The Oculus DK2, which is the developer edition Oculus has been selling for over a year is now unavailable. For most of the developer community, including myself, this was the version that introduced us to Oculus hardware and the Oculus SDK and it got us to work building the content eco-system that would be in place when a consumer version hit store shelves and was finally in market.
That era is now over. Oculus seems singularly focused on final delivery of a consumer product.
The DK2 sold 118k units globally, which was a little over 2x what DK1 sold. In all, Oculus has about 175k developer kits it has released. Only time will tell how effective a two year runway with development kits was for this breakthrough technology. In a world where content is king, the main thing holding Oculus back has been the availability and diversity of consumer oriented content. In that time, offerings like Google Cardboard have shipped millions of units. The question is, does a rising tide lift all ships? Or does something like Cardboard erode the available install base for Oculus?
The DK2 however, was not the latest Oculus model. Select developers had the Crescent Bay model made available to them. Instead of using a single OLED panel, the Crescent Bay prototype actually included two separate panels, one for each eye, an improved fit, and lighter design. Is Crescent Bay going to be released as a consumer version, or was this merely a test? While the clear push to continue to move the technology forward is respected and appreciated, reviews felt mixed and talk about the future of the model has been relatively quiet.
The consumer version of the Rift has yet to be made available for pre order. However, Oculus has committed to making it available with an Xbox controller and has promised additional advancements beyond what was available in the Developer Kits. In terms of cost, Palmer Luckey has indicated it will cost north of the $350 the developer kits cost, but will “be in that ballpark”.
It remains hard to put the release of the consumer Rift into context, and with so many questions still out there, the anticipation continues to build. I am confident in saying we know the technology will be amazing. It’s interesting we still know so little about it so close to release, but I sense that is part of what is making this so fun, and keeps us coming back for more.
For developers, the true fun still awaits. You have the opportunity to build content for what could be the most technologically advanced consumer product with respect to graphics and immersion. To see a product released on that type of platform is a once in a career opportunity, and hopefully, one that has been worth the wait.