There is good news for gamers around the world because the Oculus Rift is almost ready to be shipped out early this year. Things became particularly concrete once the VR headset was made available for pre-order at $599 on January 6. If all goes as planned then the early adopters will receive their much awaited device by the end of March. It must be said that Facebook is right on schedule as an early 2016 release was estimated last year.
As far as analysts are concerned, the future market of virtual reality and augmented reality is full of potential and is only going to grow bigger in the coming years. This is the reason as to why investors in the technology are equally impatient and awaiting the release of the Oculus Rift along with the target consumers (mainly gamers).
Although it was believed earlier that the Korean electronics giant, Samsung would be the biggest competition to Facebook in the VR business, it turns out that Microsoft has an edge in this department. Right now, the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset is the closest competitor to the Oculus Rift in terms of popularity.
Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality: What is the difference?
It may seem like the same thing, but there are subtle differences between the two technologies which might change the way they are used. Virtual reality headsets offer to transport the user into an immersive virtual world that is totally closed off from the real world. Augmented reality based headsets however, intermingle the real world and the virtual world by letting the user experience both the worlds together in a kind of augmented reality.
In the opinion of experts, the HoloLens inches ahead of the Oculus Rift in its potential applications. AR can not only enhance games, but may revolutionize the way technology itself functions. One can only imagine how an engineer or a doctor would benefit from this technology, once it has been developed to its full potential.
The VR technology found in the Oculus Rift may not have such advantages as of now because it cuts off the user from the real world, thus limiting its “real world” applications, but it is still the much cheaper alternative when compared to the $3000 HoloLens (developer’s kit). At this moment, games are the main reason as to why people would even invest in any of these headsets. In that regard, we will have to put the Oculus Rift ahead, thanks to the more complete sense of immersive experience that it offers at a cheaper price.
It is predicted that AR and VR will build a market of around $150 billion together in the coming four years, but about 80 percent of that market will belong to augmented reality. While this makes the Microsoft HoloLens a winner in the long run, the Oculus Rift might just have an edge over Microsoft in 2016 at least, due to its pricing and faster release date.