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Oculus’ prototype Santa Cruz headset feels like a wireless Oculus Rift

Oculus’ prototype Santa Cruz headset feels like a wireless Oculus Rift

  • Next year, developers will start playing with Oculus’ next-generation VR headset: a wireless system codenamed Santa Cruz.
  • It still looks a lot like a wireless Rift – Like last year’s Santa Cruz prototype, this headset looks a lot like a wireless Rift, and tracks movement with wide-angle cameras around its edges.
  • While it’s hard to make direct comparisons in such a short demo, Santa Cruz feels heavier than the Rift, but not as chunky or front-loaded as Oculus’ Gear VR.
  • Technically, I got two demos with Santa Cruz: a hangout session with Oculus’ dog-like alien “mascot” Bogo, and a shootout in the Rift’s Wild West gunslinging game Dead and Buried.
  • I talked to a couple of developers during Rift demos later, and both seemed confident about porting their games to Santa Cruz, with some optimization.

Next year, developers will start playing with Oculus’ next-generation VR headset: a wireless system codenamed Santa Cruz. Facebook VR chief Hugo Barra stresses that Santa Cruz is a prototype, not a…

Next year, developers will start playing with Oculus’ next-generation VR headset: a wireless system codenamed Santa Cruz. Facebook VR chief Hugo Barra stresses that Santa Cruz is a prototype, not a commercial product. But he tells The Verge it’s “very representative” of where the company is going, and “realizable” as a consumer headset. So in a few years, Oculus hopes to offer something that delivers a lot of high-end Rift features, but without any of the complicated setup, or the need for a separate PC.

At this year’s Oculus Connect show, the company hustled reporters through a quick Santa Cruz demonstration, looking to show that the technology works. As always, these demos were highly controlled, tailored to highlight Santa Cruz’s strengths and avoid showing its flaws. But as far as I can tell, Santa Cruz does work. It’s the most promising VR headset I’ve tried this year, even if it’s way too early to get excited about a consumer release.

It still looks a lot like a wireless Rift

Like last year’s Santa Cruz prototype, this headset looks a lot like a wireless Rift, and tracks movement with wide-angle cameras around its edges. Oculus has introduced a softer shape with rubber straps, as well as a pair of motion controllers, which are equipped — like the existing Oculus Touch controllers — with infrared LEDs that those cameras can track.

While it’s hard to make direct comparisons in such a short demo, Santa…

Oculus’ prototype Santa Cruz headset feels like a wireless Oculus Rift

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