Linden Lab intends to integrate the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset with Second Life, company spokesman Peter Gray just confirmed with me. "Yes," he replied, when I asked, "we plan to strongly support Oculus Rift. That means code, client, and server-side, to make the Oculus Rift experience excellent in Second Life." That's excellent news, because like I said last week, the Oculus could become Second Life's killer app, but only if Linden Lab is willing to go all in. Sounds like they are doing just that, in an official capacity.
Here's some more interesting news: several Linden staff are also working on integrating Oculus Rift with Second Life in an unofficial capacity, as some of them also confirmed with me.
Among Lindens, one said, there's "lots of interest" in connecting Second Life to the Oculus Rift; many of them are waiting on dev kits, and plan on experimenting with just that. My personal impression is that Rift fans in Linden Lab want to show how cool and compelling it is, to make integration a top priority for the company. (Upper management including Rod Humble might be waiting to see how well the Rift does commercially, when it's finally available in retail next year, before investing much resources in this effort.) When I asked Peter when we could expect an early build of Second Life integrated with the Rift, he said, "We can't share a timeline for that just yet."
So reading between the lines, it seems like we'll all get to experience Second Life with the Oculus Rift sometime in 2014 or 2015, when (and if) the retail version of the Rift comes out, as scheduled. But we'll probably see early experiments with integration this year, from Linden Lab staff and third party developers who own Rift dev kits. And I'm even more convinced that Philip Rosedale's new start-up is also working on another Oculus Rift-powered version of virtual reality, too. Given all that, we should be seeing a lot of virtual world/virtual reality innovations in the coming months.
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