SAN FRANCISCO (AP) â€” Itâ€™s back.
The virtual reality headset, the gizmo that was supposed to seamlessly transport wearers to threedimensional virtual worlds, has made a remarkable return at this yearâ€™s Game Developers Conference, an annual gathering of video game makers in San Francisco.
After drumming up hype over the past year and banking $2.4 million from crowdfunding, the Irvine, Calif.-based company Oculus VR captured the conferenceâ€™s attention this week with the Oculus Rift, its VR headset thatâ€™s more like a pair of ski goggles than those bulky gaming helmets of the 1990s that usually left users with headaches.
â€œDevelopers who start working on VR games now are going to be able to do cool things,â€ said Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey.
While VR technology has successfully been employed in recent years for military and medical training purposes, itâ€™s been too expensive, clunky or just plain bad for most at-home gamers.
Oculus VRâ€™s headset is armed with stereoscopic 3- D, low-latency head tracking and a 110-degree field of view, and the company expects it to cost just a few hundred bucks.
A line at the conference snaked around the expo floor with attendees waiting for a chance to plop the glasses on their head and play a few minutes of â€œHawken,â€ an upcoming first-person shooter that puts players inside levitating war machines.
Attendance was also at capacity for a Thursday talk called â€œVirtual Reality: The Holy Grail of Gamingâ€ led by Luckey. When he asked the crowd whoâ€™d ordered development prototypes of the technology, dozens of hands shot into the air.
â€œThereâ€™s been a lot of promise over several decades with the VR helmet idea, but I think a lot of us feel like Oculus and other devices like it are starting to get it right,â€ said Simon Carless, executive vice president at UBM Tech Game Network, which organizes the Game Developers Conference. â€œWe may have a competitive and interestingto-use device, which you could strap to your head and have really immersive gaming as a result.â€
A8 Â THE SHERIDAN PRESS Â www.thesheridanpress.com
SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 2013