Facebook's Oculus division has published the tech specs of its Rift virtual reality headset, and it would seem that Apple and Linux fans are out of luck.
"Our development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content on Windows," said Atman Binstock, chief architect at Oculus. "We want to get back to development for OS X and Linux but we don’t have a timeline."
Windows users shouldn't get too smug, however. Binstock warned that a devoted rig was needed to run the Oculus at the kind of frame rates required to get a smooth experience, and that no current laptop can handle it. Instead, you'll need a high-end graphics card and a fast processor.
Specifically, Oculus sets the minimum requirements as follows: Windows 7 SP1 or later for the operating system, an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 graphics card or better, an Intel i5-4590 processor, and 8GB RAM. The headset also requires two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI 1.3 video output supporting a 297MHz clock via direct output architecture.
Binstock explained that the Oculus headset needs to render 400 million shaded pixels per second at peak operation, and that needs some serious hardware grunt. It's more than the headset itself can handle by a long chalk, so it has to borrow processing power from the desktop rig to make the visuals run as smoothly as Oculus wants.
"The goal is for all Rift games and applications to deliver a great experience on this configuration by default," he said. "We believe this 'it just works' experience will be fundamental to VR’s success, given that an under-performing system will fail to deliver comfortable presence."
So, it's clear that when Oculus launches it's not going to be the instantly available system that many consumers want. A fair few developers are undoubtedly going to be pissed off, too – at least those running any operating system outside of MS Windows. ®