If you’re unpleased with the news that Facebook has bought Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, you’re not alone. Many Oculus devotees think Facebook will mine their user data and fill their virtual landscapes with ads.
Markus “Notch” Persson, the creator of the insanely popular indie game “Minecraft,” revealed on Twitter that he was in talks to port the game to be compatible with the Oculus Rift. But he canceled the deal because “Facebook creeps [him] out.”
So what’s a VR enthusiast to do if they love VR and don’t like Facebook? Check out these Facebook-free Oculus Rift alternatives below.
This compelling take on a VR headset repurposes your Android or iOS smartphone as the display, holding it inches from your face and using lenses that magnify your field of view to make the image occupy your vision. As your phone already has the gyroscopes and accelerometers for detecting head movements, the processor for running apps, and its own screen, it’s an obvious entry point for those wanting to experience virtual reality.
At less than $US80, this is a tremendously affordable alternative to the Oculus Rift.
If it looks big and clunky, it’s only because the Infiniteye makes use of four individual screens — two for your eyes, amd one for each of your eyes’ peripheral view. This combination of screens makes for a sweeping, immersive experience that gives you access to some 210 degrees of vision. Compare that to Oculus Rift’s 90 degrees.
While this is not yet available for sale, the creators go into all kinds of technical detail on how the Infiniteye works over at RoadToVR.
GameFace Mark IV
This is a battery-powered wireless VR headset that can connect to a Bluetooth controller to make for a pretty uninhibited self-contained virtual experience. It runs Android internally, so there’s no input device required (as is the case for an Oculus Rift, which must be connected to a PC or other device feeding it data). It won’t be able to outdo your PC’s graphics, so there’s a calculation to be made: Do you want something powerful or something self-contained?
Once again, this is unfortunately still in prototype mode and is not yet available for sale. There are still plans for improving the graphics and for setting up a VR-specific Android app store.
Sony announced its entry to the VR market at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Called “Morpheus,” it will soon put you inside your Playstation 4 games. While you’ll need Sony’s $US60 PlayStation camera for it to work, it features the same 90-degree field of view and 1080p resolution as the Oculus Rift.
There is no word on launch date or price yet.