Although all the recent gaming news may have been focused on next-gen consoles at Gamecom, one big piece of news which may have been overlooked is that the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset currently in development for the PC, could be heading to Android.
For those of you that haven’t been following the Rift Kickstarter project, simply put, it’s a real 3D head mounted display, complete with head tracking, which encompassed your entire peripheral vision. The aim being to totally immerse players in the gaming world.
In an interview with Eurogamer at GDC yesterday, Palmer Luckey, Oculus’ founder, revealed some of the future plans for this virtual reality project, and explained why Android is also on the company’s radar. Although Android isn’t necessarily the company’s next platform, Luckey confirmed that the developers have been working with Android for a while, and that it’s the only mobile platform that they’re currently interested in.
The reason we chose Android is because, well, what are the other options? There's iOS where you can't plug anything into their systems, and Windows Phone where there's not much out there
So far, there haven’t been any working prototypes shown off for an Android version of Oculus, but this could be down to slower hardware in mobile devices. However, with mobile graphics hardware making leaps and bounds, it might not be too long until chips powerful enough for full 3D HD rendering make their way to Android. I’m looking at you Tegra 5.
Interestingly, it’s currently unclear whether or not Oculus Rift will be heading to the Playstation 4 or Xbox One. Supposedly, this is due to limitations imposed by Sony and Microsoft, rather than any problems with a hardware implementation.
We've chatted (with Microsoft and Sony), but they're trying to bring their new consoles out. It's a possibility - it would work. It's the same thing as iOS - it could technically work, but the business side isn't there.
Despite the fact that talks with Microsoft and Sony have taken place, developing 3rd party devices for these closed platforms requires close co-operation of the manufacturing company, and that’s a lot more red tape and time wasted when developing a product.
As we all know, Android’s open nature grants developers easy access to the platform, and gamers could soon reap the benefits of some unique “next-gen” technology as a result. If you’d like an overview of the Oculus Rift, I’ll leave this video right here.