At last year's Oculus Connect event we got to try out Santa Cruz, Oculus's prototype standalone Rift headset. It was embryonic, taped together and off limits for photos, but it confirmed the Facebook-owned company was looking seriously into a new category of virtual reality.
Cruz does inside-out tracking (no separate sensors required!) and is completely untethered from a computer, but this is far from Rift mk 2, according to Rift head Nate Mitchell and VP of content Jason Rubin, speaking in an interview with Wareable.
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"The idea that someone can make a standalone that has anywhere near the power of Rift, that's a long, long way away," said Rubin. "Think of a GTX 970 card, think of those fans, think of the power that it draws, the kind of battery you would have to have - you'd need a car battery strapped to you. It's going to be a long time before anything of the quality of Rift comes to standalone.
"Any fear that you're going to somehow buy a Rift and six, eight months from now, or two years from now, someone is going to announce a standalone that you're going to want to buy for the same quality of content, it's just not happening anytime soon."
Mitchell and Rubin also allayed fears that the recent $399 Oculus summer discount was a sign that new hardware might be approaching, or even some VR fire sale. The Rift 2 is a long way off, although a separate report claims the company is looking to put out a $200 headset in the near future to run in tandem with the high-end headset.
"On PC we see this first generation Rift having long legs, long lifespan," said Mitchell, "and we're investing in content for 2018, 2019, and that's all going to be playable on Rift."