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Oculus pissed? Here are 6 Facebook-free virtual reality alternatives

Jared Newman | March 27, 2014
Facebook's plan to acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion has been as polarizing as you'd expect.

Facebook's plan to acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion has been as polarizing as you'd expect.

Outrage from Oculus fans has spilled onto the product's old Kickstarter page and onto Reddit, where even the comments from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey are being downvoted into oblivion. Oculus even has its first high-profile defector, with Minecraft creator Markus Persson opting not to support the platform.

If you're looking for an alternative to Oculus Rift that doesn't involve Facebook, you'll eventually have options, but right now it's slim pickings even for developers and early adopters. Here are a handful of competitors on the horizon:

Sony's Project Morpheus

What it is: A virtual reality headset for Sony's Playstation 4, complete with a 1080p display, 360-degree head-tracking, 90-degree depth-of-field and built-in audio. It will also apparently accommodate wearers of glasses.

Current status: The version on display at GDC 2014 was a prototype, and Sony has already ruled out a 2014 launch. No word on price, but Sony says it won't cost $1,000.

CastAR

What it is: A pair of active-shutter 3D glasses with projectors mounted over each eye, connected to a PC. The projectors can beam images onto a special sheet of paper, creating a 3D scene right in front of you. Or, you can clip on a set of special eye covers that turn CastAR into a virtual reality device.

Current status: Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the glasses are available for pre-order with an estimated September delivery. The price is $194 for the basic glasses and material, or $290 with the clip-on and other accessories. If you can't wait until then, early development units ship in May for $900.

Durovis Dive

What it is: A VR headset that's basically a shell for your iPhone or Android phone. The phone provides the image, processing power and gryoscope/accelerometer for motion tracking, while a pair of lenses help magnify the screen.

Current status: It's available now for 57 Euros.

Gameface

What it is: A VR headset with the computer built right in, which means there are no wires and no tethering to another device. Gameface is an Android-based system with a 1080p display and an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer for head-tracking.

Current status: It's in the prototype phase with no word on price or release date, but the current version is apparently pretty laggy.

Sulon's The Cortex

What it is: A headset that combines virtual reality and alternate reality. An external camera maps your surroundings and transforms them, while an Android device of your choosing slides into the headset and provides the screen. Hayden Dingman went eyes-on with The Cortex (and other VR/AR headsets) at GDC earlier this month.

 

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