Android gamers seeking a more immersive experience may soon be in luck: A specialized version of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset will be released next year.
Brendan Iribe, chief executive officer of Oculus VR, made the announcement yesterday at the GamesBeat conference in Redwood City, Calif.
Iribe said that when the standard version of the Oculus Rift VR gaming headset is released to consumers in 2014, there will also be a version for use on Android devices. The mobile version will be smaller and lighter and will use the smartphone or tablet's processor to operate.
In an interview a few weeks ago, Oculus VR Chief Technology Officer John Carmack had said that although the initial version of the full-scale Oculus Rift headset will be tethered by a cable to a PC, the company's goal is to produce a wireless, standalone headset, which would run on Android software and use a system-on-a-chip processor, within 5 years.
The lighter, mobile version of the headset announced by Iribe yesterday is a logical step toward that goal.
The company later told VentureBeat that the mobile Oculus Rift would provide virtual reality for Android devices, but that there would be no announcement for iOS compatibility.
If virtual reality gaming takes off under Oculus Rift, as many techies hope it will, the Oculus Rift could give Android a strategic advantage over Apple in the war for mobile gamers’ hearts and minds.
The Oculus Rift headset project was launched in August 2012 as a Kickstarter project for developer versions of the VR headset. Developer models began shipping in the spring of this year and can be ordered from Oculus VR for $300.
Carmack has stated that a second developer version, with a higher display resolution than the current 720p and with better tracking of head movement, will soon be released.