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Oculus Rift: Changing The VR Landscape At CES 2013

Oculus Rift: Changing The VR Landscape At CES 2013
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The way we experience PC gaming hasn't really changed. Ever. Yes, the hardware is faster. New genres are available. And the screens we look at larger, thinner, and sometimes even able to facilitate stereoscopy. Regardless of your favorite title, you sit down in front of a monitor to play it.

For those of us who dream about the future of gaming and virtual reality, this is far from ideal. Don't get us wrong, we have plenty of fun gaming today. But many of us have waited for a more immersive experience for years. More than 25 years have passed since we first saw the holodeck on Star Trek, and the Matrix came out 13 years ago. It's nice that 3D-capable displays are mainstream now, but 3D is only one component of augmented reality.

In order to get virtual reality working, the technology needs to convince your senses that they're part of the game. Your field of vision needs to change with the orientation of your head, so impeccable tracking is a must. The display's edges can't be distracting, or the suspension of disbelief is shattered. The hardware can’t be too heavy; your body needs to support it without discomfort. And it all has to work without lag, perfectly. Otherwise, you'll never believe it and we'd end up looking forward to another generation, another day.

The Oculus Rift nails it, though. Despite the early status of the unit we previewed at CES 2013, it does everything right, and I never expected that. Until now, we’ve seen nothing but incremental improvements from virtual reality technology over the years. Given the modern virtual reality headsets that stumble under high prices and lackluster experiences, I previously believed, depressingly, that good consumer-grade VR was another 10 years off, at least. Oculus’ Rift gives me a very real hope that this technology will be available to gamers everywhere in two years or so, and at a reasonable price point.

I haven’t been this excited about a piece of hardware with the potential to change gaming since 3D hardware acceleration took off. And I believe this could even be bigger.

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  • 0 Hide
    palladin9479 , 13 January 2013 14:32
    This would completely changing gaming as we know it. You constantly hear people complaining about the draw backs of current active / passive 3D technology, and while these drawbacks are understandable they still exist as an impediment to the experience. Head Mounted Displays (HMD) always provided the best experience, their price tag was astronomical though.

    Hopefully this becomes cheap and support commonplace amongst titles.
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 13 January 2013 23:19
    Quote:
    Chris Roberts is clearly excited about the Rift, announcing his intention to support the game in the upcoming Star Citizen.


    Support the hardware, not the game.
  • 1 Hide
    swamprat , 14 January 2013 19:12
    Were the bits of advice on sitting a certain distance away from screens inaccurate, based on CRT screens, or otherwise not going to cause an issue with strapping a screen an inch away from your eyes?

    The next thing to think about beating might then be the fact that between them your eyes will be focusing on an object at a set distance based on the game etc, but each eye will have an entirely different focal point (i.e. the type of focusing your lens does).
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 15 January 2013 15:44
    Quote:
    Were the bits of advice on sitting a certain distance away from screens inaccurate, based on CRT screens, or otherwise not going to cause an issue with strapping a screen an inch away from your eyes?

    The next thing to think about beating might then be the fact that between them your eyes will be focusing on an object at a set distance based on the game etc, but each eye will have an entirely different focal point (i.e. the type of focusing your lens does).


    Convergence and depth of focus not matching? That's the exact issue I have with any 3D display tech.
  • 1 Hide
    erinc , 16 January 2013 02:52
    Kinect and Rift will be awesome sauce, can't wait!
  • 0 Hide
    CyberAngel , 17 January 2013 22:44
    Convergence and depth of focus not matching?
    That's where the lenticular displays step in...
  • 0 Hide
    fishyfish , 18 January 2013 20:04
    It was just a matter of time:

    http://www.sinfulrobot.com/oculus-rift.html
  • 0 Hide
    bobwya , 24 January 2013 04:22
    It's worth watching John Carmack's QuakeCon Keynote - warning it's pretty hardcore!! He chats about the Oculus Rift in great detail...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt-iVFxgFWk