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Oculus Rift takes a step closer to release with new prototype headset

The new headset, nicknamed Crescent Bay, features a higher resolution and refresh rate, integrated headphones and 360-degree head tracking.

The new prototype from Oculus Rift, which features a higher resolution and refresh rate, 360-degrees head tracking and integrated headphones.
The new prototype from Oculus Rift, which features a higher resolution and refresh rate, 360-degrees head tracking and integrated headphones.
Image: AP Photo/Oculus

OCULUS UNVEILED A new prototype of its virtual reality headset. However, the VR company still isn’t ready to release a consumer edition.

The hew headset intended for creators of VR experiences is nicknamed Crescent Bay and features a higher resolution and refresh rate, integrated headphones and 360-degree head tracking.

“That was not easy,” Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told the audience Saturday at the company’s first-ever developers conference. “It’s still not perfect. None of this is perfect yet, but it’s much, much better.”

Oculus’ headset covers a user’s eyes and can create immersive worlds that react to head movement.

The original prototype of the Oculus Rift headset was unveiled in 2012 and has received considerable attention from film and video game makers. Oculus released a second prototype headset to developers earlier this year. Iribe said 100,000 development kits have been shipped to 130 countries.

“I never expected it go this quickly,” Iribe said. “None of us did.”

The Irvine, California-based Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for $2 billion. Iribe said Oculus’ staff has doubled in the six months since the acquisition.

“We’re really spiriting toward the consumer version,” he said.

Oculus recently teamed up with Samsung to introduce Gear VR, a $200 headset with a slot for using the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone as a VR display.

As part of its strategy, it’s pursuing both mobile and desktop VR with Iribe saying that both will “converge, overlap, but not replace one another.” The company plans to have VR app stores on the three major OS platforms: iOS, Android and Windows Phone and a specific one for Samsung’s Gear VR, as well as a web browser experience.

Oculus Oculus VR has also been working with Samsung to bring its own VR headset. The device requires a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to operate and is portable. Source: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Over the past two years, Oculus’ technology has been demonstrated at events like San Diego Comic-Con and the Electronic Entertainment Expo with interactive experiences that recreate scenes from the “X-Men” and “Pacific Rim” films and thrust users into an intergalactic dogfight in the game “EVE: Valkyrie.”

Iribe reiterated several times during his talk at the Oculus Connect conference that creating a sense of presence would be integral for the widespread adoption of VR technology, which continues to leave some users feeling queasy despite Oculus’ strides in creating lower latency and more realistic imagery inside the goggles.

“You should believe you’re there and feel great, even if you’re super-sensitive like me,” Iribe said.

(Additional reporting from Quinton O’Reilly)

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