What we saw earlier this year from Oculus was amazing, but its founders say it can do better. So at its Oculus Connect conference in Los Angeles on Saturday, the company unveiled a new prototype headset it says is a huge leap forward compared to the Crystal Cove version we experienced at CES. Say hello to Crescent Bay (yes, another Laguna Beach reference).
Compared to Crystal Cove, this year’s model sports a higher resolution screen, has improved optics and 360-degree tracking, which means there are now LEDs on the rear of the unit, and not just on the goggle portion (as shown in the pictures above). This means that in addition to being able to glance to your left or right, you can actually spin around in your chair without the experience degrading.
In addition, Oculus CEO explained that the company is going to introduce an audio component to the experience. “Starting today, we are working on audio as aggressively as we are on the vision side,” said CEO Brendan Iribe. Oculus has apparently licensed RealSpace3D audio; the positional 3D audio is optional, though something that will be vital for the best possible experience.
A consumer version still hasn’t been announced, though we could see something sometime next year. Today’s Crescent Bay version is in addition to the help Oculus provided to Samsung with its Gear VR headset. Oculus apparently sees a convergence of both mobile and PC VR, which is why the company decided to help Samsung out; Oculus will apparently have VR app stores on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, including one specifically for Gear VR.
For how advanced Oculus has become over the last few years, there’s potential for developers to create some truly incredible experiences, and not just in video games. We’ve seen how it can heighten the experience of film, and no doubt the technology can be used in a lot of other areas, too.