Brendan Iribe, the CEO of Oculus, announced today the the company's VR system will now be compatible with much cheaper, less powerful PCs. In the past Oculus had certified a number of machines as compatible, but all cost around $1,000 at a minimum. Today it showed off some new engineering advances that allow Oculus to provide a smooth VR experience with a PC that costs just $499.
To make VR feel truly immersive, and to avoid nausea, it helps to have your software running at 90 frames per second. That is very demanding on your hardware, and even the best machines sometimes drop a frame. To fix that Oculus has developed two systems: Timewarp and Spacewarp. These techniques, now baked into the Oculus firmware, create synthetic frames that can be used to keep the image smooth even when your hardware is struggling.
Timewarp is used as a corrective, it steps in with a synthetic frame when your machine misses one. Spacewarp, on the other hand, can be used to lower the threshold for hardware that works well with Oculus. Iribe said the system allows a PC to run at 45 frames per second, half the ideal rate, with the other 45 frames being created synthetically. That shifts work from your PC to Oculus, allowing the system to work with cheaper PCs, and for the first time, with laptops.