$350 will net you the second-gen Oculus Rift developer model, now on sale

If you are one of the many, many people eagerly awaiting the consumer model of the Oculus Rift, well, you’ll have to wait a little longer – but in the meantime there is very good news coming on the Oculus VR front. The second Oculus Rift developer kit, which is based on the Crystal Cove prototype that debuted at CES 2014 , is available now for pre-order.

The new Development Kit 2 (DK2) will be the second and final model released before the actual consumer version hits stores (at least that is Oculus VR’s plan, but even they agree that things could always change). The kit is primarily meant for developers, but anyone can put their money down – $350 – and get themselves a unit when the new models begin to ship sometime in July.

This won’t be the VR headset that casual fans have been waiting on, but it will be a major improvement over the recently discontinued first model that sold over 60,000 units. One of the biggest changes will be addition of depth and motion tracking, thanks to a clever combination of a new camera that you position in front of you – designed in-house by Oculus VR – and positional dots on the front of the unit that the camera tracks.

The result is that when you lean to the side or forward, the camera interprets that movement and mimics it in the virtual reality space, without any delay. This was unveiled with the Crystal Cove prototype, which also featured improvements that cut down on motion blur, diminishing the possibility of motion sickness.

Oculus rift crystal cove with camera

The new model does away with those dots by hiding them behind a specially designed plastic cover that makes them invisible to the naked eye, but not to the camera. The result is a more sleek-looking unit than what was showcased at CES. It isn’t the final design of the Oculus Rift, but it is likely close to the final version.

Another major change is the switch from LCD to OLED screens, which present a sharper image that helps to cut down on latency. The image is closer to full HD than the original model, and it offers 960×1080 resolution per eye. You still get the “screen door effect” of seeing individual pixels in the image, but it’s significantly reduced. The new devkit will also offer a 100-degree field of vision, and it will now output a regular image of what the headset wearer is seeing to any connected monitor (as opposed to the earlier kit’s “binocular” effect). As for system requirements, they haven’t changed from the original Oculus devkit. 

The new units are being manufactured now, and demand will be fulfilled based on when the pre-order was entered. The earlier you put your money down, the sooner you’ll receive your unit when they begin to ship in July.

Oculus VR is clearly in the lead when it comes to getting a virtual-reality headset on the market, and those that don’t want to wait, or are looking to work with the headset, can get their hands on it now. There is competition on the horizon, though. Last night, Sony announced its own virtual-reality headset, known as “Project Morpheus.” Oculus isn’t worried though. In fact, the company welcomes the competition.

“Having someone like Sony, or like a Microsoft say ‘Hey VR is a thing that’s going to be mainstream and it’s cool’ and all that, that helps our consumer acceptance,” Oculus Rift creator and Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey told us. “That’s just a fact. That’s especially true if they are targeting a different market than we are.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

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!
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

These are the coolest virtual and augmented reality gadgets from CES 2019

CES 2019 had plenty of VR and AR gadgets on display, including headsets that completely change how you experience virtual reality, and some that don't even require a PC or a phone to run.
Gaming

The best VR headsets at CES 2019 could bring the technology to the mainstream

While there weren't a ton of new VR headset on display at CES 2019, the ones we saw led us to believe that VR could have a real moment soon, both from a gaming and business standpoint.
Gaming

Dive headfirst into the best experiences available now on the Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift brought back virtual reality and put a modern twist to it. Grab your Touch Controllers, put on your VR headset, and jump into the fun with some of the best Oculus Rift games available now.
Gaming

Verizon video game streaming service leaked, currently testing on Nvidia Shield

Verizon is currently testing a video game streaming service that is already running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box, according to The Verge. The platform, named Verizon Gaming, will also eventually launch on Android smartphones.
Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

Transport your Nintendo Switch in style with these nifty cases

The Nintendo Switch, which boasts both wired and handheld modes, needs a good case to ensure it doesn't get beat up while you're on the go. We scoured through dozens of Switch cases to bring you the best ones.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.