Following the exit of former Oculus CEO Brendan Uribe from Facebook early in the week, it had been reported that his departure has been precipitated by an internal shakeup at the tech giant that saw the scrapping of the next generation PC-powered Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets that he was working on, the Oculus Rift 2.
According to the report on TechCrunch, the exit of Uribe from Facebook was due to “fundamental” differences in views on how the product was to be developed with Uribe disagreeing with Facebook’s “race to the bottom” approach towards the performance of the virtual reality devices.
Facebook’s Oculus Rift headsets currently enjoy a dominant position the market with 47% of hardware usage. It is such a commanding lead over its competitors which some analysts feel does not currently justify the roll out of the next generation of virtual reality headsets.
Despite the TechCrunch report about the abandonment of the project, it has now emerged that the project is still on track. Oculus has confirmed that it still has “future plans” for its Rift 2 headsets and that it is planning for a future version of the Oculus Rift. The new Rift 2 will be compatible with the current content available on the Rift.
It is not yet clear how long this will take or what the new headsets will pack. The VR tech giant already lots of hardware in its stable with new released planned in 2019. The development of new hardware generally takes years. However, the tech company has already taken a huge leap by making the transition from the experimental stage to the consumer version of the headset. With its planned launches in the coming year, we are also going to see two new headsets being released within the one another.
The Current Oculus Rift Hardware
Presently, the Oculus hardware consists of Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Oculus Go and the Oculus Quest. The recent launch of Oculus Go earlier in the year was quite momentous and it went on to see some impressive sales although it’s mostly been deployed in media use instead of gaming applications as previously expected.
In 2019, the Oculus Quest will also play a massive role in delivering the Rift experience to end users. This will be a standalone device with inside-out tracking functionality along with Oculus Touch controllers.
Analysts expect the arrival of Oculus Quest in the spring of next year to depress sales of Oculus Rift devices because consumers are likely to find tangle-free devices that are no longer tethered to their PCs more appealing. But that comes with a sacrifice. For the price of convenience, consumers may have to compromise on the quality of graphics.
Some analysts have questioned whether the Oculus Rift 2 is even necessary when the Oculus Quest is able to accomplish everything that its PC-based counterpart does.
To succeed in a market where consumers already have too many options, the next-generation of Oculus Rift headsets will need to provide users with a superior quality of graphics based on the latest graphics cards technologies. Incorporating NVIDIA’s RTX 2070 as the bare minimum in graphics quality might appeal to the buyers looking for drastic improvements in the visual aspect.
Consumers no longer want to put up with tethered system so a wireless system would be ideal especially if it is one capable of transmitting large amounts of data with minimal weight and form.
There are other headset technologies or functionalities that consumers are already used to such as eye-tracking along with foveated rendering which provide for easier graphics processing and better social interaction. Current headsets also provide for hand-tracking which allow users to have a real-life physical interaction with the virtual environment. It is reasonable to expect that a future headset will preserve or upgrade these features to give users a step-up in functionality. There are high expectations but the mere fact that something in the works will likely reassure buyers and the industry on the prospects of Oculus VR headsets.