A little over a year ago Oculus launched its first virtual reality dev kit for the Oculus Rift. It was pieced together not from what's necessary to create an excellent virtual reality experience, but by pieces of technology that Oculus could get its hands on quickly and affordably. In the year since, Oculus has been hard at work and today they've reached a new milestone. Introducing the Oculus Rift DK2 (Dev Kit 2), which will be launching this July.
In the past year Oculus' research has focused on what sort of technology it will require to bring virtual reality to the public. To be blunt, this actually refers to technology that won't make the Oculus motion sick. While the first dev kit wasn't terrible, through it Oculus was able to recognize several areas of opportunity which they've improved upon in the DK2:
- 1080p OLED screens, 960x1080 per eye (up from 720p on the original dev kit)
- Low persistence OLED screens: In addition to the increased resolution, the new screens feature an improved refresh rate (75hz, 72hz, 60hz) that when combined with Oculus persistence (2ms, 3ms, full) technology makes motion blur and judder, two of the largest causes of motion sickness, minimal
- Improved lens resin to provide better clarity
- 100° Field of View (up from 90°)
- 40 LEDs added to the frame for positional tracking (in conjunction with Oculus' camera)
Then there are several more additions to the DK2 to help developers experiment, things like a build-in latency tester, engine integrations for Unreal and Unity, and so on.
It's important to note that the DK2 is not the final version of the Oculus Rift and that that VR headset still has a while to cook before being released. In fact, in an interview with The Verge an Oculus rep said that not even a single piece of the DK2 will be included in the final retail version. Virtually every bit will be improved upon, including specifically the resolution:
"We know what we need to ship, we know what parts we need to do it, we know where we can get those parts, and now it's just a matter of playing the waiting game and putting it together.
Now it's just a waiting game. While the retail version of the Oculus Rift's 2014 launch date is still unknown, preorders for the Oculus Rift DK2 are now open. Ringing in at a pricey $350, the DK2 also includes Oculus' own little camera meant for positional tracking. That's still a $50 increase over the initial development kit, however. As a poor consumer, let's hope they can bring the price down a bit for us for the official release.
Again, it must be stated -- this is a developer kit and not a consumer unit. Please don't buy this unless you're getting paid to make games, folk. Wait for retail.