Oculus Reveals New Virtual Reality Headset Prototype

Oculus announced a new virtual reality headset prototype Saturday, saying the product is close to being ready for consumers.

Oculus Reveals New Virtual Reality Headset Prototype
Getty Images / Dan R. Krauss

Oculus VR has unveiled a new prototype for its virtual reality headset on Saturday. Although that design isn't ready for consumers, the developers say they are getting closer to a retail version of the device. 

The new prototype, named Crescent Bay, is described as a big leap forward from previous models. The company's blog says this latest design is dramatically lighter, has optional integrated audio, 360 degree head tracking and an updated display. 

The biggest complaint on previous models, such as this one, were latency issues that made some people nauseous. But a writer for TechCrunch who tried out the new system says lag is nonexistent on Crescent Bay.

That same writer said it's the improved audio that finally makes a satisfying virtual reality experience possible. "The expanded positional tracking volume and integrated high-quality headphones will make the sound of Oculus as immersive as the visuals."

However, The Verge writes Oculus is encouraging developers to create games intended to be played while stationary which restricts the freedom of getting to move around and stand up in virtual reality.

Prior to Saturday's conference rumors floated around that a handheld controller to be used with the system would also be revealed but that didn't end up making an appearance after all.

Right now Oculus's biggest partner for making content for the system is Epic Games, but Engadget writes that the amount of developers working on VR games is likely to skyrocket from here now that the hardware is becoming more developed.

It's still anyone's guess as to when a product will actually hit the market.

But Forbes quotes Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe saying: "[Crescent Bay is] not perfect, but it's a huge step forward to the consumer Rift."

That announcement comes a day after Sony revealed its virtual reality headset Project Morpheus is 85 percent complete and a final product is likely not far off. 

There's also good news for smaller companies looking to play around with virtual reality but are afraid of the costs: Oculus's original development kit is now completely open-source.

This article includes images from Getty Images.