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Look out Oculus Rift, China’s rival virtual reality headset goes on sale next month

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ANTVR, the “all-in-one universal virtual reality kit” from Beijing, reached its Kickstarter goal on June 23 and went on to raise over US$260,000.

Tech in Asia spoke to company CTO Jason Zhang on the sidelines of this week’s TechCrunch Beijing conference, who said the device will go on sale in the US in September. A China release is in the works for a later, unspecified date.

The ANTVR itself was on sight for attendants to demo, but the long queue meant each person only got about 30 seconds to test it out – not nearly enough to give a definitive answer to the many controversial claims ANTVR has made in comparison to Oculus Rift, including the ANTVR’s multi-platform capabilities, positional tracking, and latency.

That said, I can testify that the device didn’t really immerse me in the horror game used in the demo. This is largely due to the poor fit – ANTVR was clearly designed for Asian faces with flatter noses. I could see the bottom edge of the screen, and I did notice some distortion in the periphery.

See: This is China’s answer to the Oculus Rift, and it’s now on Kickstarter

ANTVR’s biggest selling point is probably the fact that it’s compatible with any game console, including mobile devices. By contrast, Oculus Rift only runs games developed specifically for its platform. A slight latency, discomfort, and mediocre video quality should all be taken into account by prospective buyers who don’t want to shell out the extra 50 bucks for a Rift (note: I’ve never used a Rift, so I can’t make direct comparisons). The ANTVR will retail for US$300.

Oculus Rift, which only sells development kits for now, suspended sales in China last month after customers bought them only to later resell them at a much higher price.

Editing by Terence Lee

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