!
The second development kit features many of the key technical breakthroughs and core elements of the consumer Rift including a low-persistence, high-definition display and precise, low-latency positional head tracking.
DK2 isn’t identical to the consumer Rift, but the fundamental building blocks for great VR are there. All the content developed using DK2 will work with the consumer Rift. And while the overall experience still needs to improve before it’s consumer-ready, we’re getting closer everyday — DK2 is not the Holodeck yet, but it’s a major step in the right direction.
Like the Crystal Cove prototype, DK2 uses a low persistence OLED display to eliminate motion blur and judder, two of the biggest contributors to simulator sickness. Low persistence also makes the scene appear more visually stable, increasing the potential for presence. The high-definition 960×1080 per-eye display reduces the screen-door effect and improves clarity, color, and contrast.
DK2 also integrates precise, low-latency positional head tracking using an external camera that allows you to move with 6-degrees-of-freedom and opens up all sorts 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.
Precise positional tracking is another key requirement for comfortable virtual reality; without it, an enormous amount of your real world movement is lost. We’re looking forward to seeing the new experiences the community creates now that positional head tracking is a core element of the platform.
We’ve also included updated orientation tracking, a built-in latency tester, an on-headset USB accessory port, new optics, elimination of the infamous control box, a redesigned SDK and further optimized Unity and Unreal Engine 4 integrations.
All in, DK2 delivers a massive leap forward in terms of the quality of the VR experiences you’re able to create and enjoy. The consumer Rift will be another major step beyond that, but in the meantime DK2 brings the world closer to great consumer virtual reality than ever before.
Even with all these changes, we’ve tried to keep the price as low as possible. DK2 will be $350 at launch and you can pre-order the hardware starting today at www.oculus.com/order. We expect to begin shipping the first batch of DK2s in July, and we’ll ramp up production based on interest.
We’re debuting the second development kit this week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco with EVE: Valkyrie by CCP, UE4 Elemental Defense by Epic, and a new demo, UE4 Couch Knight!
Couch Knight was built by the team at Epic Games to showcase the positional tracking and basic avatars in a setting with shared presence. The tech demo juxtaposes a realistic scene with two cartoon knights, controlled by the players, who burst to life and battle throughout the room on couches, shelves and even the players’ avatars.
The players’ head movements and position are actually mapped to the avatars using UE4’s inverse kinematic system, which makes for a taste of a social experience.
A huge thank you to the team at Epic for bringing Couch Knights to life! If you’re at the show this week, be sure to swing by the booth and check it out.
We’re deep into development on the consumer Rift. We have a lot more planned, including improvements to comfort, resolution, tracking, software, ergonomics, optics, industrial design, and the overall experience.
Virtual reality is going to continue to evolve rapidly in the coming years. There’s no cutting corners or ‘good enough’ when it comes to VR; the consumer Rift needs to be perfect and we’re dedicated to getting it right. We’re moving as fast as possible and promise it’ll be worth the wait.
The passion of the VR community is what has made all this possible, from the Kickstarter campaign to the hundreds of games and experiences we've seen so far. And this is still just the beginning.
We truly believe virtual reality will change the world — Thanks for being part of the journey with us.
– The Oculus Team