TIME Virtual Reality

7 Promises Oculus Made After Getting Bought by Facebook

Oculus Rift Facebook
A gamer wears a high-definition virtual reality headset, manufactured by Oculus VR Inc., at the Eurogamer Expo 2013 in London, Sept. 28, 2013. Matthew Lloyd—Bloomberg/Getty Images

If you're wondering how the Reddit community is responding to the Facebook-Oculus news, "with skepticism" would be an understatement.

Maybe you’re upset at Oculus VR and co-founder Palmer Luckey for selling the company to Facebook for $2 billion, but give Luckey credit for at least one thing: He spent hours last night answering questions from distressed Oculus fans on Reddit, and went right back to it this morning.

Most of those comments are being downvoted into obscurity. But a glance through Luckey’s comment history reveals a lot of big promises about Oculus’ future under Facebook. Here are some of the most noteworthy quotes from Luckey’s Reddit Q&A:

“You will not need a Facebook account to use or develop for the Rift.”

This was in response to a user threatening to be “done” with the Rift if certain conditions were not met. Luckey made a similar comment last night, when asked to guarantee that users wouldn’t have to log into their Facebook accounts to use the VR headset. “That would be lame,” he said — and it would surely scare off the developers who are sticking around.

“We are not going to track you, flash ads at you, or do anything invasive.”

In terms of Oculus promising not to adopt any of Facebook’s creepier tendencies, this is probably as clear-cut as it gets. It’s understandable to worry that our virtual behavior could eventually be grist for Facebook’s ad mill, though this would likely cause an even bigger backlash if not handled with extreme caution. Many Redditors are choosing not to believe Luckey’s promises. Time will tell who is right.

“None of our gaming resources will be diverted.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made clear that the ultimate goal is to expand virtual reality beyond gaming, eventually creating “a new communication platform.” This has naturally led some Oculus fans to wonder whether the company’s commitment to gaming will be diminished. Luckey says that won’t be the case, because Oculus now has more resources for gaming than it did before. That includes more money to invest in indie developers. A bigger question is for how long Oculus will stay deeply invested in gaming. Again, there’s no way to know right now.

“We are not going to lock people out because they compete.”

Some gamers and developers are worried that Oculus will require all games to go through an official Facebook ecosystem. That’s not the plan, Luckey said. While Oculus is working on its own app store and launcher for VR games, developers won’t have to use it. “Facebook has no interest in changing that, they believe in what we have been doing all along,” Luckey said.

“Our relationship with the community is not going to change, and we are not going to spy on anyone.”

These are two separate concerns, in response to one Redditor. The first concern is that Oculus will stop being so close to its community and become less relaxed with interviews. The second is that Facebook is just using Oculus to reap user data and spy on users. Luckey, in response, gave his word that “nothing will change for the worse.” (See quote number two above.)

“This deal specifically lets us greatly lower the price of the Rift.”

We don’t know what the price of the finished product would have been, but the latest developer kit costs $350, so presumably the first consumer version will be much cheaper. The news was received warily by the Reddit community, which of course wondered about Facebook’s motives if it’s not looking to profit on hardware. The most likely answer is that Facebook is looking to build up Rift and refine its technology, so that it can eventually be used in mainstream, non-gaming applications. If virtual reality changes communications the same way Facebook did, the opportunities to make money will follow.

“Facebook is going to give us access to massive resources, but let us operate independently on our own vision.”

Luckey repeatedly insisted that Oculus will operate with autonomy, and said Facebook has a good track record for letting acquired companies do so. But the truth isn’t so clear-cut. Instagram, which Facebook bought in 2012, operates independently but began sharing user data with Facebook several months after the acquisition. Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp is still pending regulatory approval, so it’s far too early to say how independent it will be. In reality, Oculus will be a major test of Facebook’s promised autonomy.

If you’re wondering how the Reddit community is responding to these statements, “with skepticism” would be an understatement. Many commenters seem to think that Oculus has ceded all decision-making to Mark Zuckerberg, and that Luckey’s promises can be overridden with the wave of a hand. That seems a bit extreme, especially since we haven’t seen the full terms of the deal, but the underlying concerns are valid. Luckey has given his word that things will only change for the better. We’ll see what that word is worth over the next few years as Oculus and Facebook build virtual reality together.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

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TIME Virtual Reality

The Anti-Hype Guide to the Facebook-Oculus VR Deal

Oculus VR

Six quotes deconstructed and stripped of Facebook and Oculus VR's spin.

Whatever else you want to say about Facebook’s acquisition of virtual reality startup Oculus VR, give Mark Zuckerberg credit for having the nerve to pursue and pull the trigger on a $2 billion deal with a still-unproven (and historically lackluster) technology.

But then that’s the purview of companies with unfathomable cash hoards, and so on the other hand, perhaps we shouldn’t give Zuckerberg credit. This is what companies like Facebook — whose start-out names belie their evolving all-consuming functions — wind up of necessity doing. Google is just a search engine company, after all — except when it’s mapping the planet, inviting us to become cyborgs and working to conquer death itself.

There’s a sense, sometimes, that whatever gets this much attention is the next zeitgeist, but it’s easy to confuse the latter with spectacle, and there’s a lot about virtual reality technology in 2014 still deeply mired in hype.

Analyst Michael Pachter may or may not be right about Sony’s VR contender, Project Morpheus, being “a really bad idea for Sony,” but I think he’s spot-on when he said this in a recent interview with DualShockers:

…I don’t think it’s [virtual reality] gonna be a big market. It sounds interesting, but I don’t think there will be enough content to justify making the capital investment … I think it’s chicken and egg. If there’s no content you’re not gonna buy a virtual reality headset, and if you don’t buy a virtual reality headset, there won’t be any content, because no one will make a dedicated game for a very small audience.

That’s the challenge — growing that “very small audience.” If Facebook can develop some sort of killer app for the platform, be it virtualizing how we interact with one another (or the inexorable rise of VR erotica), then maybe. But now you’re talking about overcoming cultural conventions and assumptions, and that takes time and generational turnover. Make no mistake: We’re talking about a paradigm shift much bigger and broader and upending than moving from pen and paper to typewriter, or from typewriter to mouse and keyboard. Taking that shift mainstream is Facebook’s challenge, and every company fooling with virtual reality technology today is still well off from meeting it.

Let’s walk through a few choice quotes circulating in the wake of the announcement last night, starting with Mark Zuckerberg’s acquisition manifesto.

“It’s incredible.” (Mark Zuckerberg, referring to Oculus’s virtual reality technology)

The notion of wrapping large and cumbersome objects around your head, possibly tethered via restrictive cables to computers, to simulate a relatively low-res and crude version of someone’s notion of an alter-verse is arguably not incredible. It’s a compromise, and I’d say still, in 2014, a pretty big one. Even with the advances Oculus VR’s made in recent years, it’s still radically unlike the wraparound promise of virtual reality in films like The Lawnmower Man and The Matrix.

Incredible would be a direct neural interface. Incredible would be understanding the brain well enough to make that sort of connection. Incredible would be effortless, fully immersive virtual reality (Zuckerberg is spinning big and bad when he describes Oculus Rift as “a completely immersive computer-generated environment”). Oculus VR is none of these things. And I say that as an investor in the technology: I just ordered the devkit 2. The difference between me and a guy like Zuckerberg is that I see Oculus VR for what it is: another stepping stone in a long line of stepping stones we’ve been slowly traversing for decades.

“Oculus’s mission is to enable you to experience the impossible.” (Zuckerberg on the nature of virtual reality)

Nope. Oculus’s mission is, in fact, to enable you to experience the next stepping stone on the yellow brick road to bona fide immersive simulations well down the road. The “impossible” would be time travel, or maybe faster than light travel, or doing Harry Potter-style magic, or comprehending infinity. Oculus Rift is very much about grappling with the possible and long-expected.

“Our mission is to make the world more open and connected.” (Zuckerberg, describing Facebook)

Facebook’s mission is, and this is generally a legal matter, to maximize profits. That’s first and foremost. Along the way, the company might manage to make the world more open and connected because those interests dovetail, but the paradox is that doing so involves concentrating access to and control of all that openness and connectedness in the hands of a single corporate entity.

That’s been well and good for the sort of presence-detached interface that’s been Facebook’s stock in trade for years, but what would that sort of concentrated control of future virtual geographies (and our presence in them) entail? It’s the sort of question writers like Tad Williams ask in books like the Otherland sequence, and it’s not too soon to start asking it of Facebook and Oculus VR today.

“You selling out to Facebook is a disgrace. It damages not only your reputation, but the whole of crowdfunding. I cannot put into words how betrayed I feel by this.” (Oculus VR Kickstarter page commenter)

I sympathize with those who backed Oculus VR on Kickstarter, and who feel this Facebook deal violates some sort of unspoken bond between Oculus VR and its supporters, but I think it says more about Kickstarter supporters than Facebook or Oculus VR. There’s a deep misunderstanding of what both Kickstarter (as a vehicle to pool money) and crowd-funding (as a vehicle to get clever ideas off the ground) mean.

Kickstarter is a way to allow anyone so inclined to finance a project directly, a middlemen-eliminator coupled to a public stage on which startups audition for contributions. Each Kickstarter is a tacit agreement between supporters and idea-makers to eventually deliver some product or service, but unless otherwise specified, it’s not a promise to not take money from other sources of support, or to not be acquired by a company like Facebook along the way.

Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey says Facebook’s purchase changes nothing about Oculus VR’s Kickstarter deliverables, and there’s no reason for us not to take him at his word at this point. If Oculus VR starts rejiggering its commitments, then there’s reason to get worried or upset, but until then, it sounds like it’s still business as usual from the Kickstarter standpoint.

“…if Facebook can own the pipe, the platform or the operating system of the future, it will have much greater control over its destiny.” (Sterne Agee analysts, writing about the acquisition)

Analysts say the darndest things, most of it self-evident and/or devoid of insight. If Facebook can put its imprimatur on the Next Big Thing, of course it’ll have a firmer grip on its rudder. Who wouldn’t? The question is whether Oculus VR’s particular take on virtual reality is the Next Big Thing. No one’s satisfactorily answering that question right now, least of all “analysts” saying stuff like this.

“Facebook is making a long term bet on VR, not a short term run on profit.” (Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, answering questions on Reddit about the acquisition)

Oculus Rift is unproven technology that could still fall flat. There’s nothing etched in stone here, and the history of virtual reality is littered with brilliant-sounding-at-the-time shipwrecks. If Facebook wanted short term profits, it’d invest in something far less volatile. Short term profits are clearly not — and forget Facebook, because this applies to any company today — what investing in virtual reality interfaces circa 2014 means. Luckey is certifiably correct here.

TIME Virtual Reality

Aw, Zuck! Minecraft Creator Cancels Oculus Port After Facebook Deal

The creator of the popular video game says the social network creeps him out

Minecraft creator Markus Persson said he’s canceling plans to create a version of the popular block-building video game for Oculus V.R.’s virtual reality headset after hearing the news the company is being acquired by Facebook.

Persson took to Twitter Tuesday to voice his displeasure with the deal:

Persson elaborated in a blog post:

Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform…

Persson left to door open to continuing the effort to create a virtual reality Minecraft edition with one of Oculus V.R.’s competitors.

I have the greatest respect for the talented engineers and developers at Oculus…but this is where we part ways.

Facebook announced the $2 billion deal earlier Tuesday. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts during a call that the virtual reality technology “has the potential to be the most social platform ever.”

About 35 million copies of Minecraft have been sold worldwide for PCs, Apple iOS devices and other gaming platforms.

Perrson is not alone in his criticism of the Facebook deal. Virtual reality enthusiasts were quick to blast the planned acquisition on Twitter after it was announced, Adweek points out.

TIME Technologizer

After WhatsApp and Oculus, Is There Anything Facebook Won’t Acquire?

Oculus DK2
Oculus's Development Kit 2 virtual-reality headset Oculus VR

The world's biggest social network is no longer satisfied with just being a social network.

I was sitting in a briefing this afternoon with a tech startup, tapping notes on my iPad, when an e-mail notification popped up at the top of my screen: “Oculus Joins Facebook.” I had to restrain myself from doing a double-take and wondering aloud: “Does that mean what I think it means?”

Sure does. Facebook is acquiring Oculus VR, the maker of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, for $2 billion in stock and cash. It’s a huge deal — potentially a bigger one than last month’s Facebook shocker, its $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp, in every aspect except the money involved.

That’s because Oculus is building something that feels potentially as transformative as the graphical user interface, the mouse, the touchscreen, speech recognition or any of the other elements that have changed the way we interact with technology in the past. What it gives you — a 3D world you can explore by looking up, down and all around you — will be spectacular for games. But it’s not hard to imagine future versions of the technology being applied to other sorts of activities we perform using computing devices. Such as — just to pick an example at random — social networking.

I do confess feeling a twinge of sadness at the news: Technology breakthroughs are most exciting when they’re brought to us by scrappy startups, rather than large companies that happen to have enough money to acquire smaller ones. But I can’t begrudge Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg his new toy. When I tried Oculus Rift for the first time in its pre-release form last September, I was blown away as thoroughly as I’ve been blown away by any tech demo I’ve seen during my 23 years of writing about this stuff. If I’d had a spare $2 billion, I would have tried to buy the company, too. And if you haven’t tried Rift yet for yourself, the acquisition may make less sense to you than if you’ve strapped it on even briefly.

Zuckerberg’s timeline post about the deal on his own Facebook page explains why Oculus’s technology is interesting to Facebook in what seems like a pretty straightforward fashion:

Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won’t be changing and we hope to accelerate. The Rift is highly anticipated by the gaming community, and there’s a lot of interest from developers in building for this platform. We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.

But this is just the start. After games, we’re going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences. Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.

This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.

Before the WhatsApp and Oculus acquisitions, Facebook still felt like a vastly richer, more popular version of the thing Zuck built in his dorm room in 2004: a social network for helping you keep track of your friends and their activities. Now it’s clear its aspirations aren’t anywhere near so well defined.

WhatsApp is already a phenomenon unto itself, the most important of several services that threaten to render text messaging obsolete in its old-fashioned, supplied-by-a-wireless-carrier form. And if Oculus takes off, Facebook may take a lead role in defining the future of human-machine interaction.

Even Zuckerberg doesn’t have an infinite war chest, and Facebok isn’t the only company willing to pay huge money for potentially epoch-shifting startups. (Exhibit A: Google’s $3 billion buyout of smart thermostat maker Nest.) But the enormity of the company’s recent purchases — in ambition, not just cost — has rewired my brain. From now on, I’m not going to be stunned by Facebook acquisitions, no matter how big. What’ll surprise me is if there are no more visionary, pricey deals where these two came from.

TIME social networks

Twitter Investigating a Bug That’s Causing Missing Tweets

Rough month for the social network

Twitter is investigating a technical issue that’s causing some tweets to appear missing, the company said Tuesday.

“We are currently researching a bug that has caused some Tweets to not be displayed,” Twitter said on its status website.

The problem was spotted early by CNBC’s Eli Langer:

Tuesday’s issue is at least the third technical problem faced by the social network this month. On March 2, Ellen Degeneres’ record-breaking Oscar seflie Tweet generated so much interest that Twitter was unavailable for several minutes during the show. Twitter experienced an outage once again on March 11.

TIME facebook

Facebook Buying Oculus Virtual-Reality Company for $2 Billion

US-IT-CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW-CES
An attendee wears an Oculus Rift HD virtual-reality head-mounted display at the Intel booth at the 2014 International CES on Jan. 9, 2014, in Las Vegas Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

Facebook is set to purchase Oculus VR, the virtual-reality-headset company best known for its Oculus Rift gaming device, in a $2 billion deal announced Tuesday that is expected to close in the second quarter of this year

Facebook will acquire virtual-reality technology company Oculus VR for $2 billion, the social-networking giant announced Tuesday. Oculus makes the Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality headset originally funded on Kickstarter.

The deal includes $400 million in cash and $1.6 billion in Facebook stock, as well as an additional $300 million if Oculus meets certain performance targets. Oculus will continue to operate independently at its headquarters in Irvine, Calif. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

Though the Rift has been pitched as a video-gaming device, Facebook plans to use its technology for communications, media and other forms of entertainment. In a conference call with analysts, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, said virtual reality has the potential to be the next great computing evolution, following the transition from desktop computers to mobile devices.

“Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever,” he said. ‘“Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

In a post on his Facebook profile page, Zuckerberg presented such scenarios as sitting courtside at a sports event, studying with a group of students or consulting face-to-face with a doctor as potential uses for virtual reality.

The acquisition amount is a huge sum for a company that has yet to release a consumer-facing product. The Oculus Rift made its public debut at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the video-game industry’s largest trade show. That summer the company launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in which it eclipsed its $250,000 funding goal nearly 10 times over. Interest in the device has risen steadily since then, with the company raising more than $90 million in venture funding over the past two years. As many as 75,000 people have ordered developer kits in order to test the device and begin making software for it. And owners of the device can already use an Oculus Rift to play PC games, enter the world of Game of Thrones or even visit a supermarket. However, the company has not yet released a version of its headset for sale to the general public. Zuckerberg did not provide a timetable for when that might happen.

For now, the Oculus team’s focus will remain on gaming. Facebook chief financial officer David Ebersman told investors that the $2 billion valuation of the company was based on gaming opportunities alone, and it’s not a lonely field: Sony revealed its own virtual-reality headset last week and Microsoft has recently expressed interest in the technology.

The acquisition comes just weeks after Facebook announced it would purchase the messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. Zuckerberg noted that he didn’t expect Facebook’s buying spree to continue, but that the company would open its wallet for companies that it thinks offer a unique value opportunity. “There are not that many companies that are building core technologies that can be the next major computing platform,” he said of Oculus.

Facebook does not yet have a business model for Oculus, but revenues won’t center around selling Oculus Rift headsets. Zuckerberg said he could envision people visiting virtual worlds where they can buy goods and are served advertisements.

The huge purchase shows that every major tech player is making a big bet on wearable devices. Google is continuing to develop its Google Glass hardware and just announced a version of its Android operating system tailored for smart watches. Samsung already has a line of smart watches. With Oculus, Facebook is making a remarkably bold bet that people in the future will want to be fully immersed in technology.

“We feel like we should be looking ahead and thinking about what the next platforms are going to be,” Zuckerberg said. “We think vision is going to be the next really big platform.”

TIME Video Games

With Remote Play, Nvidia Shield’s Killer PC Game Streaming Hits the Road

Jared Newman for TIME

PC gamers will soon be able to play from anywhere if the connection's fast enough.

Starting next week, Nvidia Shield owners won’t have to be at home to tap into their PC gaming collections.

An update for Nvidia’s gaming handheld, scheduled for April 2, will add Remote GameStream as a beta feature. If you have a good enough Nvidia graphics card and upload/download speeds of at least 5 Mbps, you can stream your PC’s entire game library to Shield over the Internet. Nvidia is also adding wake-on-LAN support and remote login for PCs that have entered sleep mode or require a password.

I’ve been using a Shield and compatible graphics card on loan from Nvidia for about two months now, streaming games to the handheld over my local Wi-Fi network, and it has profoundly changed my gaming habits. Being able to play high-quality PC games on a handheld device means I don’t have to hog the living room television or isolate myself in my office. That means I can sneak in more gaming sessions than I would have otherwise. While performance isn’t flawless — occasionally I’ll have to go to my PC to deal with some windowing error, or restart streaming to clear up some choppiness — it’s usually good enough to play games at a high level of skill. (Here’s a longer review of GameStream that I wrote for PCWorld last month.)

But on the road, Nvidia Shield isn’t as useful. Sure, you can play Android games with it — particularly those that offer controller support — but they’re no replacement for full-blown PC games.

I have my doubts about whether GameStream will run smoothly over a remote connection, but then again, I was originally skeptical of Shield’s in-home streaming as well. And even if remote streaming isn’t flawless, it could still be useful for puzzle or strategy games that don’t require precise timing. I’ll be eager to check out remote streaming next week.

Nvidia is adding a bunch of other GameStream features as part of the update:

  • Bluetooth keyboards and mice will be supported when Shield is plugged into a television via HDMI.
  • Notebook PCs with Nvidia Kepler- and Maxwell-based graphics cards are getting beta support.
  • You can manually add games to GameStream even if they’re not officially supported. (Previously, you had to access unsupported games through Steam Big Picture mode.)
  • You can pair multiple PCs to one Shield.
  • Advanced settings let users adjust bitrates, frames per second and other streaming preferences.
  • USB Y-cable support will let users charge the Shield with one cable while connecting it to Ethernet with another cable.

The Android side of Shield is getting some enhancements as well. A new interface for Nvidia’s TegraZone app will make organization easier, and Nvidia is making some usability improvements to its Gamepad Mapper software, which lets you graft controller support onto touch-based Android games. Nvidia is also updating the Shield to Android 4.4.2 KitKat.

Just to sweeten the deal a little more, Nvidia is cutting the price of Shield to $199 through the end of April, down from $249 previously. It’s still an expensive proposition, especially if you don’t already have the requisite Nvidia graphics card. But it could be a luxury worth having if you’d rather not be tethered to your desk.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

TIME Social Media

W Hotel’s Social Media Concierge Will Live-Tweet Your Wedding for $3,000

wedding twitter
Getty Images

Eh, I'll do it for $300 and I'll eat with the band back in the kitchen. Sound like a deal?

Being married myself, I distinctly recall my wife-to-be and I frantically searching for something to spend an extra three-grand on as we drew closer to our wedding day. Everything else was so inexpensive!

If only this live tweeting service – offered at New York-area W Hotel locations – had existed in 2007. We got married near Boston, but we would have gladly switched venues at the last second the chance to have our special day shared with a bunch of randos on the Internet.

According to a pitch sent to the the Huffington Post’s Bianca Bosker, here’s what your $3,000 gets you:

Live tweeting of the ceremony and reception

Instagram photos and videos and Vine videos

Curating a unique wedding #hashtag

Encouraging guests to utilize hashtag and handles as they post to social media

Set up and maintenance of Wedding Blog before and after the big day

Curating registry wish list and dream honeymoon Pinterest boards to inspire couple

Wedding social media recap for the couple – a Shutterfly book complete with social media highlights from the planning process and a collage of the best tweets and instagrams sent during the wedding.

You can read the full text of the email over at HuffPo. And if you fancy yourself some sort of social media expert, keep in mind that the title of “Social Media Wedding Concierge” now exists.

Please Do Not Pay Someone $3,000 To Live-Tweet Your Wedding [HuffPo via Romenesko]

TIME Video Games

Nvidia’s GTX Titan Z Will Do 5K ‘Supercomputer’ Gaming for $3,000

Nvidia

If it had eyes, it'd shoot laser beams that'd probably melt your face off.

Imagine, if you can, an even further souped-up Titan-family Nvidia graphics card that would, in theory, offer radically higher-end performance than the last Titan-family card, launched a little over a year ago. It’s a little like unveiling a jet-fuel-propelled roadster when you already sell some of the world’s fastest cars.

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced the new GTX Titan Z today during his company’s annual GPU Technology Conference, describing the card as sporting a pair of Kepler GPUs (Kepler is Nvidia’s codename for its 600- and 700-series of GPUs) with 5,760 processing cores (2,880 per GPU) and 12GB of 7 Gbps GDDR5 memory.

Why in heaven’s name would anyone, anywhere possibly need that sort of gaming power when no single game has (yet) been designed to take advantage of it? Gaming with multiple monitors, or at resolutions up to 5K, according to Nvidia.

That’s right, I typed “5K,” not “4K.” 4K, which is still little more than an interesting idea a long way off from broad consumer adoption, involves playing at ultra-high resolutions in the vicinity of 4096 by 2160 pixels. That’s a doubling of today’s highest-of-high-end mainstream 1080p standard, or 1920 by 1080 pixels.

5K gaming, by contrast, would take you up to something like 5120 by 2700 pixels, which is unprecedented outside elite professional circles. In fact, 5K is one of these resolutions you won’t find much written about, it’s so far-flung from the here and now. It’s perhaps best identified with the Red Digital Cinema Camera Company, which makes extreme high-end digital cinema video cameras used by folks like Peter Jackson. Jackson put The Hobbit together using a bunch of RED Epic cameras to film at 5K, in 3D and at 48 frames per second.

“If you’re in desperate need of a supercomputer that you need to fit under your desk, we have just the card for you,” Jen-Hsun said, according to Reuters.

Add “and you have $3,000 burning a hole in your pocket” to that: the GTX Titan Z will list for the old-school price of an extremely high-end computer unto itself — roughly three times what Nvidia sold the original Titan chip for.

When is it going to be time to lock your wallet in a safe and bury the key somewhere in the backyard without a map? April, looks like.

[Reuters]

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

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