Could the Oculus Rift be the first step into next generation gaming?

As many of you will know, the consumer world for displays have gone 3D mad. Every high end TV, computer screen and projector can now have the ability to deliver a 3D effect, as long as you have the glasses to go with them. However the Oculus Rift will most likely be the next stepping stone for gamers.

What is the Oculus Rift?

The Oculus Rift is a small virtual reality headset that you wear over your eyes. Instead of looking at a screen, the Rift projects a wide 110 degree display instead of the usual 40 degree display that you get with screens and other virtual reality headsets. Whats more, the Rift also includes head tracking technology, therefore allowing the user to move their head in any direction and the Rift will follow it, displaying every angle of the game.

The idea and development of virtual reality isn’t new. Many physical, yet crude headsets were developed between the 80′s and 90′s whilst the idea itself appeared in science fiction many years before. However during those times, developers had insufficient technology and therefore the experience still felt very crude and artificial.

It may look crude, but this may be the start of something big.

It may look crude, but this may be the start of something big.

Now however, technology has progressed to the point where we are seeing almost life-like graphics and experiences, that with virtual reality included, it will give the average player a whole new level of gaming experience. The Oculus Rift is, as of this moment, at the forefront of this technology.

Is it full Virtual Reality? Can I walk around?

There is a drawback to the Oculus Rift. It is only a headset. So in order to move around in the game, you still need to use a controller. To some people, they find this experience rather strange. You feel as if you’re in the game, but yet you still need to use a controller to move around, regardless of you turning your head.

There is also the lack of head motion (apart from the turning.) What I mean by this is, if you move your head forward or backwards, or even fall face first on the floor, the camera position in the game will stay the same. Again some testers have said that this experience feels rather strange, but it could be something that Oculus could develop on.

However this is still a prototype, let alone the first serious attempt by an independent organisation, so although it may not look as awesome as something from the Matrix, it’s still one giant leap into the world of virtual reality. However if you still want something much more, hopefully in several years time, we may get the chance of having full virtual reality where you do need to move about in later models. (Either on a multi-directional treadmill or having the experience in a sub-conscious dream-like state. Who knows what may lie in store in the years to come!)

When will it be released?

At the moment it’s still in it’s prototype stage, but it should be out in the near future. Currently it is looking very positive across the gaming industry, with developers and gamers alike, taking deep interest and enthusiasm.  With this huge boost from both audiences, the Rift as well as many other virtual reality designs should be on the shelves very quickly, very soon.

Surely this thing will cost a lot?

Not necessarily. The lead developer of the Oculus Rift; Palmer Luckey stated that the main reason for this design is so that the average gamer can be afford it. Currently on the official Oculus website, you can pre-order a developer headset for $300. The consumer headset is still currently unavaliable. But if you still want one, although the consumer version will be greatly improved, but you think that the price seems a little steep for some people. You need to realise that other headsets made by other companies are far more expensive than the Rift, making it the best consumer choice for the excellent quality you’re getting. Yes it isn’t full virtual reality, but would you rather spend thousands on a crude full virtual reality system or a small, compact, easy-to-use headset that can still give you a mindblowing experience?

For one thing that I do know, I’ll be asking for one in my Christmas list in the next several years!

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