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Post by Dan @ 03:47pm 13/12/13 | 23 Comments
Andreessen Horowitz, the investment form founded by Mosaic creator and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen has seeded US$75 million into ambitious virtual reality startup Oculus in a move that will also see the tech industry veteran take a place on the company's board.

Andreessen also currently sits on the board of other high profile tech companies such as Facebook, eBay and HP, so his support of Oculus is a pretty massive vote of confidence in the company from someone that has picked some serious winners in his time.

Tech publication Wired reports on comments from 'sources close to the conversation', that "the funding is based on a valuation of more than $250 million".
It is the largest investment thus far in Oculus, a company founded last year by 19-year-old Palmer Luckey. (The Rift first surfaced at the E3 videogame trade show last summer, when legendary programmer John Carmack brought a duct-taped prototype to the show.) Luckey envisioned the Rift as a DIY kit for hobbyists; but after bringing on two partners, Oculus began selling an early version to software developers through Kickstarter in August 2012.

Chris Dixon, an investor at Andreessen Horowitz, said that while he’d been impressed with the Kickstarter devkit, he was concerned by several technical obstacles that it had yet to overcome. But after a recent visit to Oculus’ headquarters in Irvine, California, Dixon — along with Marc Andreessen and two other partners — saw a new prototype that changed his mind.

“I think I’ve seen five or six computer demos in my life that made me think the world was about to change,” he tells WIRED. “Apple II, Netscape, Google, iPhone… then Oculus. It was that kind of amazing.”
The move is expected to spur the development of a consumer version of the still prototyping Oculus Rift head-mounted display, and the conversation suggests that launch intentions are aimed at 2014.

Our own impressions of the currently available devkit prototype reflect the reserved experience described by Chris Dixon above, so if things have improved as much as his comments suggest, we can't wait to try out a consumer-ready device.












Latest Comments
Deviouz
Posted 04:30pm 13/12/13
this is cool!
badfunkstripe
Posted 04:34pm 13/12/13
Now will this become common place? Or will this just be an invention aimed at convincing people to buy an expensive product to use a couple times before it gets shelved for being impractical.
Taipan
Posted 04:35pm 13/12/13
Damn thats frigging awesome getting that kind of funding. They should be able to knockout a pretty solid product
RuleofBooKz
Posted 05:32pm 13/12/13
what are they asking for the devkit? Like 500 bucks?

Even for 1k i wouldn't call that a "pricey bit of kit" if it does what they are saying it will do and it looks like it will do - ie. a realistic sex simulator
ravn0s
Posted 06:39pm 13/12/13
the devkit is only $300US.
WirlWind
Posted 09:37pm 13/12/13
Awesome, the more I see, the more I am reaffirmed that this shit is good, it works and won't be a fad.

I'm getting so much more excited! Starting saving for the 1080p version :D

And Bookz, it's anything but a "pricey bit of kit". They're looking to launch for around the same price as the current Dev kit, which is only $300 or so.

For what it is, that's actually a fucking bargain.

And badfunk, they've certainly gotten plenty of devs VERY excited and I'm pretty sure it's going to hit a critical mass where most games are going to have support just based off the engine alone, so I'm pretty sure this won't be a "meh, it's a toy, throw it away" after year type ordeal.

I'm legitimately starting to think that with all the momentum behind it (press, funding and highly respected people joining / saying it's amazing) that it could actually be "The Next Big Thing™"
ThunderBunny
Posted 09:55pm 13/12/13
1080p= Left nut given at any price!
Raven
Posted 10:11pm 13/12/13
Geez, Rift is getting a lot of funding from investors. At this rate each is going to get a seriously small slice of the pie once it finally gets out in the wild proper.
DK
Posted 10:30pm 13/12/13
So who here has one. Thinking of getting a dev kit to muck around with over the Xmas break. Or am I better off waiting for the full release?
trog
Posted 02:03am 14/12/13
Geez, Rift is getting a lot of funding from investors. At this rate each is going to get a seriously small slice of the pie once it finally gets out in the wild proper.
Small piece of big pie is preferable for investors! So if they assume that this is going to be the Next Big Thing, it's a perfectly cromulent investment.

All I know is SHUTUP AND TAKE MY MONEY I want one so bad.
WirlWind
Posted 09:20am 14/12/13
DK, wait for the full release. The dev kit is 720p and has issues (albeit you CAN get over it) with being able to see the pixels when it's on.

From all accounts, the 1080p one eliminates that, plus the head tracking is significantly better (apparently the dev kit had lag issues)
maRtz
Posted 01:34pm 14/12/13
my friend has one, it is fucking awesome and it will revolutionize gaming as we know it. As soon as I put it on and started looking around I instantly said to myself "this changes everything"...

for $300 USD it is a bargain, I'd gladly pay $2k for it, that's how much I liked it. I've spent more on worse things so yeah lol...
Taipan
Posted 02:59pm 14/12/13
Hmm $300 interesting. I wouldnt mind laying my hands on one just for the hell of it. I still have reservations about it possibly fucking with the users neck though
TicMan
Posted 03:18pm 14/12/13
Would love to have tried it out at PAX but like everything at PAX it had a queue about 2hrs long.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 03:41pm 14/12/13
I've already told the missus that I'm getting one as soon as it's available. This device is going to be pure win in so many ways.
PRiME
Posted 02:52am 15/12/13
$75million for funding, holy moly, not bad for a garage job startup.
Reverend Evil
Posted 03:05am 15/12/13
I dunno about you guys but I'm not a fan of having something covering my face so someone can easily sneak up and kill me. They should make them like the 3D glasses you get t movies. Not some bulky thing you strap to your head.
Nitro
Posted 09:47pm 16/12/13
I can't wait for the product but as for the investment I'm curious to know what will prevent other players from entering their market? Oculus has a lot of early support but bigger players will be able to produce better quality devices at lower prices once the interface becomes standard. I'm guessing Carmack has some proprietary secret sauce around the software interface? Seems weak long term. Maybe someone with more knowledge of the Rift could enlighten me.
trog
Posted 04:22am 17/12/13
I can't wait for the product but as for the investment I'm curious to know what will prevent other players from entering their market? Oculus has a lot of early support but bigger players will be able to produce better quality devices at lower prices once the interface becomes standard. I'm guessing Carmack has some proprietary secret sauce around the software interface? Seems weak long term. Maybe someone with more knowledge of the Rift could enlighten me.
There are stacks of other companies working on similar things. So far I think Oculus has first mover advantage plus a lot of excellent momentum in gamer space simply because of their initial campaign and all the big names that have been basically doing free marketing for them.

You are right in that there will be competition but as long as they get their product out the door first and it is remotely successful they have a pretty good chance of being the dominant player in the market.

That said, MS or someone might be dumping billions into R&D and production to try to get ahead - a cheaper alternative that is basically equivalent could be a problem.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 10:16am 17/12/13
I'm all for having different makers and models, is a pretty strong way to get costs down.

I am concerned that no standard will apply for software/hardware integration, which may slow down development. People should be working on standards now if they haven't already.
ph33x
Posted 10:57am 17/12/13
People should be working on standards now if they haven't already.

Open standards.
parabol
Posted 12:27pm 17/12/13
The dev kit is 720p

Not sure why people keep saying this - its resolution is 1280x800. If you try for 720p in-game, you can come across aspect-ratio problems, which can contribute to motion sickness.

Next dev-kit should be ramping up around Jan 2014 AFAIK, with motion tracking (so that you can look around poles and lean over edges, something you can't do now) as well as most motion sickness issues apparently solved. Definitely getting this!
ravn0s
Posted 12:51pm 17/12/13
apparently they'll be showing off a new kit at CES that will have full head tracking.
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