Oculus Rift Headset
Oculus Rift: Coming Soon to your Family Room Near You
We're pretty sure Oculus Rift will get consumer's attention when they finally get their gaming head device out, but in the months remaining, the Oculus VR world is pounding out details in this radical device. This HD will make quite a bit of noise.
This headset is incredibly good at presenting 3D images in 110-degree virtual reality (more than twice its nearest competitor( and it sports an attractive, head-mounted convex casing with versions of the popular games Doom and EVE already adapted to the platform. For months, software development kits have gone out to producers.
Early Spring Kits
The Oculus Rift came out as an SDK to game industry developers back in early spring. The arrival date is wide open, sometime in 2014. It is hard to guess the price, but the manufacturer is aware of how consumers will react to this level of head-mounted gaming. Their possibilities include:
The direct marketing approach may have something to do with price. If you are hoping for a low price, you may not be disappointed. Still, the nearest competitor's unit costs over $1200.
In terms of style, the Oculus Rift seems subject to the limitations of human vision:
To achieve 110-degree virtual reality, the screen is plenty big
The housing is an ergonomic-looking design
The user is obviously in immersion while wearing it, so it had better deliver gaming advances never experienced before. Thankfully, it does.
The Oculus Rift differs from the old VR headsets because of the 90 degrees horizontal and 110 degrees vertical stereoscopic 3D perspective:
With this level of immersion, it's possible to make the imaginary world more perceptually convincing than any VR headset of the past.
The only factor limiting user cognition of a new reality is the artwork developers produce.
One of the few things left to complete the retail version is the position tracker that keeps immersed players from getting dizzy when they move their head around.
SoC and Android System
Creator John Carmack is envisioning a standalone headset with a system-on-a-chip. It is going to have an Android operating system that the smartphones use.
SoC increases standalone capabilities
Stationary workout machines aren't compatible with desktop computers
The importance of using a SoC is obvious when developers take users away from the desktop computer and place them on wired stationary workout machines that mimic human movement on virtual terrains. How can you do that when you're plugged into your desktop? Unfortunately, Carmack hedges a little about comparing the Rift to cell phones. Early versions may be better served by wireless connections to a desktop to get the full benefit the Rift promises.
Waiting for a Release
The Oculus Rift to be offered to consumers comes with a 7-inch display with 1080-pixel resolution, but the real draw is the wide-angle view. There is a reason the goggles swallow users' heads. By omitting all visual stimuli from the real world, the Oculus Rift accomplishes the total immersion it puts such a premium on.
The Oculus Rift has delivered much of what it has promised. It looks set to usurp the gaming world. It offers an incredible array of features and will certainly give the competition a run for their money.