Oculus Unveils Crescent Bay VR Headset; Announces Mobile SDK, App Store

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Oculus Unveils Crescent Bay VR Headset; Announces Mobile SDK, App Store
Facebook Inc's Oculus VR unit announced an upgraded prototype of its virtual reality headset that has higher resolution and built-in audio, but the company said it is not ready to sell a device to consumers.

The new Crescent Bay device also is lighter than the most recent prototype of the Oculus Rift headset the company has made available to developers, Chief Executive Brendan Iribe said on Saturday at an Oculus developers conference in Hollywood.

"This is not the consumer product," Iribe said. But he added that "it is much, much closer."

Apart from a higher resolution, the Crescent Bay is lighter, offers a faster frame rate, and features 360-degree head tracking. The integrated headphones have expanded 'positional tracking volume', and the company has used RealSpace3D's audio technology, combining "HRTF spatialization and integrated reverberation algorithms."

Unlike the previous editions of the Oculus VR headset unveiled, the Crescent Bay headset is meant to be a 'feature prototype', and is not a developer kit and won't be available to purchase. It is meant to showcase the new features to developers before the Development Kit is released.

The Facebook-owned virtual reality company also announced (via Techcrunch) the Oculus Platform, which will allow developers to make VR apps and other content available to Samsung Gear VR consumers in a store being launched this fall. The company also revealed its will release the Mobile SDK by the end of October, helping developers make apps for th platform.

A separate Gear VR Innovator Edition developer kit has been announced for release later this fall. Oculus has also teamed up with game engine maker Unity to provide support for its platform.

Earlier this month, in an interview with Eurogamer, Oculus VR Founder Palmer Luckey set a ballpark range for the price of the consumer version of the Rift, which many believe is going to launch in 2015. According to Luckey, the Rift is going to cost users between $200 an $400, which will depend on a number of factors.

"We want to stay in that $200-$400 price range," he told Eurogamer. "That could slide in either direction depending on scale, pre-orders, the components we end up using, business negotiations."

Facebook, the world's largest social network, acquired two-year-old Oculus in July for $2 billion, making a bet that the untested technology will emerge as a new social and communications platform.

The Oculus Rift goggles create a 360-degree view that immerses players in fantasy settings. Users mount the device on their heads with a strap.

Written with inputs from Reuters

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