Irvine CA– With the Oculus Rift on the brink of consumer release (Q1 2016), the innovation team was eager to hear more about the latest breakthroughs that had yet to be announced. Our Innovation Technologist, Jason Sankey, and I got the chance to sit down last week and figure out just what the June Oculus Live event was all about. An event that had the allure and mystery that usually can only be found at an Apple Live event.
Not only was Oculus purchased by Facebook last year for an astounding $2 billion, but last week Oculus had yet another unique partnership to share. That partnership was none other than one of the biggest names in gaming; Xbox.
Oculus + Facebook + Xbox = Talk about a powerful trio of tech experts….
This new collaboration points to an interesting turn in which Oculus positions itself firmly within the video gaming industry. The first takeaways to come out of this announcement and collaboration with Xbox is that each Oculus Rift will be shipped with a wireless Xbox controller and will more user friendly.
While the focus of the event was on Oculus’s play in the video gaming industry, there were some other significant announcements that captured our attention:
- The latest model will be light enough to be held in one hand and has been optimized for people who wear eyeglasses
- Among the demos showcased, there was an emphasis on third person gaming capabilities
- Spatial audio integration
- “Oculus Home,” a social aspect of the Rift that allows you to view when other people are online and make purchases directly within the headset.
- “Oculus Touch,” handheld motion controllers that let you see your hands in virtual reality (allows users to pick up and point at objects).
Oh yeah, the Rift has also integrated headphones that have the ability to quickly detach in case you’re more of a Beats guy/gal.
It’s not all about video games. But it is all about “gaming.”
Two of the trends we have been keeping a close eye on this year are “virtual reality is finally reality” and “let’s play.” Both of which, point to the proven success of gamification in our industry and the ability to use gaming dynamics to solve modern day problems. The release of the Oculus Rift to the public in 2016 will be the first time that a high quality virtual reality experience has been placed into the hands of the average consumer. Products such as the Oculus Rift offer truly immersive experiences that will (and already do) provide users the ability to transport to places often times seem unimaginable. The announcement of the “Touch” opens up a whole new realm of possibilities that can be applied to the healthcare space. Everything from surgery simulators to simple educational tools can be drastically improved using these exciting new devices to empower users to think beyond traditional tactics and norms.