Facebook-owned Oculus VR is on the verge of releasing its first ever virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift. It starts shipping this month actually, on March 28.
Behold, the Oculus Rift:
You'll notice in the minimalist image above that there's no computer.
Yet, you'll need a computer — a powerful, expensive computer — to run the Oculus Rift. It's basically a head-mounted computer monitor with motion sensors (I'm oversimplifying, but that's not inaccurate). The long and short is this: the Oculus Rift doesn't work (or do anything) without a computer feeding it a video signal and power.
And even then, even if you have a really powerful computer, it needs to be the right kind of computer. And in this case, that means a PC, not a Mac. Yes, even a high-end, super powerful Mac.
HTC / Oculus VR / Sony
Here's Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey explaining when the Oculus Rift will work on Apple's expensive, popular line of computers:
"That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it," Luckey told gaming website Shacknews in a recent interview.
Whoa whoa whoa whoa — everyone hold on. That's a poor choice of words, Mr. Luckey. What he really means to say, instead of "good," is "a computer meant for high-end gaming graphics."
Currently, Apple doesn't sell any computers aimed at the gaming crowd. Even the company's super high-end Mac Pro line of computers — the ones that looks like tiny jet engines — aren't capable of powering VR headsets.
It's not a measure of horsepower, but how that horsepower is being used. A Mack truck and a Ferrari may have the same amount of horsepower, but that horsepower is intended for different things; this is the computer equivalent of that situation.
"It just boils down to the fact that Apple doesn’t prioritize high-end GPUs," Luckey continued. "So if they prioritize higher-end GPUs like they used to for awhile back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it."
Getty Images/Justin Sullivan
And he's not wrong. Apple's computers are capable of some amazing things, including plenty of heavy lifting. What they aren't capable of, unfortunately, is powering bleeding edge games — the kind of games that you can play on the Oculus Rift.
So, for now, sorry Apple loyalists! You need a powerful gaming PC to run high-end virtual reality headsets.