This week during Web Summit 2014 in Dublin, Oculus VR (opens in new tab) CEO Brendan Iribe indicated that the upcoming consumer version of the Oculus VR headset is expected to arrive within months. Of course, he didn't provide a specific timetable, but he indicated to a captive audience that Oculus VR's "Crescent Bay" prototype is pretty close to the final consumer product.
"We're all hungry for it to happen," he said regarding a retail release. "We're getting very close. It's months, not years away, but many months."
Iribe also admitted that Oculus VR is worried about its competitors not because they're churning out competing products, but because they may be rushing devices out the door in order to ride the wake of excitement caused by the Oculus Rift release. Buggy hardware could give the whole VR market a bad reputation.
He's encouraging the big companies to take their time and get the hardware and software right. That's what Oculus VR is doing, but the team also doesn't want to release a product four or five years down the road. All eyes, it seems, are focused on Oculus VR to see if its flagship VR device will fly or fail. That's undoubtedly a lot of pressure.
Currently, one of the biggest obstacles that Oculus VR faces is player input. Right now gesture control isn't up to speed, and gamepads, mice and keyboards aren't ideal. But that may change thanks to Carbon Design, which was acquired by Oculus VR (opens in new tab) towards the end of June. This is the same company that produced the controller for the Xbox 360, and it's likely working on a solution right now.
News of the consumer release arrives after the launch of the Nimble Sense campaign launched on Kickstarter. This tech adds hands to the virtual environment using a special depth-sensing camera that's mounted on the top of the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2. The Kickstarter project has already reeled in 548 backers pledging $67,467, surpassing the $62,500 goal.
According to the Nimble Sense production schedule, the finished product is slated to become publicly available in June 2015, the same month we expect to see the consumer version of the Oculus Rift go retail. Still, Iribe's "many months" comment could mean that consumers won't see Rift until the end of 2015 or early 2016.