Oculus VR has been on a roll lately, first wooing Doom wunderkind John Carmack to come over from the company he founded, id to develop the software end, and announcing a consumer HD version of its Oculus Rift VR headset at E3 last year. But apparently just going HD isn’t enough to combat what Oculus calls “simulator sickness.” One of the solutions the company’s engineers have come up with is doing as much as possible to reduce the space between pixels, and as with many things these days, that means 4K video. Polygon explains:
Oculus is working on various ways to improve the Rift playing experience including the elimination of “simulation sickness” which Iribe claimed had been achieved in new prototypes currently being tested. He also said that the Rift could be used as an IMAX-like 2D display for next generation consoles.
Earlier this year the Rift’s inventor Palmer Luckey indicated that 4K displays are just one of the improvements he is considering. “There’s a lot of other things to work on besides resolution,” he told PC Gamer. “We can’t just sit around and wait for 4K displays to hop around.”
The Oculus Rift works by splitting a single display between two eyes for stereoscopic 3D, but with a 4K panel in the goggles, that could generate either a Full HD 3D image, or a 4K 2D image, similar to how passive 4K TVs deliver 3D today. The proximity of the screen could easily emulate an IMAX-style experience, at least in terms of field of view, while the high resolution would mean that it could still look great.
The consumer, HD version of the OculusRift is scheduled to launch in 2014, so any 4K edition is probably at least 18 months off, but there are a lot of possibilities here. The HD version of the Rift is scheduled to come in around $300, but if you could get a 4K, giant screen fix for $500, that puts it competitive — at least for single people with strong foreheads — with an actual 4K television. Food for thought indeed.