Disappointing news for backers of the Oculus Rift Head-mounted display developer kit landed this morning, with creator Palmer Luckey breaking a long update drought with word that the date they will begin shipping to Kickstarter backers has been delayed until March 2013.
The timeline shows that the final design for the Rift was committed to from November 11th, and how Chinese New Year celebrations add an entire month to the process as the plant shuts down for the duration.
Based on this current schedule, the goal is to ship the majority of the rewards by mid-March. We may not have all 7,500 kits in the first shipment, but we’ll continue shipping out kits as soon as they arrive. We’re estimating that we can have all the rewards sent out by mid-April. Any pre-orders taken post-Kickstarter (through www.oculusvr.com/preorder/) are expected to ship in late April 2013, after we’ve delivered all the Kickstarter rewards.
On the plus side, the device will now sport a larger 7" screen, with an improved switching time that purportedly "alleviates most of the motion blur people saw in earlier prototype demos", and a new custom-designed motion sensor which supports refresh rates up to 1000Hz, a large improvement over the original propriety tracker originally planned:
The new Oculus sensor supports a refresh rate of up to 1000hz, which is several times faster than the previous sensor. In addition to the accelerometer and gyroscope, it also includes a magnetometer, which opens new doors in terms of sensor data and head-tracking. The data coming from the new sensor will be accessible using the Oculus SDK in easy to manipulate formats (quaternion, matrix, Euler angles). The raw sensor data is also available for those that want to do the math themselves.
Some new photos were also shared, described as the "latest working prototypes from factor" indicating that the final product likely won't look too dissimilar, but certainly quite a large departure from the concept render in the original crowdfunding pitch.
Lastly, a new gameplay video demonstrates the head-tracking fidelity and the progress of Unreal Engine 3 integration with a brief clip showing gameplay in an Unreal Tournament 3 sample game.
The Unity integration is getting under-way with the latest Oculus SDK codebase. We’ll post another update in the near future with footage of Oculus VR inside Unity.
We’re working closely with Epic and Unity on integrating support for the Oculus Rift in the free versions of their engines and will keep the community posted on the progress.
Watch the video below, and head over to the Oculus Rift Kickstarter Page for the full update.