Facebook's plan to acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion has been as polarizing as you'd expect.
Outrage from Oculus fans has spilled onto the product's old Kickstarter page and onto Reddit, where even the comments from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey are being downvoted into oblivion. Oculus even has its first high-profile defector, with Minecraft creator Markus Persson opting not to support the platform.
If you're looking for an alternative to Oculus Rift that doesn't involve Facebook, you'll eventually have options, but right now it's slim pickings even for developers and early adopters. Here are a handful of competitors on the horizon:
Sony's Project Morpheus
What it is: A virtual reality headset for Sony's Playstation 4, complete with a 1080p display, 360-degree head-tracking, 90-degree depth-of-field and built-in audio. It will also apparently accommodate wearers of glasses.
What it is: A pair of active-shutter 3D glasses with projectors mounted over each eye, connected to a PC. The projectors can beam images onto a special sheet of paper, creating a 3D scene right in front of you. Or, you can clip on a set of special eye covers that turn CastAR into a virtual reality device.
Current status: Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the glasses are available for pre-order with an estimated September delivery. The price is $194 for the basic glasses and material, or $290 with the clip-on and other accessories. If you can't wait until then, early development units ship in May for $900.
What it is: A VR headset that's basically a shell for your iPhone or Android phone. The phone provides the image, processing power and gryoscope/accelerometer for motion tracking, while a pair of lenses help magnify the screen.
Current status: It's available now for 57 Euros.
What it is: A VR headset with the computer built right in, which means there are no wires and no tethering to another device. Gameface is an Android-based system with a 1080p display and an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer for head-tracking.
Current status: It's in the prototype phase with no word on price or release date, but the current version is apparently pretty laggy.
Sulon's The Cortex
What it is: A headset that combines virtual reality and alternate reality. An external camera maps your surroundings and transforms them, while an Android device of your choosing slides into the headset and provides the screen. Hayden Dingman went eyes-on with The Cortex (and other VR/AR headsets) at GDC earlier this month.
Current status: It's still in the prototype phase. You can pre-order a developer kit for $499, with an estimated Q4 ship date.
What it is: A headset that uses projectors instead of displays, beaming a pair of 1280-by-800 resolution images straight into your eyes and using any HDMI connection as the signal. The narrow eyeband allows you to still look up or down at your surroundings, and you can flip it up above your head to use the Glyph like a set of headphones. It will apparently support head-tracking for virtual reality applications.
Current status: The "beta" version is available for pre-order, with a price of $499 and a ship date of Q1 2015.
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