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A consumer Oculus Rift is still 'many months' away

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The consumer version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is where it's been since at least 2013: "months, not years" away. According to The Next Web, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told a crowd at Web Summit 2014 in Dublin that a consumer headset was getting closer to production, saying that the company had roughly figured out the features it wanted with the Crescent Bay prototype that was announced in September. "We're all hungry for it to happen," Iribe said. "We're getting very close. It's months, not years away, but many months."

This is not, on its own, a notable statement. Not only did Oculus say something similar around the release of Crescent Bay, an astute Reddit user pointed to an interview from August of 2013 in which product VP Nate Mitchell uses the same phrase. But it indicates that Oculus is still shying away from any real timeframe, at least in the short term. It's previously refused to confirm that 2015 will see a consumer release, and anything short of late 2016 is still "not years" away. "We've gone out there and set this bar and said, ‘We want to get it right,'" Iribe is also quoted as saying. "We don't want it to be four or five years. We're eager for this to happen." He and others at Oculus have been clear about seeing VR as a long-term project, in which even the consumer version of the Rift would be only a first step.

The Crescent Bay prototype comes with integrated headphones, a screen of high but unknown resolution, and a wider range of motion compared to the current Development Kit 2. The consumer version will have different specs, but it's going to provide roughly the same features. The company is still quietly working on figuring out VR movement. This summer, it acquired Carbon Design Group, a design firm that worked on the Kinect and Xbox 360. At Web Summit 2014, Iribe reiterated something he and others have said before: gamepads, mice, and motion trackers aren't adequate, and no one quite knows what works. This doesn't necessarily mean Oculus will wait to perfect a controller before shipping the consumer Rift, but its focus on creating a full, seamless VR experience could potentially be pushing it in that direction... and pushing the release date back.