Things are about to get real.
The Oculus Rift, a "virtual reality headset" currently catching fire on Kickstarter, has its creators claiming it may just change the future of videogames.
Recent years have seen gaming's big names like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo create new controllers and schemes that allow users to play games using their bodies. The Rift, created by Palmer Luckey and a team of game industry veterans, hopes to achieve an even more immersive gaming experience, one that goes beyond body-controlled gaming and 3D to have users feel they are truly inside a game's environment.
The Rift features a 1,280 x 800 high resolution display and low latency head tracking, which means the visuals a wearer sees within the headset will keep up with his or her head movements. Compared to other VR headsets, the Rift also offers the wearer more extensive visuals, with a wider field of view at 110 degrees, trumping Sony's pricey HMZ-T1 headset, which advertises a 45 degree field of view.
The Oculus team is offering Rift development kits for $300 Kickstarter backers, a much lower price point than similar virtual reality headsets from the likes of Sony, Vuzix or Z800 that feature lesser specs and retail anywhere from $600 to $1,800.
The development kit will come with a playable copy of id Software's "Doom 3"; the company has also enthusiastically thrown its support behind Rift.
What began as a pet project in Luckey's garage in Long Beach, Calif., now has caught the eye of gaming's biggest developers. Everyone from Cliff Bleszinski of Epic Games ("Gears Of War") to Gabe Newell of Valve ("Half Life" series, "Portal") appear in the Kickstarter campaign video for Rift, lending their support and backing. So far, the immediate hype for Rift has turned it into another Kickstarter phenomenon. Despite fundraising for just a little over 24 hours, the Rift has soared past its initial goal of $250,000 with $956,000 raised at the time of this writing.