In a Step Toward Consumer Virtual Reality, Oculus Unveils New Goggles

'Crescent Bay' model is a step toward consumer VR products

Oculus unveils next step in Virtual

Oculus VR today announced a new version of its developer goggles, dubbed “Crescent Bay”

This new, lighter-weight VR headset is lighter than its Oculus predecessors and feature built-in headphones. According to Oculus, Crescent Bay also boasts “360° head tracking” and “expanded positional tracking volume.”

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In a keynote at the Oculus Connect conference in Hollywood, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said Crescent Bay is a step toward a consumer version of its VR goggles, but did not mention a date for that launch. “None of this is perfect, but it’s much better,” said Iribe, adding that Crescent Bay’s new feature set “allows for sustained presence” — that is, the feeling that you are actually experiencing a scene, not just watching it.

The Crescent Bay prototypes were available for demos at the conference.

Iribe reviewed the technical challenges of creating VR products that deliver “presence” to consumers. “If we had known how hard it was, we might not have started,” he admitted. But Iribe was upbeat in his assessment of VR, telling the assemblage of developers that the new platform would change the world.

Though Oculus’s Kickstarter campaign was only two years ago and its developer kits are not intended for consumers, over 100,000 developer kits have been delpoyed, said Iribe. Oculus head of product Nate Mitchell said there have been over 700,000 downloads from the Oculus Share site, where developers distribute their work.

Iribe and Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash urged developers to seize the opportunity VR presents. “There’s a full-on race to establish the next big platform, be it VR or AR,” Abrash said, pointing to the Google Glass augmented reality system, the Oculus Rift and now Samsung’s “Gear,” developed in partnership with Oculus.

Abrash argued “VR is the final platform, one that wraps our senses and can deliver any experience we’re capable of having.”