Just because Facebook bought Oculus, the Kickstarted Virtual Reality headset company, a little under a month ago doesn’t mean you have to give up hope for ever playing anything other than Farmville in virtual reality. All jokes aside, many people have lost faith in the Oculus Rift project at this point, either due to lack of real results or because of Facebook’s recent acquisition.The answer to your virtual prayers is GameFace Labs’ GameFace- the name of their prototype headset. The headset boasts an impressive spec sheet- one that trumps the Rift’s. The GameFace includes vast technical improvements, such as a 1280 by 1440 per-eye resolution- that’s 2.5K, which is groundbreaking for a 5.5-inch screen. This is achievable in part due to the processor in the GameFace- new prototypes are being built with the gargantuan Nvidia K1, arguably the most powerful mobile integrated chip available.
Not only does the K1 allow for massively increased screen resolution, but also serious graphical clout- the K1 is an integrated chip, and with 192 CUDA cores, the GameFace can run Unreal Engine 4 with DirectX 11 support at a tiny 5 watts. The minimal power consumption of the headset allows it to be untethered, allowing for more freedom and some interesting body movement registering that isn’t possible with tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift.
So what about games? The Rift had a hard time giving real results in terms of playable games- what makes the GameFace so much better in this category is its Android SDK with Unity integration, allowing developers to develop applications for the GameFace without having to learn anything new. (Any developer who wants to acquire the GameFace SDK should contact [email protected]).
GameFace recently confirmed with VR enthusiast news site Road to VR that the company received enough funding to continue development, and expand to San Francisco from London. The steady rise in interest and apparent financial stability of GameFace Labs might make them a prime target for a larger company interested in VR, although hopefully not a company like Facebook.
In terms of price, since the headset is untethered, as well as its advanced hardware components, it’s expected to cost more than the Rift did- GameFace founder Ed Mason envisions the price to be around £350- around $590. GameFace Labs is looking to have the headset on the market by the end of this year, and pre-orders being made available a month before public release. With some developer kits reportedly coming out next month, it won’t be long before we find out whether we can put our faith into the GameFace, and finally get the kind of VR experience we’ve all been hoping for.