Finished Rift SDK 1.0 is also compatible with DK2

by Ian Hamilton • December 22nd, 2015

Oculus software architect Tom Forsyth confirmed the completed 1.0 Rift Software Development Kit should be compatible with the second development kit (DK2) that started shipping in mid-2014. This means the pioneering but aging developer headset could still run some VR experiences well into the launch of consumer hardware.

In the Oculus announcement yesterday Facebook’s VR division said “the Rift SDK 1.0 and runtime include features tied to the consumer product.” That could mean any number of things, but the consumer Rift comes with a number of upgrades including a microphone and headphones that can enable social experiences right out of the box as well as compatibility with the Oculus Touch controllers. Oculus stopped selling the DK2 in October of this year, leading developers in need of multiple headsets to test multiplayer functionality to find additional headsets secondhand. That might be why my DK2 sold for more than $500 on Ebay when it cost $350 new. The limited release of the finished consumer Rift to developers would ease this pain for developers while allowing them to make sure their software worked perfectly with the same hardware consumers will be buying. Oculus said it would be “shipping more Rift hardware out to developers every week in the run up to launch.” With HTC set to unveil a new Valve-powered developer kit at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the competing PC-powered SteamVR and Oculus platforms are faced with simultaneously preparing for the launch of consumer VR while giving developers the tools they need to get software ready. The next few weeks and months are likely to get very interesting as the final details are revealed about these platforms (as well as Sony’s PlayStation VR) with the announcement of prices, firm launch dates and complete software lineups for launch.

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