Looks like you’ll be be-rift of VR this winter
It’s a busy time for virtual reality at the moment: the HTC Vive gearing up for an end-of-year release, and Project Morpheus should be ready to go at the start of 2016. Surely this means the ancient Titan that is the Oculus Rift must slowly emerge from its millennia-long slumber, cracking mountains and destroying the forests that have grown on its back since being announced in the distant past of 2013. Surely it must be ready to wander this tiny earth and beat its VR competitors, being the first to have the honour of sitting on your face?
Unfortunately, there will probably be no facesitting from Oculus this year. GameSpot has reported that it’s looking incredibly likely a consumer model of the Oculus Rift won’t actually be shipping this year. The inventor of the Rift Palmer Luckey has been pretty inconsistent with how things are going over at Facebook. At an SXSW 2015 panel, he says:
“I did say that before we made a lot of changes to our roadmap and we’ve expanded a lot of the ambition we had around the product and what we wanted to do… us partnering with Facebook allowed us a lot of things that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise, like hire 300 people to be working on getting the Rift out as quickly as possible at the level we want it. I can’t comment on the date one way or another in either direction but I can say that nothing is going horribly wrong. Everything is going horribly right.”
So it looks like Luckey is taking the “it’s done when it’s done” approach.
If that sounds a bit wishy-washy to you, here’s something a bit more concrete to say it isn’t coming this year. During a quarterly earnings meeting, Oculus owner Facebook’s CFO David Wehrner stated that there were no plans to ship the kit at the end of 2015, saying:
“We have not announced any specific plans for shipment volumes in 2015 related to Oculus. I’d just note that Oculus is very much in the development stage, so it’s early to be talking about large shipment volumes, and our expense guidance reflects any volumes that we might do in 2015.”
If that ain’t as good a confirmation as we can hope for I don’t know what is.
Of course, nothing is officially confirmed. The HTC Vive may put the pressure on them to release the damn thing, but for the moment don’t hold out for much of anything from the Rift in 2015.