Having first cropped up on crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter back in 2012, the Oculus Rift blazed past its initial $250,000 goal ten times over. And now – after wowing gamers left, right and centre at E3 – Oculus VR have secured $16 million in private funding in order to bring their virtual reality gaming headset to the market.
With a formidable cash reserve via Spark Capital and Matrix Partners in tow, Oculus VR hope to bring the impressive technology to the general consumer sometime in 2014. In a statement on the company’s official Kickstarter page, here’s what the founder Palmer Luckey had to say about the project’s ambition.
“As I mentioned before, the funding opens up all sorts of doors for Oculus. It helps us hire the best and brightest minds in VR from around the world. It lets us experiment and prototype with more cutting-edge tech. And it allows us to build a badass, consumer VR gaming platform, the likes of which the world has never seen.”
Attaching directly onto the player’s head like a pair of high-tech night vision goggles, the Oculus Rift permits the user freedom of their hands to hold a controller simultaneously. The result, the development team hopes, is a futuristic user interface that will propel the immersive quality of gaming towards the stratosphere. However, the trick, according to Luckey, is to assimilate the technology as an everyday gaming custom.
“Virtual reality will be one of the most significant technologies of the 21st century. It has the potential to drastically alter the way we play, communicate, and learn. I think that VR can (and will) be as widely used as Facebook or Twitter, and the societal implications will be far greater!”
What was once a novel and niche concept has bolstered its way into the mainstream, and industry elders such as Valve’s Gabe Newell and id Software’s John Carmack have openly endorsed the Oculus Rift. Unfortunately, other than a nebulous 2014 release window, the company have remained tight lipped about a potential release date for the hardware. Although, given the impressive equipment at work under the headset’s exterior, it would be best to start gathering those pennies from today onwards.
What are your impressions of the Oculus Rift? Do you consider virtual reality to be the next big advancement for the gaming industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.