updated 09:57 pm EST, Wed November 28, 2012
Four month shift caused by LCD sourcing, case prototyping
The launch of a high-profile Kickstarter project for the virtual reality gaming headset Oculus Rift has been delayed. The headset, endorsed by gaming legends John Carmack and Cliff Bleszinski appears to be a victim of its own success, with the company citing "overwhelming response" as the reason for the development kits' shipping date shifting to March 2013. The product was supposed to be available next month.
In an update posted today to the Kickstarter page, the developers claim that "we've been up against the wall, working around the clock to produce and distribute over 7,500 units in just 4 short, crazy months. We've had to modify our original design for mass-manufacturing and, at the same time, balance additional features with our tight schedule."
The original Oculus Rift prototype used a 5.6-inch display which the developers only learned they could not obtain in quantity after they tried to source enough of them to produce the first batch of headsets. The new 7-inch display forced a re-tooling of the plastic case of the headset, but brought with it better refresh time as well as higher contrast -- eliminating some complaints about excessive motion blur with demonstrated prototypes.
Community response has been tempered -- most supporters are accepting of the delay of the project that generated $2.4 million, with a handful expressing concern that updates to the project hadn't been more timely. Oculus is expected to deliver 7,500 units as a result of its initial round of fundraising, with no target date for commercial release.