Oculus VR

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Oculus VR, LLC
Subsidiary
Industry Virtual reality
Founded June 2012; 6 years ago (2012-06)
Founder
Headquarters Menlo Park, California, United States
Key people
Products
Parent Facebook
Website oculus.com

Oculus VR, LLC, or simply known as Oculus, is an American virtual reality technology company founded by Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe, founded in June 2012 at Irvine, California.

In the summer of 2012, Oculus announced the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head-mounted display designed for video gaming, and created a Kickstarter campaign to fund development. The product proved highly successful, collecting around $10 million for development, and released two pre-production models to the public: the "Development Kit 1" and the "Development Kit 2". The consumer product, which was released on March 28, 2016, includes integrated headphones, a refreshed design, an available tracked controller system, and an IR LED sensor.

In March 2014, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg agreed to acquire Oculus for $2 billion, in cash and Facebook stock, [1][2][3] to the criticism of many news reports and game figures, such as Minecraft creator, Markus Persson.

In 2015, Oculus acquired Surreal Vision, a British start-up focusing on 3D reconstruction and mixed reality[citation needed], stating that it could be possible for Oculus to develop products with the concept of telepresence[citation needed].

The company partnered with Samsung to develop the Samsung Gear VR in November 2015, for the Samsung Galaxy models.

History

Founding

As a head-mounted display (HMD) designer at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, Palmer Luckey earned a reputation for having the largest personal collection of HMDs in the world, and was a longtime moderator in Meant to be Seen (MTBS)'s discussion forums.[4]

Through MTBS's forums,[5] Palmer developed the idea of creating a new head-mounted display that was both more effective than what is currently on the market, and inexpensive for gamers. To develop the new product, Luckey founded Oculus VR with Scaleform co-founders Brendan Iribe and Michael Antonov,[6] engineer Jack McCauley,[7] Nate Mitchell and Andrew Scott Reisse.[8]

Coincidentally, John Carmack of id Software had been doing his own research on HMDs and happened upon Palmer's developments as a fellow MTBS member.[9] After sampling an early unit, Carmack favored Luckey's prototype and just before the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Id announced that their future updated version of Doom 3, Doom 3 BFG Edition, would be compatible with head-mounted display units.[10] During the convention, Carmack introduced a duct taped head-mounted display based on Palmer's Oculus Rift prototype, which ran Carmack's own software. The unit featured a high speed IMU and a 5.6-inch (14 cm) LCD, visible via dual lenses that were positioned over the eyes to provide a 90 degrees horizontal and 110 degrees vertical stereoscopic 3D perspective.[11][12] Carmack later left Id as he was hired as Oculus VR's Chief technology officer.[13]

Name

In an early version of the company's website, Palmer Luckey explained why he chose the name Oculus, writing:

Why the name "Oculus"? Because it is the Latin word for "eye", and someone used the word in a meeting several months ago. I thought it was a nifty word, and was better than the alternative, "StepN2theGAME".'

Funding for Oculus Rift and company

Following the demonstration of the Oculus Rift prototype at E3 in June 2012, on August 1, 2012, the company announced a Kickstarter campaign to further develop the product. Oculus announced that the "dev kit" version of the Oculus Rift would be given as a reward to backers who pledged $300 or more on Kickstarter, with an expected shipping date set of December 2012 (though they did not actually ship until March 2013).[14] There was also a limited run of 100 unassembled Rift prototype kits for pledges over $275 that would ship a month earlier. Both versions were intended to include Doom 3 BFG Edition, but Rift support in the game was not ready, so to make up for it they included a choice of discount vouchers for either Steam or the Oculus store.[15] Within four hours of the announcement, Oculus secured its intended amount of US$250,000,[16][17] and in less than 36 hours, the campaign had surpassed $1 million in funding,[18] eventually ending with $2,437,429.[19]

On December 12, 2013, Marc Andreessen joined the company's board when his firm, Andreessen Horowitz, led the $75 million Series B venture funding.[20]

In total, Oculus VR has raised $91 million with $2.4 million raised via crowdfunding.[15]

Facebook acquisition and chief scientist

Though Oculus VR had only released a development prototype of its headset, on March 25, 2014, Mark Zuckerberg announced via his Facebook profile that Facebook would be acquiring Oculus VR for US$2 billion, pending regulatory approval. The deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million common shares of Facebook, valued at $1.6 billion, as well as additional $300 million assuming Facebook reaches certain milestones.[1][2][3]

Many Kickstarter backers and game industry figures, such as Minecraft developer Markus Persson, criticized the sale of Oculus VR to Facebook.[21][22]

On March 28, 2014, it was announced that Michael Abrash had joined the company as Chief Scientist.[23]

As of January 2015, the Oculus VR Headquarters has been moved from Irvine, California to Menlo Park, California, where Facebook's Headquarters is also located. Oculus has stated that this move is for their employees to be closer to Silicon Valley.[24]

Partnership with Samsung

In 2014, Samsung partnered with Oculus to develop the Gear VR, after the success of the, in-development, Rift.[25]

During the course of 2014 to 2015, two Innovator Editions, in-development versions of the Gear VR mainly sold to developers for sole research and understanding, were developed, manufactured, and sold.[26] The devices that the Innovator Editions used were the Note 4, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy S6 Edge.

On 20 November 2015, the consumer edition of the Gear VR was released to the public, and sold out during the first shipments. The device supported the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, and later, the Samsung Galaxy S7, and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.[27]

Acquisition of Surreal Vision

On May 2015, Oculus acquired British company Surreal Vision, a company based on 3D scene-mapping reconstruction and augumented reality.

News reported that Oculus and Surreal Vision could create "mixed reality" technology in Oculus's products, similar to the upcoming HMD, Microsoft HoloLens.[28] They also reported that Oculus, with Surreal's help, will make telepresence possible.[29]

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift worn at a research showcase.

The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality head-mounted display. Software, most notably video games, must be custom programmed to use the Rift. Developer kit preorders were made available for $300 through Oculus VR's website starting on September 26, 2012. These kits sold at a rate of 4–5 per minute for the first day, before slowing down throughout the week.[30] In March 2014 at GDC, Oculus announced the upcoming Devkit 2 (DK2) which they expected to begin shipping in July 2014.[31]

In January 2016 at CES 2016, Oculus announced it will start shipping the Oculus Rift headset to customers in 20 countries on March 28, and it will cost $599.[32] In January 2016, as a gesture of appreciation, Oculus announced it will give the 6,855 people who participated in the 2012 Kickstarter project a special-edition Oculus Rift one day before the new product goes on sale to the public on March 28, 2016.[33]

Conflicts with ZeniMax Media

In May 2014, ZeniMax Media, parent company of Carmack's former employer id Software, sent a letter to Facebook and Oculus asserting that any contributions that he made to the Oculus Rift project are the intellectual property of ZeniMax, stating that "ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings."

On May 21, 2014, ZeniMax Media filed a lawsuit against Oculus VR.[34][35] On June 25, 2014, Oculus VR filed an official response to the lawsuit. Oculus claimed ZeniMax was falsely claiming ownership to take advantage of the acquisition by Facebook. Oculus also claimed that the Oculus Rift did not share a single line of code or any technology with ZeniMax's code and technology.[36]

References

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External links