Hands on: Oculus Crystal Cove

The next generation of Oculus Rift is here, and the improvements make an impressive device even more impressive.

Oculus Rift inventor and Oculus VR CEO Palmer Luckey has been coming to CES for years now, but this year is different. Very, very different. Rather than fighting to get the attention of manufacturers and tech giants, they are now coming to him, and several of the vendors at CES are even trying to use the Oculus Rift to enhance their own products.

Luckey’s invention, the Oculus Rift, is one of the few products that has earned the title “game changer” and can actually live up to that. The virtual reality headset has people excited, and that excitement has led to well over $100 million in funding. With that money, Oculus has continued to refine the Oculus Rift in preparation for an eventual retail release.

The previously released developer’s model that sold for $300 was just a taste of the finished product, and it had several issues – perhaps most notably the motion blur. Turning your head quickly could cause the image to blur and distort, which in turn caused some people to experience motion sickness. It was a problem Oculus was always aware of, and always planned to correct. With the new Crystal Cove version, it isn’t completely gone, but the headset has taken a big step in the right direction.

When you watch a movie, you aren’t seeing a single continuous image. Instead, you are seeing multiple frames per second, which your eyes then relay to your brain which processes them as one image. The same is true of video games, which used to boast about offering 60fps, but now are ashamed if they can’t reach that. With Oculus Rift, things are a bit different. Rather than trying to give you more information, the Crystal Cove deliberately gives you less.

Oculus Rift Crystal Cove hands on 4

According to Luckey, the key to putting forward an image that looks consistent is what he calls “Persistence of Vision.” With the Crystal Cove, when you move quickly, the image you see is actually truncated. The frame shows the correct image, but then cuts to black until the next frame shows the next image like a shutter effect. The result is that your brain fills in the gaps for you and produces a smooth and consistent image.

You are essentially tricking your brain into seeing a single image. The result is a better experience with less motion blur and crisper visuals. While the developer Oculus Rift was exciting, the Crystal Cove is a big step forward.

The second major improvement is the new motion tracking. The headset now has several dots on the front of it, which are tracked by a camera – which was also developed by Oculus – that then tracks the movement of your head to recreate that in the image you are seeing. If you crouch, the image will reflect you crouching. If you lean, it will look like you are leaning.

In the previous model of the Oculus Rift, part of the complaints that led to motion sickness were due to the lack movement tracking. Your physical movements weren’t completely recreated in the virtual world, which causes disorientation and inner ear confusion. With the new camera that allows for motion tracking, you can crouch in real life and have that movement recreated. Peak around a corner by leaning out, and you will feel like you are peaking around a corner. It is a big improvement.

The displays have also changed from LCDs to OLEDs, which cuts down on latency and offers a crisper image.

There is still no word on retail pricing or availability, and the Crystal Cove model isn’t quite where Oculus wants its retail product to be yet. The company is definitely on the right track though. Be excited.


  • Motion tracking
  • OLED screens
  • Significantly less motion blur


  • Image quality is still underwhelming
  • No pricing
  • No availability
Product Review

It's not just light. Alienware's m15 is an entirely new breed of gaming laptop

Thin and light gaming is a new category of laptop, led by options like the Razer Blade. Alienware now has its own entry -- The Alienware m15. It’s not the thinnest, lightest, or sleekest option in the bunch, but it doesn’t hold back in…
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Listen up! White noise device may make VR motion sickness a thing of the past

A simple device that sends white noise vibrations to the inner ear could be all it takes to fix the long-running problem of nausea in virtual reality. The developers are now seeking FDA approval.

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.

Kanye West wants to meet ‘Metal Gear Solid’ creator Hideo Kojima, for some reason

Rapper Kanye West wants to meet video game designer Hideo Kojima in New York. Nobody knows the reason behind the meeting, but fans are speculating that it may have something to do with Death Stranding for the PlayStation 4.

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

‘Kingdom Hearts III’ out in the wild, director asks for support to stop spoilers

Kingdom Hearts III has been leaked, with several copies of the game out in the wild. The game's director, Tetsuya Nomura, responded to the situation, calling for help from gamers to stop spoilers from spreading online.

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.

Project Stream testers get to keep a free copy of ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’

Those who participated in Google's technical test of Project Stream won't be able to access the service to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey after January 15, but they'll get to keep the game on PC anyway.