Oculus Rift’s Mac development ‘paused’ as team focuses on 2016 Windows launch

Oculus Rift Crystal Cove (image 003)

Both OS X and Linux development of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has been put on hold as the team focuses on a strong launch of the Windows version of the product, the company has confirmed in a blog post today.

While Oculus focuses its energies on a “high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software and content on Windows,” they want to “get back to development for OS X and Linux” but “don’t have a timeline” yet, said Atman Binstock, Chief Architect at Oculus and technical director of the Rift.

As it’s largely driven by the requirements of virtual reality graphics, the headset is going to require a powerful computer. Compared to a traditional 1080p game at 60Hz which requires 124 million shaded pixels per second, the Rift requires a 2,160-by-1,200 pixel resolution at 90Hz split over dual displays, consuming 233 million pixels per second.

But the Rift’s rendering requirements go much higher, hitting around 400 million shaded pixels per second. That’s about three times the GPU power of 1080p rendering.


The PC edition of the headset will require a Windows 7 PC or newer with an Intel i5-4590, NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290 graphics with eight gigabytes of RAM. “This configuration will be held for the lifetime of the Rift and should drop in price over time,” notes Oculus.

While almost no current laptops have the GPU performance for the recommended specifications, Oculus says upcoming mobile GPUs “may be able to support this level of performance.”

Oculus Rift headset (image 001)

In addition, the Rift will require two USB 3.0 ports and HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via a direct output architecture. All Rift games and apps shall be be written with this default configuration in mind, the company underscored.

Facebook stunned the tech world when it announced in March of 2014 buying the Rift maker Oculus VR for $2 billion. Pictured below: a first look at the upcoming consumer version of the Rift, at left, and a peek inside the headset, at right.

Compared with the Rift prototype, the consumer edition has an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit.

Oculus Rift image 001

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg never explained why his company needs the Rift to begin with other than stating that Oculus has the chance to “create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”

“Facebook plans to extend Oculus’ existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas,” the social networking giant said.

The Rift began as a Kickstarter project in 2012. The company has never released consumer Rift hardware aside from a developer kit version. Last week, Oculus confirmed that the Rift will go on pre-order later this year, with first units shipping sometime in the first quarter of 2016.

Source: Oculus Rift