According to an announcement from the CEO and co-founder of FOVE, the Kickstarter-funded eye-tracking virtual reality headset from the company has now finally started shipping to the nearly 1,500 early backers on the crowd-funding platform. Describing the development as “the culmination of a two and a half year adventure”, the CEO, Ms. Yuka Kojima, recounted how she and her fellow FOVE co-founder, Mr. Lochlainn Wilson, started off with a small team back in 2014 hoping to enable people interact in a new way with the virtual world. The FOVE 0 was originally expected to ship in May 2016, but a number of delays and postponements has meant that shipments could only start almost two years after the project’s Kickstarter campaign was fully funded back in May 2015.
The project raised $480,000 on the crowdfunding platform back in 2015, with pricing for each unit starting at $349 initially. The device went on pre-order last November at $549, although it will now cost you $699 if you’re looking to get one for yourself. Orders can be placed on the company’s website, but orders placed now will only start shipping next month. As for the FOVE 0, the device may have finally started shipping after all the false starts, but VR headsets are nothing without accompanying software support. That being the case, compatibility with SteamVR is a big draw for the device, as that means it is compatible with the hundreds of titles that are currently available on the platform.
FOVE is also taking the opportunity to launch some unique content, which, the company hopes would showcase its eye-tracking feature in all its glory, and would prove compelling enough to turn the tide in their favor against competitors like Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, all of which are backed by established tech giants with deep pockets. The application in question in Lumen, which is described as a “VR meditation experience” that makes full use of the device’s novel eye-tracking feature. The software will reportedly allow users to grow a forest just by looking at different areas on the screen. Where you look and for how long you look, will be crucial factors in how the forest grows literally in front of your eyes. It sounds like a really interesting concept in theory, but how popular it will be and how well it furthers the cause of eye-tracking VR will depend on how well the idea is executed.