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The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset developed and manufactured by Oculus VR, released on 28 March 2016, making it the first to kickstart consumer-targeted virtual reality headsets.
After being founded two months prior, Oculus, as an independent company, proposed a Kickstarter campaign in 2012 to fund the Rift's development. The project proved successful, raising $2.5 million from the campaign for the development of the product. In March 2014, Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion.
In order to work, the Rift must be connected by a cable to a PC running Microsoft Windows that will run the software (it is not a standalone device).
As a result of a partnership with Microsoft, every Rift sold will include an Xbox One Controller. The purpose of this inclusion is that the majority of virtual reality games that have been in development over the past few years require a gamepad (and do not use motion controllers such as Oculus Touch), so this will allow all users to play those games without needing to purchase third party hardware.
The Oculus Touch controllers are a pair of controllers used for the Rift in selected VR games, and are mirrors of each other - one for each hand. They are lightweight, wireless handheld motion controllers featuring a joystick, buttons, and two triggers- one for grabbing and one for shooting or firing. The controllers are fully tracked in 3D space by the Constellation system, so that the user sees them in virtual reality responding to their real world counterpart, giving the user the sensation of their hands being present in the virtual space, but requires an additional IR LED sensor to track, which is included.
Oculus Touch also features a system for detecting finger gestures made when holding the devices. This allows the user to perform actions like giving the thumbs up or pointing to objects or other users in virtual reality.
Oculus Touch will not be included with the Rift, and will instead be sold separately, releasing in the second half of 2016.
When the user puts on the Rift and no other content is being output to the headset, they are presented with Oculus Home. This is the default environment of the Rift, allowing the user to launch VR applications they own, see if their friends are using the Rift, and purchase virtual reality content on the Oculus Home store from the headset.
Oculus Home's store is curated to only allow applications that run smoothly on the recommended hardware, and experiences are given ratings for their comfort (such as causing motion sickness or jump scares), however developers do not have to use Oculus Home to distribute content for the Rift, it is entirely optional.
Notably, Oculus Home allows users to buy an application while inside a VR environment preview of that application rather than a conventional store page.
Oculus has stated that the Rift is primarily a gaming device and that their main content focus is gaming.
Existing games with a first person or fixed-camera perspective can be ported to VR with some development effort, however Oculus has stated that the best virtual reality games are those that are designed for the Rift from the start.
A number of AAA games have already added Rift support (and can be played with the Development Kit 2), including Project CARS, Elite: Dangerous, Euro Truck Simulator 2, and Dirt Rally, as well as a number of indie games such as Aaaaa! and Ether One. Fans and hobbyists have also modded support for the Rift into several popular titles which allow for extensive low-level modding, including Minecraft and Flight Simulator X.
At the release event for the Rift in June 2015, Oculus announced 9 launch titles for the Rift, including EVE: Valkyrie by CCP Games and Edge of Nowhere by Insomniac Games. It also announced that it was working with other developers including Final Fantasy developer Square Enix , Rock Band developer Harmonix, and The Order: 1886 developer Ready at Dawn.
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