Why the Oculus Rift is a Big Deal

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Why the Oculus Rift is a Big Deal

More than just a gimmick, Oculus Rift has the potential to change the facegear of gaming.

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Which leads to the analogy: Facebook is about as welcome in my Oculus as pesticide is in my cupcakes.

I hope there's no Facebook in my Oculus. Even if there is, I'd expect there to be a massive jailbreak and removal effort.

Should I be embarrassed for not even knowing about this deal? Either way, thanks for a nuanced perspective on the issue.

The question nobody answers for me is what's so good about VR? Immersion needs limits, or else I'd feel cheated that I had to sleep for 1/3 of the time I was playing Skyrim.

It's about as big of deal as motion controls were. It's going to be a novelty that people will obsess about for a bit and then return to traditional gaming.

I liked Raph Koster's reasoning about Facebook's motivations: http://www.raphkoster.com/2014/03/25/musings-on-the-oculus-sale/

Dead Century:
It's about as big of deal as motion controls were. It's going to be a novelty that people will obsess about for a bit and then return to traditional gaming.

Yeah, I am feeling this as well. Both motion-controls and motion-capture seemed like they would have grand possibility to fundamentally shift everything, providing much more immersive, better experiences, and well... We know how those turned out.

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

BreakfastMan:

Dead Century:
It's about as big of deal as motion controls were. It's going to be a novelty that people will obsess about for a bit and then return to traditional gaming.

Yeah, I am feeling this as well. Both motion-controls and motion-capture seemed like they would have grand possibility to fundamentally shift everything, providing much more immersive, better experiences, and well... We know how those turned out.

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

The problem with motion controls is that they are an inherently inferior input method. The core quality of an input device can be expressed by three metrics: Precision, translation, and versatility.

Precision is how accurate the input method is. How reliably can you input with the device? Motion controls are horribly inaccurate. And this isn't just a tech issue, it is a human limitation. We are not machines, we do not move in exactly the same way every time.

Translation is how much effort must be expended getting an idea from your brain translated to an action on the computer. The more effort the more we need to focus on the input instead of the idea. Most important is mental effort. Remembering all the controls is already hard enough when it is just buttons on a controller. We can see those buttons and test them to help us remember. When we use motion controls there is little to help us think. We have to remember every command, and they are rarely simple motions. We have to remember each quirk of the system which is different for every game. Cognitive overhead distracts us from our entertainment. Physical effort is also important - it is far easier to push a button than swing an arm. You will think less about the button push because it is a trivial physical motion.

Motion controls seem versatile but in practice are not. Humans are only capable of so many precise non awkward actions. This means motions controls are very limited.

VR, on the other hand, is theoretically a better way to see a game world, if only for for the First Person view. Applying similar metrics, VR theoretically increases precision and translation at the cost of versatility.

Motion controls were a fad because they were worse on even a theoretical level. VR tech is at least theoretically better in some circumstances.

Now to sit with my popcorn and watch all the people who haven't used it pontificate on why it won't catch on.

DrOswald:

BreakfastMan:

Dead Century:
It's about as big of deal as motion controls were. It's going to be a novelty that people will obsess about for a bit and then return to traditional gaming.

Yeah, I am feeling this as well. Both motion-controls and motion-capture seemed like they would have grand possibility to fundamentally shift everything, providing much more immersive, better experiences, and well... We know how those turned out.

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

The problem with motion controls is that they are an inherently inferior input method. The core quality of an input device can be expressed by three metrics: Precision, translation, and versatility.

Precision is how accurate the input method is. How reliably can you input with the device? Motion controls are horribly inaccurate. And this isn't just a tech issue, it is a human limitation. We are not machines, we do not move in exactly the same way every time.

Translation is how much effort must be expended getting an idea from your brain translated to an action on the computer. The more effort the more we need to focus on the input instead of the idea. Most important is mental effort. Remembering all the controls is already hard enough when it is just buttons on a controller. We can see those buttons and test them to help us remember. When we use motion controls there is little to help us think. We have to remember every command, and they are rarely simple motions. We have to remember each quirk of the system which is different for every game. Cognitive overhead distracts us from our entertainment. Physical effort is also important - it is far easier to push a button than swing an arm. You will think less about the button push because it is a trivial physical motion.

Motion controls seem versatile but in practice are not. Humans are only capable of so many precise non awkward actions. This means motions controls are very limited.

VR, on the other hand, is theoretically a better way to see a game world, if only for for the First Person view. Applying similar metrics, VR theoretically increases precision and translation at the cost of versatility.

Motion controls were a fad because they were worse on even a theoretical level. VR tech is at least theoretically better in some circumstances.

I really don't see how VR improves precision or translation. I mean, moving your head a little is about as easy as moving your hand a little, and we have finer control over the motion of our hands than we with our head. That is not to mention the problems that arise for older people or people with neck injuries that don't arise with other control methods (while these problems aren't as bad as motion control, they should still be a factor). :\

SpinFusor:
Now to sit with my popcorn and watch all the people who haven't used it pontificate on why it won't catch on.

You are sounding like the people who tried Wii Sports at E3 2006...

BreakfastMan:

DrOswald:

BreakfastMan:

Yeah, I am feeling this as well. Both motion-controls and motion-capture seemed like they would have grand possibility to fundamentally shift everything, providing much more immersive, better experiences, and well... We know how those turned out.

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

The problem with motion controls is that they are an inherently inferior input method. The core quality of an input device can be expressed by three metrics: Precision, translation, and versatility.

Precision is how accurate the input method is. How reliably can you input with the device? Motion controls are horribly inaccurate. And this isn't just a tech issue, it is a human limitation. We are not machines, we do not move in exactly the same way every time.

Translation is how much effort must be expended getting an idea from your brain translated to an action on the computer. The more effort the more we need to focus on the input instead of the idea. Most important is mental effort. Remembering all the controls is already hard enough when it is just buttons on a controller. We can see those buttons and test them to help us remember. When we use motion controls there is little to help us think. We have to remember every command, and they are rarely simple motions. We have to remember each quirk of the system which is different for every game. Cognitive overhead distracts us from our entertainment. Physical effort is also important - it is far easier to push a button than swing an arm. You will think less about the button push because it is a trivial physical motion.

Motion controls seem versatile but in practice are not. Humans are only capable of so many precise non awkward actions. This means motions controls are very limited.

VR, on the other hand, is theoretically a better way to see a game world, if only for for the First Person view. Applying similar metrics, VR theoretically increases precision and translation at the cost of versatility.

Motion controls were a fad because they were worse on even a theoretical level. VR tech is at least theoretically better in some circumstances.

I really don't see how VR improves precision or translation. I mean, moving your head a little is about as easy as moving your hand a little, and we have finer control over the motion of our hands than we with our head. That is not to mention the problems that arise for older people or people with neck injuries that don't arise with other control methods (while these problems aren't as bad as motion control, they should still be a factor). :\

I think my point got a little muddled there. Motion controls are an input device. Us to Computer. VR is an output device. Computer to Us. VR tech is not an input device. Head movement plays only the exact role it does in real life. It does not change your orientation. It slightly adjusts your view. You don't turn around in a VR game by spinning your head. VR improves the precision and translation of the output.

Precision is improved by more accurately presenting spacial data. Monitors, even very wide or large ones, work like a window into a world through which we look. We are positioned outside of the game world looking in. Space cannot be communicated effectively using such a setup. VR tech shifts the position of the player into the game world. In addition, head movements allow you to modify your view without moving your body. Your head does move more precisely than your hand for a very specific set of movements. Those movements all have to do with bringing sensory organs into the right position quickly.

Translation is improved by the image being displayed in the way our brain is used to seeing the world. Imagine if everything you could see was limited to directly in front of your face through a small window 2-3 feet away. That is how games are played now. You have no left or right, only directly in front. There is no peripheral vision, no left or right or up or down. Only directly forward. We gamers are used to translating such an image into a game world, but it is a lot of effort. Establishing a clear mental view of 3D space is incredibly difficult under those limitations. This is why it is so hard to platform in a first person game. Your spacial reference is so handicapped you literally cannot figure out where your feet are. VR tech enables the use of the visual tools you would use under normal circumstances to establish 3D space.

"They're not so much evil as a pushy, prying gossip salesman with a wobbly moral compass."
LOL, great phrasing! :D

"Sure, Apple was the first to introduce the modern smartphone paradigm, but that didn't let them lock down the market."
It did give them a MASSIVE dominance the first few years they'd never have gotten otherwise, though.
But indeed, that did not last. Still, they get quite fat even today on EXTREME brand loyalty....

DrOswald:

BreakfastMan:

DrOswald:

The problem with motion controls is that they are an inherently inferior input method. The core quality of an input device can be expressed by three metrics: Precision, translation, and versatility.

Precision is how accurate the input method is. How reliably can you input with the device? Motion controls are horribly inaccurate. And this isn't just a tech issue, it is a human limitation. We are not machines, we do not move in exactly the same way every time.

Translation is how much effort must be expended getting an idea from your brain translated to an action on the computer. The more effort the more we need to focus on the input instead of the idea. Most important is mental effort. Remembering all the controls is already hard enough when it is just buttons on a controller. We can see those buttons and test them to help us remember. When we use motion controls there is little to help us think. We have to remember every command, and they are rarely simple motions. We have to remember each quirk of the system which is different for every game. Cognitive overhead distracts us from our entertainment. Physical effort is also important - it is far easier to push a button than swing an arm. You will think less about the button push because it is a trivial physical motion.

Motion controls seem versatile but in practice are not. Humans are only capable of so many precise non awkward actions. This means motions controls are very limited.

VR, on the other hand, is theoretically a better way to see a game world, if only for for the First Person view. Applying similar metrics, VR theoretically increases precision and translation at the cost of versatility.

Motion controls were a fad because they were worse on even a theoretical level. VR tech is at least theoretically better in some circumstances.

I really don't see how VR improves precision or translation. I mean, moving your head a little is about as easy as moving your hand a little, and we have finer control over the motion of our hands than we with our head. That is not to mention the problems that arise for older people or people with neck injuries that don't arise with other control methods (while these problems aren't as bad as motion control, they should still be a factor). :\

I think my point got a little muddled there. Motion controls are an input device. Us to Computer. VR is an output device. Computer to Us. VR tech is not an input device. Head movement plays only the exact role it does in real life. It does not change your orientation. It slightly adjusts your view. You don't turn around in a VR game by spinning your head. VR improves the precision and translation of the output.

Precision is improved by more accurately presenting spacial data. Monitors, even very wide or large ones, work like a window into a world through which we look. We are positioned outside of the game world looking in. Space cannot be communicated effectively using such a setup. VR tech shifts the position of the player into the game world. In addition, head movements allow you to modify your view without moving your body. Your head does move more precisely than your hand for a very specific set of movements. Those movements all have to do with bringing sensory organs into the right position quickly.

Translation is improved by the image being displayed in the way our brain is used to seeing the world. Imagine if everything you could see was limited to directly in front of your face through a small window 2-3 feet away. That is how games are played now. You have no left or right, only directly in front. There is no peripheral vision, no left or right or up or down. Only directly forward. We gamers are used to translating such an image into a game world, but it is a lot of effort. Establishing a clear mental view of 3D space is incredibly difficult under those limitations. This is why it is so hard to platform in a first person game. Your spacial reference is so handicapped you literally cannot figure out where your feet are. VR tech enables the use of the visual tools you would use under normal circumstances to establish 3D space.

Exactly this DrOswald. I love Gran Tourismo, I have a racing wheel. I would LOVE if shoulder checking were an actual head movement rather than a slightly akward button push that only gives a perfect 90 degree sideways view.
Similarly, I am excited for the possibility of once again playing Flying Games that are good. (Seriously Games Industry, where is my Ps3 flight-stick? And good mech game?)

Finally, motion controls were further crippled by staggering lack of imaginative uses for them. They had potential, but nobody had a damned CLUE of what to do with them. The simple difference of perspective will more than cover for the lack of imagination that will be employed, because once you ARE there, it's finished.

My head just exploded with the thought of one thing: Spider-Man. If you can make me feel, even just a little more like Spidey than the Xbox game for Spider Man 2, you have just won all of gaming.

Great article, Shamus. I too, am extremely excited about the Oculus and the technology it is bringing to the industry. Like you covered in your article, it is not a gimmick, there are some very talented, serious names involved in bringing the Oculus to market that you cannot dismiss or ignore. It baffled me that Jim in his recent Jimquisition on this topic dismissed the Oculus as a minor distraction that would be forgotten because VR is something that comes and goes over and over. It continues to baffle me that people on the Escapist seem to agree with Jim's perception of the subject and proclaim that the Oculus and the technology is nothing more then a distraction, nothing to be taken seriously. Have none of you even looked at the amount of money and technology that is being poured into this? There are working prototypes that have stunned people with how good they are. The only reason we don't all have one yet is because they are fine-tuning issues with motion-sickness and headaches. But you can bet your ass it's coming and it's going to take the gaming market by storm.

I'm more hyped for Star Citizen with the Oculus than anything else. More hyped then I have been for any game ever and I'm 26 and have been gaming daily for 18 years.

I'm sorry but I wouldn't call this virtual reality. Reality is what you wake up to every day and encompasses all of the five sense.

When you put on an occulus rift you are essentially looking at a very interactive screen. This isnt really virtual reality. The OR is an early look into what will hopefully someday evolve into an actual synthetic world we can visit.

Maybe I've watched too much sword art online and log horizon. But I can't get that hyped about walking around a purely visual CGI field. Or playing an fps that I have to stand up to play and still doesn't allow me to have 20 20 vision.

Occulus rift probably is the next step. But for me it's just a very expensive small shuffle forwards.

Let me know when I can sprint around in a fantasy world, whilst my body in the real world is completely still and not making me look like an arsehole.

BreakfastMan:

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

::Blink:: ::Blink:: Really? You don't think that being fully immersed visually into a world is enough of a sell for you in the long term? Have you imagined playing something like Black and White or the Sims on a VR headset? How about a something like Valkaryie from CCP, you play as a fighter pilot in space. What about watching TV or Movies? Or are you the kind of guy that would say 25 years ago to the internet. "Yeah I know it communicates like telephones but with sending data instead of voices, but isn't that only the extent of it?" That's one hell of a downplay coming from someone that isn't a PR rep for perhaps a company that only makes monitors with profits to protect.

Scorpid:

BreakfastMan:

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

::Blink:: ::Blink:: Really? You don't think that being fully immersed visually into a world is enough of a sell for you in the long term?

A: I doubt VR fully immerses someone in a world, and B: not every game needs "immersion" (see the aforementioned Mario example). It would be interesting for some games, but that is about it.

Have you imagined playing something like Black and White or the Sims on a VR headset?

No? Why would I? It sounds completely pointless, quite frankly.

How about a something like Valkaryie from CCP, you play as a fighter pilot in space.

That could be interesting, if it was in first person. Otherwise, I doubt it could work out.

What about watching TV or Movies?

Don't much see the point there. I get why VR is interesting for first-person games, but for movies? I don't understand.

I see the buyout as Zuckererg seeing Oculus Rift and thinking "if I buy this, and it bombs, big deal, I'm a multi-billionaire. If I buy this, and it takes off, I walk away richer. But if I don't buy this and it does take off..."

It's a little silly to think that Facebook would stay a social media company, and it does, it'll end up like MySpace. It's smart to branch out, and Zuckerberg is smart to realize that shaking things up is a better long-term strategy.

BreakfastMan:

Scorpid:

BreakfastMan:

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

::Blink:: ::Blink:: Really? You don't think that being fully immersed visually into a world is enough of a sell for you in the long term?

A: I doubt VR fully immerses someone in a world, and B: not every game needs "immersion" (see the aforementioned Mario example). It would be interesting for some games, but that is about it.

Have you imagined playing something like Black and White or the Sims on a VR headset?

No? Why would I? It sounds completely pointless, quite frankly.

How about a something like Valkaryie from CCP, you play as a fighter pilot in space.

That could be interesting, if it was in first person. Otherwise, I doubt it could work out.

What about watching TV or Movies?

Don't much see the point there. I get why VR is interesting for first-person games, but for movies? I don't understand.

I'm honestly shocked you are defending this. What size monitor are you watching this on? Why don't you go back to smaller 1024 x 768 resolution because I know it isn't that. Those monitors are dirt cheap and convey information well enough. it's because you are trying to create the sort of experience strapping a VR headset on creates. VISUAL immersion. Removing entirely, or in the case of monitors as much as possible, anything outside of what you want to see as the article spelled out. With a VR headset for gaming you won't have any reason to get a bigger monitor. And again as the article explained it removes some of the flat image a monitor creates. If this doesn't impress you simply have no imagination. Go back to your radial dial telephone, those fancy touch buttons are just a needless complication while doing the same thing!

Scorpid:

I'm honestly shocked you are defending this. What size monitor are you watching this on? Why don't you go back to smaller 1024 x 768 resolution because I know it isn't that. Those monitors are dirt cheap and convey information well enough. it's because you are trying to create the sort of experience strapping a VR headset on creates. VISUAL immersion. Removing entirely, or in the case of monitors as much as possible, anything outside of what you want to see as the article spelled out. With a VR headset for gaming you won't have any reason to get a bigger monitor. And again as the article explained it removes some of the flat image a monitor creates. If this doesn't impress you simply have no imagination. Go back to your radial dial telephone, those fancy touch buttons are just a needless complication while doing the same thing!

If you could actually provide a counter-argument to my points, that would be great. Because right now, not really seeing anything that provides any sort of counter to what I said. You are explaining what VR does, and I already understand that.

As for whether or not it impresses me... That doesn't much matter. Motion controls impressed me. The Kinect impressed me. 3D TVs where pretty neat. The Ouya was a cool idea. And all of those devices and technologies failed to catch on in any substantial way, in the long run.

Good article, with a few misconceptions. While VR does require 60 frames per second, adequate programmers wouldn't need to use twice the resources again to create separate images for each eye. Also, I seriously doubt LCD screens will ever be used in consumer VR, Oculus has already made the transition to OLED, which can achieve a much lower pixel switching time than any LCD screen on the market.

When I ordered my dev kit, I had to wait for a couple of months before my batch was made and shipped to me. It's a good thing that Oculus has the money to actually build inventory now, because that kind of thing would never fly with ordinary consumers. They need the ability to stock these things in Best Buys and whatnot.

I seriously doubt Facebook will just start plastering their image all over the thing. Instead, I think they're trying to become a conglomerate, a parent company that does multiple unrelated things in the tech market. It's a solid business strategy but not often seen in the computer world.

Just wondering, have the people bashing the Rift right now ever tried it? Even in all it's soon-to-be retro low res glory, the Rift makes any game (first OR third person) or movie 10x more fun, because you actually do feel inside of it, to a degree. As someone who commonly suffers from game-boredom, my Dev Kit has actually made gaming fun and new again, like it was when I was a kid. I can't wait for this technology to just become better and better.

Will VR come to dominate the market, gaining a larger share of gamers than the traditional TV/screen? I can't say. Probably not, at least not for a long time. But it is much more than a motion control gimmick already, and will certainly be a big enough hit that it'll be around for a long time to come.

EDIT: Having a Rift dev kit also makes you like the coolest person ever. It's like a teacup pig, fun enough that girls will be super interested, but won't take up all of their interest.

BreakfastMan:

Scorpid:

I'm honestly shocked you are defending this. What size monitor are you watching this on? Why don't you go back to smaller 1024 x 768 resolution because I know it isn't that. Those monitors are dirt cheap and convey information well enough. it's because you are trying to create the sort of experience strapping a VR headset on creates. VISUAL immersion. Removing entirely, or in the case of monitors as much as possible, anything outside of what you want to see as the article spelled out. With a VR headset for gaming you won't have any reason to get a bigger monitor. And again as the article explained it removes some of the flat image a monitor creates. If this doesn't impress you simply have no imagination. Go back to your radial dial telephone, those fancy touch buttons are just a needless complication while doing the same thing!

If you could actually provide a counter-argument to my points, that would be great. Because right now, not really seeing anything that provides any sort of counter to what I said. You are explaining what VR does, and I already understand that.

As for whether or not it impresses me... That doesn't much matter. Motion controls impressed me. The Kinect impressed me. 3D TVs where pretty neat. The Ouya was a cool idea. And all of those devices and technologies failed to catch on in any substantial way, in the long run.

The Kinect didn't work and wasn't developed enough on the Microsoft side and wasn't supported by any really skilled 3rd party developers on the game side, 3d isn't new and is just a failed attempt to do what VR headset would do, and the Ouya is a bigger bulkier subscriberless smart phone with no phone involved so you can play the games smart phones do. In short nothing new and nothing that worked. Oculus Rift is being developed by a very patient team with endless funding and the only comparable product that went to market for games with VR was the Virtual Boy which had the same problems as the Kinect. Watch some people actually play it. Their reactions should tell you what it does. It's going to be something because the technology is actually there to make it work.

Scorpid:

The Kinect didn't work and wasn't developed enough on the Microsoft side and wasn't supported by any really skilled 3rd party developers on the game side, 3d isn't new and is just a failed attempt to do what VR headset would do, and the Ouya is a bigger bulkier subscriberless smart phone with no phone involved so you can play the games smart phones do. In short nothing new and nothing that worked. Oculus Rift is being developed by a very patient team with endless funding and the only comparable product that went to market for games with VR was the Virtual Boy which had the same problems as the Kinect. Watch some people actually play it. Their reactions should tell you what it does. It's going to be something because the technology is actually there to make it work.

Yeah... I don't go by the reactions of people experiencing something at a trade show, using best software to show off how the product functions. Remember how amazed everyone was with the Wii after the E3 2006 Wii Sports demos and all the hype around motion controls from those demos? I do.

Also, have they showed off people playing something like Civ V on it? Super Mario 3D World? Super Meat Boy? Diablo? Catherine? Gears of War? Devil May Cry? Tekken? No, the demos are for (mostly) heavily-atmospheric first-person games. The uses of the systems are limited at best.

BreakfastMan:

SpinFusor:
Now to sit with my popcorn and watch all the people who haven't used it pontificate on why it won't catch on.

You are sounding like the people who tried Wii Sports at E3 2006...

And you sound like someone who hasn't tried the rift, and isn't aware that their comparison to motion controls is laughable.

I do agree on one point, though. The VR experience isn't for every game, and I don't think it will completely replace conventional types of gaming, by any means. Some games are gonna be more fun/functional on a monitor/TV (or at least won't be enhanced by VR).

However, VR itself has massive potential in gaming, and in applications outside of gaming. The ability to place yourself in a virtual world is more compelling than some seem able to imagine, and will inspire a host of games that a monitor/TV just won't be able to do justice.

Ell Jay:
The question nobody answers for me is what's so good about VR? Immersion needs limits, or else I'd feel cheated that I had to sleep for 1/3 of the time I was playing Skyrim.

Different strokes for different folks. Like some people well spend thousands of $$$ setting up elaborate surround sound systems in their home theaters and buy their music in Full Lossless Audio... hell I don't know exactly what its called, but anyways these people refer to themselves as audiophiles. But for me personally? Give me the most expensive surround sound theater setup or a basic TV mono speaker and it has zero impact on my enjoyment of the movie/show/music.

I'm the exact opposite when it comes to visuals though. Absolutely love scenery porn, and will often use the walk command in RPG's and the like to take it all in. I just know without even having to try it that this tech will be perfect for me and blow the experience out of the water, just like how I loved Avatar for the visual spectacle in what was otherwise a mediocre movie. Speaking of Avatar that's a good litmus test for people who are 'visual blind' in the same way that I'm 'tone deaf' with audio.

Difference is I recognize it as a matter of personal taste and preference and don't go around saying that surround sound is a useless gimmick.

In the long term? I don't know. Facebook is seen as a leering, overbearing creep of a company. They're not so much evil as a pushy, prying gossip salesman with a wobbly moral compass. What happens if they try to use their headset to push their social network? (Assuming such a thing is even feasible.) The thing is, being the first to market with a new product is a mixed blessing. Sure, you get those juicy early-adopter sales. But you also get to pay for all the R&D. You get to make the mistakes that everyone else can learn from. Sure, Apple was the first to introduce the modern smartphone paradigm, but that didn't let them lock down the market. Other people copied the features that people liked and dumped the ones they didn't. We quickly had phones that were nearly as good as an iPhone, but for a fraction of the price. If VR takes off and Facebook tries to leverage it in a way consumers don't like, they'll just be giving a boost to the copycats that will follow a year or so down the line.

Yes but when the iPhone came out Steve Jobbs hadn't been burned by that lawsuit yet hadn't started building an army of lawyers with a budget greater than the R&D while applying for patents on every little thing they do.

I've chosen to take the wait and see approach with Facebook's ownership of Occulus Rift, but what worries me is we don't know what's in that patent portfolio and what kind of damage they could do with it. You could console yourself with the idea that if Facebook screws it up for gaming then we can just have Sony or Valve or whoever bring their own version to market, but in the worst case scenario what if they not only screw it up but then patent block anyone else from doing it right? Or a lesser evil they could do it right but still use those patents to block competitors with other new ideas from entering the market. We just don't know what they hold really, but I suspect the $2 billion price tag may have been as much about the patent portfolio as it was the name brand and talent.

First and foremost, I am sad that I was wrong about this being an elaborate April Fool's prank, c'mon, it had all the makings of one.

Notch was upset the they sold out to Facebook, now all the Minecraft payers hate the Rift. All Gabe has to say is "Half Life 3 on Oculus." and BAM! They're all back on board with it. Personally, I think it will turn out to be a good thing, Facebook has the cash to move this thing forwards at triple speed, and they have something of a reputation when acquiring outside products; They leave them alone to do their thing.

So what if it has a Facebook logo on the outside of the hardware, who cares? It's not like you are going to walk around outside with them on.

BreakfastMan:
Also, have they showed off people playing something like Civ V on it? Super Mario 3D World? Super Meat Boy? Diablo? Catherine? Gears of War? Devil May Cry? Tekken? No, the demos are for (mostly) heavily-atmospheric first-person games. The uses of the systems are limited at best.

This is the key bit, for me. Rather than comparing it to motion controls, though, I'd compare it to the swish steering wheel setups people buy for racing games - a hugely expensive immersion aid for a single genre of games which can be played well enough with regular hardware instead.

For strategy games and MMOs in particular, I tend to run the game on my main monitor, a web browser on the other, and sometimes the TV on the other side, and that experience is definitely not replicable with goggles. Heck, even with headphones, I tend to keep them off of one ear, so I can still hear what's going on in the world around me. I don't especially ever want to be so immersed I don't hear my phone, or the doorbell, or my girlfriend.

Around 12% of people can't see 3D images at all via traditional methods, I don't know if the Rift addresses that or not?

Kolyarut:

BreakfastMan:
Also, have they showed off people playing something like Civ V on it? Super Mario 3D World? Super Meat Boy? Diablo? Catherine? Gears of War? Devil May Cry? Tekken? No, the demos are for (mostly) heavily-atmospheric first-person games. The uses of the systems are limited at best.

This is the key bit, for me. Rather than comparing it to motion controls, though, I'd compare it to the swish steering wheel setups people buy for racing games - a hugely expensive immersion aid for a single genre of games which can be played well enough with regular hardware instead.

Yeah, I was thinking last night that is the best comparison at this point. Motion controls aren't the best comparison overall, but they are a handy comparison for the hype the Occulus is receiving (though I would argue that motion controls add to the immersion of sports games). And I think that is why the hype sounds so silly to me; it sounds like people claiming that racing wheels will revolutionize the gaming industry. :\

BreakfastMan:

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

Not *every* game needs to be immersive, but the general appeal of being immersed in virtual worlds can be AT LEAST as big as current gaming, probably bigger.

100 years ago, as people proposed that cinema will be future media's biggest thing instead of literature, you could have said that "not every story has to be presented in an audiovisual play". And technically, you would have been right, people kept writing books too, but motion picture was still a big enough deal that it became the centerpiece of pop-culture.

Maybe VR will only be useful for first person exploration-adventure stories. But if that's the case, the future of gaming and the future of pop media in general will be littered with first person exploration-adventure stories, with everything else from the Marios to the MGSes and from the Minecrafts to Call of Dutys being sidelined as an old-fashioned niche, a remnant of "the traditional medium".

The general public will always move for the more intuitive and detailed immersion as soon as it is available, just as they dropped literature and theatre for movies, and tabletop games and TV shows for video games, and 2D animation for CGI, and turn-based games for real time ones, etc.

Alterego-X:

BreakfastMan:

And, quite frankly, not every game has to be "immersive". I don't really want to be in Mario's world. I don't really want to be in Solid Snake's world. The tech could be an interesting toy to play around with in first-person games (especially ones like Gone Home, STALKER, Amnesia, or Kairo), but... That seems to be the extent of the system's usefulness. :\

Not *every* game needs to be immersive, but the general appeal of being immersed in virtual worlds can be AT LEAST as big as current gaming, probably bigger.

100 years ago, as people proposed that cinema will be future media's biggest thing instead of literature, you could have said that "not every story has to be presented in an audiovisual play". And technically, you would have been right, people kept writing books too, but motion picture was still a big enough deal that it became the centerpiece of pop-culture.

Maybe VR will only be useful for first person exploration-adventure stories. But if that's the case, the future of gaming and the future of pop media in general will be littered with first person exploration-adventure stories, with everything else from the Marios to the MGSes and from the Minecrafts to Call of Dutys being sidelined as an old-fashioned niche, a remnant of "the traditional medium".

The general public will always move for the more intuitive and detailed immersion as soon as it is available, just as they dropped literature and theatre for movies, and tabletop games and TV shows for video games, and 2D animation for CGI, and turn-based games for real time ones, etc.

Yeah... Not convinced that the Occulus Rift is an inherently new medium. It is just a different way of presenting an old one. Even if it is a new medium, that doesn't mean it completely supersedes the old one, and the assumption that it would just because "it is so cool, you guys!" boggles my mind.

Also... The public never dropped literature, TV, turn-based games, or 2D animation. Books and TV have actually experienced a resurgence in recent years, and 2D animation is still the dominant form of animation for everything except big-budget films.

BreakfastMan:

Yeah... Not convinced that the Occulus Rift is an inherently new medium. It is just a different way of presenting an old one. Even if it is a new medium, that doesn't mean it completely supersedes the old one, and the assumption that it would just because "it is so cool, you guys!" boggles my mind.

Yeah, there's a lot of "If you don't think it's the best thing since sliced bread, then you just don't get it, man" going on around here.

Oh, and about FB acquiring it? Well, can you say, "Advertising...IN YOUR FACE!"?

Alterego-X:
The general public will always move for the more intuitive and detailed immersion as soon as it is available, just as they dropped literature and theatre for movies, and tabletop games and TV shows for video games, and 2D animation for CGI, and turn-based games for real time ones, etc.

Nothing has ever not happened as much as the above did not happen.

None of the above was dropped. Hell, a lot of it has become MORE popular since their supposed "replacements" came around, because more people in general are consuming entertainment products.

AldUK:
The only reason we don't all have one yet is because they are fine-tuning issues with motion-sickness and headaches.

As someone prone to both motion sickness and headaches, this is exactly why I will be steering clear of any VR for the foreseeable future. I just think that there are too many biological and neurological hurdles to overcome before anything like this can become truly mainstream.

Of course, the only way to really know if I would suffer any ill effects from this technology would be to try it out first. A few minutes in a demo environment would be insufficient; I'd have to strap into it for at least a few hours with different types of games and environments. Considering that the price tag on these is going to be fairly significant, if I'm ever going to try this technology out then it is going to have to come with a very customer-friendly return policy. Until then, it's just not worth the risk of purchase.

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