Hardware specs provided by Oculus show that the Rift is being developed solely for Windows leaving Mac & Linux behind
Virtual Reality’s holy grail the Oculus Rift is finally nearing its release date in the first quarter of 2016. In development for the last several years it has built a massive cult following even after its buy out by Facebook last year. Developer units have already been shipped out and consumers have been eagerly awaiting a look at its specs. That information was finally released on Friday, but left a bitter taste in the mouth of Mac and Linux users.
According to the information found on the Oculus Rifts spec sheets the VR headset is being geared towards high end Windows PC builds. Development for Mac and Linux machines has been halted for the time being and laptop users are also being left behind. A breakdown of the Rift’s specs show that a system requires: Graphics cards more powerful or equal to Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290, a processor that equal or greater than an Intel i5-4590, ability to render HDMI 1.3 video output, and two USB 3.0 ports, running at the very least Windows 7 with Service Pack 1.
Oculus Chief Architect Atman Binstock explained in a company blog post why the Rift’s requirements are so specific. Saying that by using common specs it will make development simpler and aid programmers in designing apps, allowing for the creation of a consistent experience. Muddying the waters with a wider range of specifications top open the Oculus Rift to rigs that aren’t able to handle it properly would cause poor experiences. The company is trying to come out of the gate strong, ensuring their isn’t backlash from consumers whose experience isn’t up to par.
Binstock went to say that these specs will stay the same for some time but as the components become cheaper over time they will be able to open the Rift to a wide range of PC users. Laptop owners on the other hand are going to be waiting much longer for the chance to try out the VR headset. Binstock explains that laptops often use external video outputs that are connected to an integrated CPU. That means that video output is being managed by software and hardware that simply are not up to the task. It’s Binstock’s believe that future laptops will come installed with the graphic processors needed to run the Oculus Rift.
The desire by Oculus to keep the specifications for the Rift consistent also means that Mac and Linux users will be missing out for the time being. Oculus is keeping their development focused solely on PC putting Mac and Linux on the back burner. Promising that development for those systems will start back up again in the future but there’s no set date for that.