Mark your calendars, virtual reality fans: Oculus plans to hold a press event on June 11 in San Francisco. The event announcement follows earlier news that the Facebook-owned company will open consumer-ready Rift headsets for pre-orders later this year.
The invitation bears a “Step into the Rift” tagline, which could refer to the various stages of the device as it goes from preview to pre-order to shipments, which will put them in customers’ hands in early 2016. At the very least, the VR company will likely disclose more details about the commercial product launch—Oculus’ first—as well as hardware specifications.
See also: The Oculus Rift Will Ship In Early 2016
The image shows a very different design than the current or previous models of the headset, one that’s much slicker and polished than developer models released to date (at least as much as a mocked-up graphical rendering can). The components to the left and right seem likely to be the built-in audio, as the company promised. However, it’s not clear if the finished retail version will actually look like this when it finally comes out, or how much it might ultimately cost.
Interest in VR technology has heated up quite a bit since Oculus held its successful 2012 Kickstarter. Now there are numerous entrants vying to alter our realities—everyone from Samsung and its wire-free Gear VR headset, to HTC, which blew away folks who got an early peep at its Vive headset.
I’ve tried out all three, including Oculus’ latest “Crescent Bay” prototype, which has made significant improvements to graphics handling. All share the goal of bathing eyeballs in pseudo-realistic (read: immersive) environments without also making you vomitous, a common hazard of earlier VR setups.
Oculus Rift will need to cover that base if it hopes to beat back HTC’s Steam OS-powered Vive or Sony’s PS4-exclusive “Project Morpheus,” and steal some spotlight back from other interesting face-gear projects such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google’s forthcoming reboot of Google Glass. One thing that helps: The enthusiastic fanbase Oculus has drummed up among developers, who have had a couple of years lead time to work with the technology.
Soon, the public will get the chance to check out the results for itself.
Image courtesy of Oculus