To coincide with the consumer launch of its Rift VR device, Oculus released two SDKs for developers that included new features and support for future titles.
The first is the latest version of the Oculus PC SDK. Version 1.3 not only includes support for the consumer version of the Rift HMD, but also adds integration with the latest version of the Unity and Unreal engines, support for an app's lifecycle and asynchronous timewarp (AWT). Last week, Oculus announced the implementation of AWT to the Rift, which reduces judder and further lowers latency.
Within the PC SDK is Version 1.0 of the Oculus Platform SDK. This allows developers to implement new features to their games such as leaderboards, matchmaking and peer-to-peer networking. The company mentioned that some launch games already support the new features, such as Project Cars and BlazeRush.
If you want to get your hands on a game on the Rift, you'll have to purchase it through the Oculus Store. However, the company doesn't want to make it the sole source of VR content for its HMD. If you're a developer, you can sell your VR titles on other sites, such as Steam or GOG, by simply requesting a royalty key from Oculus, and the company doesn't take a royalty cut from outside sales. It seems, then, that the company wants to share the wealth of VR content without users having to deal with an entirely new marketplace. As a consumer, all you have to do to access these outside sources is enable the "Unknown Sources" option in the Oculus desktop app.
If you do plan on using the Oculus Store as your main source for VR content, you'll notice two new sections for the digital storefront. The "Concepts" area serves as a place for developers to share their interesting tech demos and experiments with consumers. Oculus is also following in the footsteps of Valve (and more recently, GOG) with an Early Access tab. Obviously the games in Early Access are still in development, but with a new wave of devices available to consumers, developers can use player feedback as a way to improve their games.
DK2s Are Left Out
If you're still using the DK2 prototype, the company has some unfortunate news for you. Even though all versions of the Rift can be used as a development kit, the DK2, for obvious reasons, isn't considered a consumer product. However, if you're a developer with a DK2 in the studio, you can still use it with the latest SDK to develop new titles, at least for this year.
Undoubtedly, Oculus will continue to work on improving its SDK so that developers have more features to use in upcoming titles. Even with an HMD and an accompanying controller, Oculus still has to launch its Touch controllers later this year. This means that there will be more updates to the developer kit that will include improvements to using the company's own brand of motion controllers.