Reporters Steve Kovach and Benjamin Popper share photos of the imprints left by Facebook's Oculus Rift headset. The Oculus Rift, Facebook's 599 virtual reality headset, is now finally shipping out to buyers. While many are excited to get their hands on the final consumer version of the headset (including us at Popular Science), a few people who were lucky enough to get it early have reported a potentially embarrassing side effect: temporary red marks on their faces, a.k.a., "Oculus Face" or "Rift Rash." The marks appear to be caused by the pressure of the headset's straps and rim, despite the fact that the rim is covered in foam padding. Oculus VR, the Facebook-owned company that makes the Rift, says on its website that the headset is designed to be "customizable, comfortable, adaptable, and beautiful."
Palmer Luckey, co-founder of Oculus VR, demonstrates the new Oculus Rift headset during the "Step Into The Rift" event in San Francisco in June 2015. Palmer Luckey, co-founder of Oculus VR, demonstrates the new Oculus Rift headset during the "Step Into The Rift" event in San Francisco in June 2015. The much-hyped consumer virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, is finally hitting the market. The reviews have been mixed. As The Wall Street Journal put it, "the first totally immersive home virtual reality rig is a pricey, awkward, isolating--and occasionally brilliant--glimpse of the future of computing."
Back in June 2015, Microsoft announced its plans to have Xbox One games stream to the Oculus Rift. Though it's taken quite sometime, Microsoft is finally allowing Oculus Rift owners to play Xbox One games starting Dec. 12. Oculus Rift owners will be able to stream their Xbox One library to Rift via the new Xbox One Streaming to Oculus Rift app, which includes games like Gears of War, Halo 5: Guardians and Forza Horizon 3 . Microsoft said in a press release that backward compatible Xbox 360 games, and more titles will be coming in 2017. Microsoft is also supporting the Rift natively in Windows 10, which the company plans to ship its wireless controllers with the Rift in part of its partnership.
If you want a hint of how fragile our tech-reliant world is, look no further than the Oculus Rift. This morning, Rift owners the world over discovered that their $400 virtual reality headset had become a paperweight overnight--at least temporarily. Seems as though Oculus uh...forgot(?) to issue an updated Windows certificate, the security feature that confirms that, yes, Oculus's software is actually Oculus's software. As Microsoft's decade-old primer puts it, "Digital certificates function similarly to identification cards such as passports and drivers' licenses." When the certificate expired, Windows stopped recognizing Oculus Runtime Service and thus stopped allowing it to run--for good reason, I might add.
The world first met Oculus Rift via Kickstarter in August 2012. Back then, the headset was targeted strictly at developers; after a few failed attempts in the 1990s, most people thought of VR as a gimmick, or a science-fiction plot device. But Oculus VR -- and its then-19-year-old founder Palmer Luckey -- believed that virtual reality had a future as a next-level gaming accessory. PC gaming is a luxury hobby; buying or building computers that can run high-end games can cost anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 and beyond. It's a pastime that naturally appeals to people interested in technology -- and with VR, game developers had an opportunity to make something new and exciting for those early adaptors.