Virtual reality gaming headsets aren’t exactly new. There was Nintendo’s ill-fated Virtual Boy and even the cult classic film “The Lawnmower Man.” However, VR headsets are becoming increasingly prevalent. Devices like the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and Project Morpheus show the growing trend of virtual reality, particularly in gaming. Development company Valve (“Half-Life 2,” “Portal,”) partnered with HTC to deliver the Vive, and there’s good news for developers: dev kits should be arriving soon.
Engadget reported that select developers, including Devin Reimer (Owlchemy Labs) received their dev kits already. While the Vive is the result of a partnership between Valve and HTC, Epic Games announced compatibility with their Unreal Engine 4. Valve hooked up a number of lucky developers with free Vive packages. Coupled with Epic’s release of UE4 at no cost for devs, there’s ample opportunity for experimentation.
Valve’s OpenVR software development kit (SDK) was released earlier, further encouraging dev adoption of virtual reality technology. Although the Vive dev kits have shipped, there’s no word on the general release. Gamers will have to wait, but if developers are receiving their goodies already, chances are the public won’t have a long wait.
When the Nintendo Wii debuted, it featured motion controls, which were incorporated into the Playstation 3 as well, albeit at a smaller scale. Later both the PS3 and Xbox 360 implemented motion control add-ons. With each new console generation, better graphics were also implemented, with the most recent gen (Playstation 4, Xbox One) supporting the ultra-lifelike 4k resolution. The general trend is player engagement, and VR headsets take it a step further, with full immersion. However, virtual headsets like the Oculus Rift and Vive aren’t compatible with consoles, just PCs. Microsoft is reportedly working on a VR wearable, supposedly dubbed the Fortaleza.
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