Happy New Year from AR/VR Magazine! 2016 is going to be an exciting and memorable year for virtual reality, and since there is so much going on this week, I thought I would do a quick overview of what is happening and what we can expect for the year.
There will be lots of major hardware platforms released this year (Oculus, HTC Vive, Playstation VR & controllers) and even more software that will be released either bundled or in parallel, so let’s look at what we know so far:
Oculus Rift Preorder Date Announced
The biggest news is that Oculus announced that it will be opening up pre orders for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift starting at 08:00 PST on January 6. There is no price yet (we will update as soon as we hear something) and pre orders will be available globally, with 20 countries currently included. According to a tweet by Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey, preorders will not sell out.
No chance of Rift preorders "selling out", we will keep taking preorders for as long as people want EVE: Valkyrie!
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 4, 2016
So far, what we know is that all pre orders will ship bundled with Lucky’s Tale by Playful, CCP’s EVE: Valkyrie as well as an Xbox One Controller.
Palmer Luckey also tweeted that the carrying case for the DK1 and DK2 will also be available for the Rift, although it isn’t clear yet if this will be part of the Rift bundle or sold separately.
People really loved the carrying case we included with DK1 and skipped for DK2, so good news: It is coming back, and doper than ever!
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) January 5, 2016
The CES 2016 Consumer Electronics Trade Show opened this week and so far it looks like VR and automotive will be the leading topics for this year. We expect a dizzying amount of announcements to happen over the next week, so we will be busy updating as news rolls out.
Samsung Gear VR’s Rink Motion Controller
Samsung’s Creative Labs will be demoing the “rink” at CES 2016, which they say is “an advanced hand-motion controller for mobile VR devices.” One of the big missing pieces to the Gear VR experience, at least in my experience, is the lack of motion control (other than using a gamepad) and this appears to be their solution.
Some images have also appeared on reddit which show both an add on that mounts on top of the Gear VR (similar to the Leap Motion) as well as a set of hand controllers.
A screen capture video from the Samsung Newsroom was released which shows the device in action.
Oculus Touch Controller Will Release In Late 2016
Oculus has pushed the release date for it’s Oculus Touch Controller to the second half of 2016, with pre orders opening a few months before launch. We assume this might come in parallel to this year’s Oculus Connect 3 keynote.
The devices will launch with an updated “more mature looking” design from the previous version which was revealed last year.
HTC Vive & Playstation VR Releases
The HTC Vive was rumored to release in December 2015, so we anticipate news on a launch very soon in 2016. VIVE will be making an appearance in a big way at CES 2016 with a lot of partners showing off their VIVE related projects, so perhaps we will hear some news this week.
The Sony Playstation VR is also rumored to be released later in 2016. Perhaps GDC 2016 in March might be an interesting event to watch for launch news?
For now, that is all we know for sure. News is coming in from CES 2016 in a waterfall, so expect many more updates!
Sean Earley is the Executive Editor of AR/VR Magazine & co-founder of RobotSpaceship Podcast Network. He is the Director of New Biz Development and Publishing at KEMWEB, a musician, producer & consultant. He loves guitars, VR and coffee.