Virtual reality company Oculus VR announced today that it’s releasing a new and updated version of its development kit for developers interested in creating a virtual reality experience for consumers. The company said in a blog post that while the “DK2″ hardware isn’t identical to the consumer product the company plans to release, all of the content developed for the new hardware will work on the consumer product.
The Oculus VR Development Kit 2 sports a 960×1080 pixel display for each eye, compared to the previous version’s 640×800 pixel resolution. The device’s display has been improved to reduce image persistence, in order to provide a more immersive experience for users.
It also sports an external camera, which will help provide a more accurate picture of where a user’s head is in space, in addition to the Rift’s on board sensors. For users interested in connecting other devices to the unit, DK2 sports a USB port that allows people to connect controllers and other accessories.
All of the new features come at a cost, though: the new hardware weighs two tenths of a pound heavier than its predecessor. That means the full weight of the unit clocks in at almost a whole pound, which could be quite the burden for users to carry around on their faces.
The news comes after Sony announced yesterday that it’s moving into the virtual reality space with “Project Morpheus,” which is currently in prototype form. While Sony’s hardware, which is designed to work with the PlayStation 4, looks like it could give Oculus a run for its money, it won’t be released to consumers until at least 2015.
Oculus, which recently announced that it plans to open an engineering office in Seattle led by former Valve engineer Atman Binstock, said earlier this month that it had run out of supplies for its incredibly popular development kit, which was first released as the result of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.
The new headset is available for preorder starting today, and costs $350. Oculus says that it plans to start shipping the new hardware in July, and then ramping up production after that.