What will the Oculus Rift Consumer Version (CV1) look like and what will the hardware specifications be?
Oculus knows, but they are not talking.
If I were Oculus, how would I roll out a new device and what would it be? Here is my theory...
Virtual Reality (VR) is cutting edge technology. VR is on the cusp of being the next big thing. History shows us that successful companies are either those who get to market first or those who get to market first with the best product.
Microsoft and to an extent Samsung are in the get to market first camp. Microsoft with many failed tablets in the 90s and Samsung with their constant stream of phone versions and wearables.
Apple is the camp of best product when they are ready. Apple will R&D the hardware & software to produce the best product the market can use (Note I am NOT an Apple fan boy). Apple is not perfect however (iOS 8/Bluetooth) but generally their products are well thought out, designed and received.
The first virtual reality device needs to be in the Apple camp. Well designed hardware with great software. Oculus have even warned Sony to not release Project Morpheus until the technology is ready. They have stated again and again they will not release CV1 until it is ready. This points to them being in the Apple camp.
So how can Oculus achieve this?
Oculus has very little experience in mass producing product. The DK1 and DK2 are not mass produced and are mostly built with off the shelf parts (Note 3) and some clever customization.
Samsung on the other hand are very proficient in building products. Sumsung and Oculus partnered on the Gear VR so it makes sense this partership will continue. Samsung is likely to produce the first Oculus Consumer Version.
On the controller side. Oculus purchased Carbon Design who made the XBox 360 controller. Samsung also produce controllers and even sell theirs along with the Gear VR. The collaboration between these companies will likely result in the controller released alongside CV1.
Oculus have been iterating on the SDK for years now. They have partnered with many developers who are ready or soon to be ready to release software when the CV1 is ready. EVE: Valkyrie is already confirmed to be one the launch titles.
Many existing games have great Oculus Rift support that can likely be quickly adapted for CV1. Elite Dangerous would be one great example.
Oculus released their first app store alongside the Gear VR. This will only continue and the content available will expand as partners add content.
Oculus Rift CV1 Hardware Specifications
- Refined version of the hardware similar to Gear VR with integrated screen (Either 1440p or 4K Samsung AMOLED)
- Probably a Note 4 or Note 5 screen @80 fps or above.
- Note 4 is tried and tested and works with Gear VR. However the Gear VR still produces some screen door effect. If the Note 4 is to be included in CV1 then some special optics are needed to remove or almost eliminate the screen door affect. Remember this is the Apple camp. Oculus cannot release a product with any screen door affect or at least very little screen door affect.
- Samsung have already confirmed they are working on a 4K screen for release in 2015. They are also said to be working with the Adreno 430 GPU which has enough power for 4K 3D video. There is also support for HEVC 4K video CODEC.
4K would all but remove the screen door affect.
- Not many PC systems will be able to generate a native 4K image at 80 fps or more. Most users will set their resolution to say 1440p and let the screen scale it. It will still generate a very nice image with no screen door affect.
- Pass through mode to allow you see outside without taking off the headset (This is already on the Gear VR)
- Simple navigation controls on the headset such as orientation, up/down/left/right/select for menus (Also on Gear VR)
- Light weight (Gear VR)
- None or few cables (Gear VR)
- Kind of cool looking. You will not be cool, but at least not too dorky (Gear VR?)
- Comfortable without too many head-straps. I hate when I get what I call "Oculus Head" similar to bed head.
(Gear VR still has too many head-straps)
- Does not require any special hardware such as a PC with a decent video card. Does not even require a computer, just a Note 4.
- All the apps are installed via the new Oculus app store. Everyone with a phone is already familiar with the app store concept.
- Does not require any special hardware/software knowledge.
- No dealing with primary/secondary monitors. This can be perfected with existing DK2 owners.
- Sold by Samsung and their marketing clout.
- Samsung/Oculus take what they learn from the Hardware prototype and integrate either the 1440p or 4K screen. Then you have CV1
- Prototyping is a great way to perfect a product. It is used in Software all the time.
Oculus/Samsung are likely using the Gear VR as their CV1 prototype