Oculus Rift Crescent Bay Blows Previous Versions Away

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Oculus Rift Crescent Bay Blows Previous Versions Away

The first ever Oculus Connect conference recently took place, and with it came a new prototype version of the Oculus Rift known as the Crescent Bay. What's known about this version so far, however, is going to really put some change in the game, and will likely have Microsoft and Sony very deeply concerned. Why? Because what's known about the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay so far is pretty impressive stuff, and could ultimately make it the market leader when it emerges.

The Crescent Bay packs in not only built in audio, but also an improved refresh rate and better resolution, making it a complete experience all the way around. That's a great improvement, yes, and it's augmented further by making the built in audio systems removable, meaning that if you've got a really impressive pair of studio-quality headphones you prefer using, you'll still be able to use said headphones with the Crescent Bay, assuming what's currently known about the system holds true through to release. Better, all this is in a slimmed-down package that puts less weight on the head and neck and should, as a result, wear better.

That's a great set of features all by itself, but it gets better. The new developer kit is actually sufficiently far ahead from the previous one that the distance between the two is being compared to the distance between the original kit and the one that followed. To call that a substantial leap would almost be understatement. Demos are also in the works, and further improvements are also set to follow.

There's still likely to be a good ways to go, however, before any of these actually hit store shelves, so everyone else has time to get a version up and around. Sony, you'll remember, is about 85 percent done with its Project Morpheus—a development we discussed only yesterday—and Microsoft, well...not much is known, at last report, about Microsoft's virtual reality foray, only that it wants to have one. But the Oculus Rift is certainly reasserting its presence as the biggest fish in the pond, and that's going to make for some very interesting times ahead.

Right now, unless Microsoft is playing some developments very close to the vest, like “We'll be showing it at E3” close, it's going to be a long way behind the competition when the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus units make an appearance. Of course, there's nothing saying that Oculus Rift won't be available for the Xbox One; given Microsoft's close affiliation with the PC, it stands to reason that some porting could happen. But if not, and it ends up being a three-way horse race with Microsoft's horse not even showing up at the starting gate, that's going to be a serious problem for an already-damaged Microsoft. Xbox One is not doing so well in this round of the console wars; after that disastrous E3 2013 event, the last thing it needs is to be regarded as “the only console without VR.” Well, ignoring Nintendo, of course, but many do anyway these days.

While there's still some time before we see this particular branch of the console wars—the VR wars—kick off in earnest, we may well be in for a very strange time in the near-term future.

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