Developing a new virtual-reality headset for video games, technology company Oculus set the lofty goal of $250,000 today on the crowd-funding online service Kickstarter but within hours it far surpassed the goal and is now reaching close to $427,000.
Immersive gaming may move from reality to virtual reality, if Oculus has its way. Based in L.A., Oculus created a new virtual-reality headset ideal for gamers. The Oculus Rift produces a stereoscopic 3D experience with a huge field of view—110 degrees diagonally—so you don’t see the screen, as a press release explains.
But it seemed Oculus needs everyone's help. In order to speed the distribution of early development kits to game developers and enthusiasts, Oculus started a Kickstarter campaign today. Setting the goal at $250,000 might seem incredibly ambitious - most campaign goals average under $10,000 - but the Rift goal was met within several hours and the contributions currently total $427,000. Around 1,750 donors have backed the project.
Kickstarter lets everyday folks donate money to projects posted online by people with projects they want funded. If a project reaches its goal, the donors receive the rewards outlined to them in the campaign. For the case of Rift, those who donate $5,000 or more can visit the Oculus lab, receive a developer kit, a copy of Doom 3 BFG, Developer Center access, a T-shirt, and the poster, all signed by the entire Oculus team, in person.
Other levels of donations range from $10 to the aforementioned $5,000.
"All of us at Oculus are excited to bring truly immersive VR to people who love video games like we do," said Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus. "Virtual reality has been the long sought after Holy Grail, which most people only ever dreamed of... until now. The Rift is a true game changer that will help make VR the standard for gameplay in the very near future."
In the campaign page, Oculus lists the technical specs:
Head tracking: 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) ultra low latency
Field of view: 110 degrees diagonal / 90 degrees horizontal
Resolution: 1280x800 (640x800 per eye)
Inputs: DVI/HDMI and USB
Platforms: PC and mobile
Weight: ~0.22 kilograms
The Rift has been winning rave reviews from gaming journalists. "Even with the low-resolution display, the effect of using the Oculus Rift as you play is mind-blowing. You are essentially transported into the game, with the headset recording every tilt and turn of your head and body." G4TV wrote.
It's uncertain when the Rift will be available to the general public.