Gamers who are anxiously awaiting the upcoming Oculus Rift HMD to hit store shelves this year will have to wait a little longer, as the device won't make a commercial appearance until 2015. The ship date was confirmed by a company representative at Facebook's F8 developer conference, who added that the new parent company will be "disappointed" if the Rift doesn't ship to consumers before 2016.
Now here's a little tidbit that should brighten the bad news: Oculus VR has a version of the HMD that it's keeping hidden in a room previously used by Valve Software -- the Valve Room. Andreessen Horowitz's partner Chris Dixon, an investor in Oculus VR, told Business Insider during the event that this version is more powerful than the current Developer Kit 2 and the more recent Crystal Cove.
According to Horowitz, Crystal Cove, which recently dazzled Marcus at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, is only 50 percent of what's running in the secret room. Horowitz indicated that it "closely approximates reality," and doesn't look like the user is in an animated game environment.
"In user testing it gets to a level of realism where almost all people feel that it's realistic," he told Business Insider. "Imagine everything you can see now, but it's a little bit pixelated. Eventually, that [pixelation] will go away." He added that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg likely took one look through the secret headset and decided to purchase Oculus VR.
A separate Oculus VR rep confirmed that the Valve Room model does provide a photorealistic experience. In fact, the experience is so real that people who suffer motion sickness aren't affected by the movements. This version requires a room all to itself because of the amount of processing power needed to provide a realistic experience.
The Oculus VR rep says that this model is tethered to a giant server… for now. The company is looking to scale all that hardware down into units that can be sold to consumers, businesses and so on. Perhaps this is why we won't see the Oculus Rift in 2014; the company wants a photorealistic experience when customers strap on the headset for the first time.