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The new Oculus Rift headset is Crescent Bay and has built-in audio

Timothy J. Seppala, @timseppala
September 20, 2014
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Oculus VR has a new headset. CEO Brendan Iribe showed the prototype, dubbed Crescent Bay, off today at the first Oculus Connect conference. It has built-in audio, it's lighter and packs 360-degree motion tracking. Iribe says that the jump between the new prototype and the previous developer kit (DK) is as dramatic as the jump between DK1 and the recently shipped DK2. Of course, it has a higher resolution screen and refresh rate, but the focus on this version though, seems to be audio. The headset sports onboard headphones that apparently can be removed if you'd rather use your own, and custom audio software (with help from the University of Maryland's RealSpace3D tech) to make "presence" much more convincing. "We're working on audio as aggressively as we're working on the vision side," Iribe said. Which makes sense, considering that sound is at least half of the experience for most entertainment.

Without software, though, hardware is basically just a pile of parts. Oculus' vice president of product Nate Mitchell also announced a few new details regarding the VR outfit's relationship with Epic Games and Unreal Engine 4. The two have worked together to create a new demo called Showdown, something Iribe called "as close to Call of Duty" as users would likely want for virtual reality. What's more, the demo will be available to try for anyone who's at the conference. New details about the indie-favorite Unity engine were spilled, too. The toolset is getting 3D audio and visual support in both the pro and free versions, which means that the amount of available VR games is incredibly likely to jump at an absurdly fast pace. We're on the ground at Connect and will be checking out everything that's worth seeing (which will probably be quite a bit!) so keep it tuned here for more coverage.

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