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Jumping on the Oculus bandwagon might not be as costly as you thought, as the developers of the Rift VR headset have announced brand new specs that should help keep the cost of entry nice and low.
Keep in mind that when we say "low," we mean substantially lower than it used to cost to get your computer up to speed for VR gaming. There's still a hefty price tag attached to the process, but at least the barrier for entry will likely be far more reasonable for folks who were sitting on the fence, trying to decide how much cash they were willing to part with to literally step inside of their games.
During yesterday's Oculus Connect event, Polygon is reporting that CEO Brendan Iribe announced brand new specs on the lower end for Oculus Rift, meaning you no longer need as beefy a computer to run the hardware and its games. According to Iribe, these new lower specs are possible thanks to something called Asynchronous Spacewarp. In brief, if your system can run a steady 45 frames per second, ASW can basically double it, doing a lot of the heavy lifting to fill in those missing frames. The end result is a better, more stable VR experience on less costly hardware with the added bonus that the games will be less likely to make you part with your lunch due to lower framerates.
Here's a rundown of the new low-end specs for Oculus Rift:
-Nvidia 960 or greater
-Intel i3-6100/AMD FX4350 or greater
-8GB or RAM or more
-Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
-One USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports
-Windows 8 or newer
What that means for gamers is a savings of a few hundred dollars (if you only want to meet the minimum specs), and developers will hopefully see a larger user base too. Iribe announced a couple of "Rift-Ready" pre-built computers at the event, too, and their price range was between $500-$600. Again, we're not saying that's cheap, but it's quite a bit lower than what was originally needed to run the Rift.
And this is really good timing for Oculus, too. The adoption rate for the Rift hasn't been astronomical, which is likely due to a number of reasons. Some folks were possibly waiting for the PlayStation VR to launch next week to see what folks say about all of the "heavy hitters" on the VR scene before making a purchasing decision. We wouldn't be surprised, though, if one of the major factors was that initial cost. New technology can be scary, especially if you're taking a gamble on something that, all told, might cost you more than a thousand bucks to dip your toe into.
Also, yeah, the PlayStation VR launches next week and, assuming you already have a PlayStation 4, it's a much more affordable option that the OG Rift with its original specs. This change in requirements should help even the playing field a bit.