Kicking off day two of the Oculus Connect virtual reality conference in Los Angeles, CA, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe took to the stage to announce a new Crescent Bay prototype—not the consumer release nor another developer kit, but a new internal stepping stone similar to the old Crystal Cove model.
"Today it is happening. Virtual reality is here," said Iribe. "We thought about flying cars, maybe hoverboards. And virtual reality. It's finally here."
First, Iribe laid out what was necessary for the consumer version of the Rift, as far as Oculus is concerned: Six degrees of freedom, 360 degree tracking, sub-millimeter accuracy, sub-20 milliseconds of latency from you moving your head to the last photon hitting your eye, persistence of less than three milliseconds, 90 hertz refresh rate, at least 1k x 1k resolution per eye, no visible pixels, a comfortable eyebox, and a field of view greater than 90 degrees.
"When you put these together, and you get it right, and you get the content right, suddenly you're there," said Iribe.
Enter Crescent Bay. Crescent Bay is the latest Rift prototype, which Iribe says is "as big of a leap from DK1 to DK2 as we've made from DK2 to Crescent Bay."
"It's awesome," he continued.
More from Oculus Connect: Oculus open-sources original Rift developer kit's firmware, schematics, and mechanics
The core features: 360-degree tracking (there are LEDs on the back of the headset now), a quicker refresh rate, and optional integrated audio (you can move the small attached earbuds out of the way to use your own headphones) along with 360 VR audio software powered by RealSpace 3D's audio system.
The Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype includes LEDs on the rear of the headstrap to offer full 360-degree head tracking.
Iribe also talked about how Oculus's plans encompass both mobile and PC going forward. "Today on PC you get high fidelity and a sense of presence, which is the magic of VR," said Iribe. "With mobile the magic is accessibility, affordability, and portability." He claims that embracing both platforms is the way to "connect a billion people in VR"—a long-standing goal for the company.
They're well on the way, considering Oculus still hasn't shipped a real consumer-facing product. "There's over 100,000 Rift developer kits shipped to over 130 countries around the world. We launched two years ago," said Iribe. "That's incredible." He later said he thinks the actual number is near 130,000 development kits at this point.
Still no mention of a consumer release date, though. All we got was "We're really sprinting towards the consumer version." One of these days...
Stay tuned to PCWorld for more news from Oculus Connect—both Michael Abrash and John Carmack have keynotes later today. Or, for up to the minute news, feel free to follow my Twitter feed, where I'll be posting highlights and photos all day. We'll also have a hands-on with the Crescent Bay model soon.