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Facebook Games Hardware

Oculus Rift Review: Virtual Reality is Almost Here 176

In what can be seen as a major milestone in the nascent, but fast-evolving virtual reality technology space, Facebook-owned Oculus on Monday began shipping the commercial version of the Rift. Several technology publications have posted their reviews of the Oculus Rift. The Verge, for instance, says: The high cost of buying and running high-end VR headsets makes them inaccessible to many people, and the Rift in particular is relentlessly focused on gaming. Within these limitations, though, the Rift makes a good case for seated VR, and it lays a solid foundation for what's to come. The headset you can buy today is not Oculus' most ambitious vision for virtual reality -- but it's a vision that Oculus has successfully delivered on. The publication has given the Rift a score of 8 out of 10, noting that the retail price of the Rift, and the accompanying gaming PC, is a tad too expensive. It also found the lack of motion controls a weakness. Cnet writes: You simply must try the Oculus Rift. It's breathtaking. I just wouldn't buy one right now -- and there's no reason you should feel the need to, either (especially with its arch-rival, the HTC Vive, also just days away). The longer you wait to buy, the better it will get. This is just day one for Oculus -- and for the future of virtual reality.
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Oculus Rift Review: Virtual Reality is Almost Here

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  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @12:51PM (#51793187)

    ...the better the chance this hype will have fizzled and that you will not have to buy anything! VR is about as "ready" as 3D television, which is completely over because it does not really work at this time. The same is true for VR.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      As someone who honks his hog on the reg to stereoscopic 180-degree porn videos on his Oculus DK1, lemme tell ya, going back to the flat 2D stuff is almost painful. This stuff is ready for primetime.
      • by ProzacPatient ( 915544 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:28PM (#51793477)

        I'm also wondering why everyone is complaining about the lack of motion controls with the Rift. Is really using a Keyboard+Mouse with a headset really that tough? I mean I can use my keyboard with my eyes closed (I just tried it).

        For me the real appeal of the Rift is not so much total immersion as it is having depth perception into a virtual environment without having to deal with the idiosyncrasies of 3D monitors.

        • by samkass ( 174571 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:38PM (#51793539) Homepage Journal

          Yes, keyboard controls are problematic. Yes, it's possible to type with your eyes closed, but if your hands lose the keyboard entirely it really brings you out of the experience to find it again and reposition. And many times the movement keys are not necessarily on the "home row" so you end up hunting around a bit. Plus, oftentimes the experiences work better if you're a bit back from your desk with some space to lean forward or shift a bit. Keyboards really detract from the experience.

          • And many times the movement keys are not necessarily on the "home row"

            Why not? I mean even really poorly thought out and garbage coded console to PC ports let you re-map your keys. If this is your complaint then you have no one to complain to but yourself.

          • Fixed keyboards can detract if you want to sit and spin in a swivel chair.
            Wireless keyboard mounted on the chair can largely negate this issue - good enough for me anyway.
            There's like a dozen companies, including some big names, working on various forms of 'controller free' hand detection which (when accurate enough) will make handheld controllers obsolete (however hand/body covering haptic feedback type gear will probably have it's place).
            I don't think controllers (or x% of field of vision, or y resolut
          • The keyboard is more a case of immersion. From my time playing Elite Dangerous with the DK2, I tried 3 different inputs. I used Keyboard (Nostromo) and Mouse, XBOX 360 controller and Saitek X52.

            When you are piloting, it is great to be able to see your motions on the joystick matched by the Avatar in game. This gave the best immersion. However, it quickly becomes a real problem when you go to the galaxy map, and have to find your keyboard to type in a destination.

            I think the VIVE will be the winner in the lo

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:13PM (#51793383)
      But Oculus wants you to believe it's ready because they're already a couple billion dollars in the hole and would need to a few million units just to break even.
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Very true. And there are a lot of idiots that believe them. The question is will they find enough idiots? I think their price-tag is just a bit too high for that...

        • Very true. And there are a lot of idiots that believe them. The question is will they find enough idiots? I think their price-tag is just a bit too high for that...

          There's only one relevant part of that entire post and that's the bit where you said "I think".

          For everything else it becomes a matter of what you get out of what you spend, and so far I have yet to find someone who's truly put the Rift in the "regret spend" category. Most people who have them love them even with their limited utility. That hardly makes a person an idiot, and quite frankly people blow money on products with far less utility and payback than that constantly.

          How high of a price tag is too hig

          • It's less than the price of the guitar I didn't buy [reverb.com] (because I got a junker instead and fixed it up with nice hardware). So I'm tempted.

            I think it would be a neat productivity tool and I could keep my screen private instead of having 4 monitors filling my desk for all to see.

      • But Oculus wants you to believe it's ready because they're already a couple billion dollars in the hole and would need to a few million units just to break even.

        Then they need a 'killer app'. So long as everybody is talking about the device and not the game or other feature that people must have, it's going to be lack luster.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      Have you actually tried VR? No? Then I'd perhaps recommend you do so before making such wild claims. It's possible that VR will fizzle out, but to compare it to 3DTV is showing the extent of your experience with the technology (i.e. zero). The biggest problems VR will face are applications and costs, not whether the technology actually works.
      • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @02:35PM (#51793973) Homepage

        It's possible that VR will fizzle out, but to compare it to 3DTV is showing the extent of your experience with the technology (i.e. zero). The biggest problems VR will face are applications and costs, not whether the technology actually works.

        Which was ... the exact same problem with 3DTV? I have a 3DTV. Trust me, the technology works quite well. But people didn't want to buy in because it was costly and they didn't see a reason for it. Audiences were already getting bored with 3D movies in theaters by the time the costs of the sets came down. Then they were told they'd have to buy extra sets of battery-powered glasses if they wanted to be able to watch with their families. The 3D sports content never really materialized. The 3D Blu-Rays cost more than the regular ones. Etc.

        Similarly, I have tried some of the VR technology -- not Oculus, but a couple others (some still in development). It's impressive. The first time you put one of those headsets on, you will go, "Whoa!" If you're like me, you will proceed to tell many of your friends about it and how neat the experience was. But you will not buy one.

        • For me 3D TV is a bust because of the high cost of the media. Which is a problem the industry brought on itself by setting an arbitrarily high markup for the discs. The TV I bought came with "passive" 3D basically as a free feature, comparable TVs without 3D weren't any cheaper. I did have to buy a new disc player since our old one was just a DVD player that was nearly a decade old, but again 3D was just one of a dozen features that didn't seem to add to the cost of the device. Since the TV had "passive" 3D

        • Trust me, the technology works quite well.

          I don't trust you because the technology doesn't work well at all. It's a sickening experience combining the best of slight ghosting with nauseating movement, a lower perceived framerate, and a fundamental problem that it disconnects the content from the flat window in which the director controls it. It took more from the experience than it added. I have all the gear. I even have some content, and when I watch that content I do so in 2D because 3D definitely didn't make me go Whoa!, it made me go Uah!!!!

          VR

          • VR on the other hand made me go Whoa!. So why will you not buy one?

            $600 is a lot to pay for soon-fading novelty, which is what Whoa! is. A wise consumer is not an early adopter but a bargain bin scavenger.

            If it's purely about cost then you're spoilt with an overload of cheap stuff. After all this pales in comparison to what I spent on a computer 20 years ago. But we're used to everything having to be a certain cheap price these days that we forget that luxury items are in fact luxury.

            And entrepreneurs are

            • which is what Whoa! is.

              Yeah I know. I should have never bought into the 3D accelerators thing back in the 90s. Whoa! can be anything. A short term fad and "the future" can't be graded by that metric.

              • I should have never bought into the 3D accelerators thing back in the 90s. Whoa! can be anything. A short term fad and "the future" can't be graded by that metric.

                So how many times did the Voodoo cards bring Whoa! out? If memory serves, it was gone by the third. 3D accelerators stayed because they made it possible to filter textures and up increase the resolution of 3D apps to the point where you can actually tell what's happening on the screen. Time will tell if Oculus will become a similar necessity.

        • The 3D Blu-Rays cost more than the regular ones. Etc.

          The other problem here is that many homes have gone to all streaming.

          We have completely stopped buying Blu-Rays and will never buy 4k Blu-Rays. It is now all streaming, all the time.

          And the 3D versions aren't offered via streaming.

        • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

          Trust me, the technology works quite well.

          Um, no it doesn't. 3DTVs and 3D cinemas look completely awful. Not only are very few films actually shot in 3D, they tend to be shot at 24 fps, which is way too low to make for a smooth 3D experience, and on top of that they tend to be dramatically over-exaggerated to the point of becoming sickness-inducing.

          In contrast, VR tends to require 75Hz or more, all the stuff is rendered in true 3D in real time (no faking it) and you can't exaggerate the parallax without causing serious issues and basically sabota

      • Those who compare VR to 3D TV aren't too far off.
        I have had a 3D computer screen, have a 3D wall projector, of my friends and relatives, perhaps 10% have a 3D capable TV. Of the 90% who don't, about half of them say they'll be happy to get it when it becomes standard, but aren't planning to go out of their way for it, and the other half range from simple 'I don't need that' to 'I hate it'.
        So far as I'm concerned, however, most movies that come out now that can benefit from 3D are available in that format
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        No problem at all. I basically wont touch it until such time as I see a whole bunch of geeks and nerds attempt to use it at the same time over a twelve hour period, seeing how long they can last, whether or not they can even get to the twelve hour mark. So far I have only see one extended use test, this by an online marketing magazine pretending to be a tech magazine and one marketdroid who pretends to be a journalist, basically just giving a marketing spiel.

    • VR is about as "ready" as 3D television, which is completely over because it does not really work at this time.

      According to the linked review, Oculus works okay. It's also worth noting that Oculus is not VR but an interface device for interacting with VR; the actual Virtual Reality is the computer simulation Oculus is providing the interface for. Those are still pretty primitive, but with any luck better interfaces will help kick development into higher gear.

    • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:39PM (#51793561)

      ...the better the chance this hype will have fizzled and that you will not have to buy anything! VR is about as "ready" as 3D television, which is completely over because it does not really work at this time. The same is true for VR.

      Disconnect between those who've tried it and commentary from peanut gallery is striking.

      Those with crappy dev kits are saying they won't go back to playing on monitors. Spend some time on the Elite forums or any of racing or flight sims with VR support... it isn't just one person it is virtually everyone.

      • Hi, I've tried it. I prefer playing on monitors. That is all.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Have fun with that. Because I know how it will turn out, I am already laughing pretty hard. Also, "Argument from Authority" / "Argumentum ad populum" Fallacy.

    • Not quite Damming with faint praise. More like announcing the Osboure 2 they are about to design will smoke this beta product. That's a death curse for companies with negative cash flow. My feeling is the hype machine is strong in this one and it will be like the iPod. Cost not a problem for the early adopter.
      The booger in that analogy pudding is ipod had suck for rivals both in terms of ease of use, music price ecosystem and coolness. Will the VR gear be the rio player to the occulus iPod. If the ge

    • by PJ6 ( 1151747 )

      ...the better the chance this hype will have fizzled and that you will not have to buy anything! VR is about as "ready" as 3D television, which is completely over because it does not really work at this time. The same is true for VR.

      Holy shit, this comment got marked insightful?

      VR developer, here. Tell us you've actually tried VR, or STFU.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @12:52PM (#51793205) Homepage Journal

    Virtual reality has always been almost here.

    • No I'm not kidding. 3 days from now Samsung is going to announce they will release Duke Nukem VR FREE with every headset. Just wait.

  • GearVR owner here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The CNET review linked above isn't too bad, actually.

    We're looking at the "Nintendo era" for VR, remember the light gun and the power-glove? I'd KILL for the power-glove type of integration with this. Earlier attempts at VR are like the Atari and ColecoVision systems. We just weren't there yet.

    Listen, until you've TRIED it and thought about the potential, don't knock it. This isn't a fad anymore. People scoffed at the first mouse, too.

    I really wish the Gear smartwatch was integrated as a controlling device,

    • by RevDisk ( 740008 )
      Until they can cure the motion sickness aspect, there's going to be a significant percent of the population that can't use the product.

      VR has been around and useful for many decades. Pilots have used it, I've seen some engineering applications, etc. Just not for mainstream consumption. And we're still not there for whatever 'universal consumption' of VR turns out to be. For broad usage, you need a pretty powerful but not obscene desktop. Another five years should bring common desktops up to the level of
    • Leap Motion released an update which dramatically improved their hand tracking. You may not have to kill anyone to experience something better than the Power Glove.

    • Listen, until you've TRIED it and thought about the potential, don't knock it. This isn't a fad anymore. People scoffed at the first mouse, too.

      I have tried it... and it is nothing like the mouse...

      VR might one day be a thing, but it won't be this day...

      A number of years ago I was able to use a very nice VR setup that you could stand up in and walk around in. It wasn't wireless, you had to be tethered (both headset and gloves), and of course the graphics weren't as good as today, but it was motion controlled and you wore gloves that had very sensitive 3D position trackers.

      I fully get the appeal, but we're still many, many years away from this bei

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:12PM (#51793373) Homepage Journal

    The longer you wait to buy, the better it will get.

    I didn't think it was actually possible to flunk Marketing 101. Until now.

    • It's certainly going to be my strategy.
    • The longer you wait to buy, the better it will get.

      I didn't think it was actually possible to flunk Marketing 101. Until now.

      You do know it was from a review, not a salespitch... right?

      • You're using the obsolete meaning of the word, often preceded by an explicit or implicit "independent".

        You don't see them much these days.

  • WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:14PM (#51793385)

    Okay what the hell has happened to the internet? Both of the linked articles were unreadable, unsearchable, and psychedelic garbage that looks like it was coded on LSD.

    I do appreciate the summary though. 8 out of 10, verdict: not recommended.

  • More pixels please. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:20PM (#51793427)

    Never mind gaming, I'm interested in VR for data visualisation. Like graphs with tens of thousands of nodes, or heat maps in three dimensions.

  • RIft Vs Vive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @01:21PM (#51793429)

    I've been trying to figure out which to buy: The Oculus or the Vive. Note: I have no personal experience of either so this is all about info just gleaned from reviews ete. I really hope to try both before I place an order but I have a feeling it wontt be easy.
    The Vive is about $100 more expensive but it seems well worth it for the difference, since it can also support standing up and moving around, and also comes with VR controllers. Yes I'm presuming the seated experience is as good as the Oculus, which is pretty important since I'm guessing that will actually be the most commonly used scenario, but having the option to stand up and move around would be nice.
    The BIG decision factor for me is that Oculus is primarily targetting Windows only, with Linux support at best being an afterthought (they announced several months ago that they have put their Linux dev effort on hold)
    Linux support remains a core goal to the Vive team.
    That alone would be enough for me to STRONGLY favour the Vive over the Oculus.
    My fear/expectation is that most windows game developers will stupidly only support oculus not vive, because they consider it the "de facto" VR headset, even if it it is more limited/not as good as the vive.
     

    • I'm not up to date on what features the Rift has over the Vive, but if one of them doesn't support head position tracking as well as pitch/yaw/roll that would be a dealbreaker. Not being able to sit up and forwards to look over the front of the cockpit or shift my head side to side to see around the back of the seat would be a huge step backwards in usability compared to my trackIR.
    • Vive, with Half Life 3 exclusive. :-)

    • Linux support remains a core goal to the Vive team.
      That alone would be enough for me to STRONGLY favour the Vive over the Oculus.

      Why? What do you think you're going to do on Linux with it?

      My fear/expectation is that most windows game developers will stupidly only support oculus not vive, because they consider it the "de facto" VR headset, even if it it is more limited/not as good as the vive.

      Your fears are misplaced... your real fear should be that after 5 games come out for it that are funded by Oculus, that'll be it. 2 years from now, when no new games come out for it, then what?

      The cost to develop games for this, vs the size of the market, is going to be a massive problem, one that everyone seems to overlook. What is the business case for this?

      • The cost to develop games for this, vs the size of the market, is going to be a massive problem, one that everyone seems to overlook. What is the business case for this?

        I would be very interested in any supporting evidence examining costs of developing VR games.

        What actually is the typical cost difference to VR enable a new title in such a way that it won't suck?

        Majority of leading game engines support VR out of the box today. Software exist to retroactively VR enable dozens of existing titles having never been designed for VR in the first place. Some work great, others still suck.

        Obviously doing VR properly is not free - there is some cost. Some of which can undoubtedl

        • There is so much more to it than ticking a box saying "enable VR"

          The control scheme needs to be changed. Bug testing. The game has to become aware of the headset position. Field of view needs to be adjusted. Art assets may not exist in the new locations you can look.

          A simple example. In most Call of Duty games, there are times you can "look anywhere", and times when your field of view is fixed to a narrow angle. Fair enough, you move the mouse and you hit those limits pretty fast. What happens when yo

    • Personally, I'd wait until there was an app that I wanted to purchase and see which VR system it used. As with most new computer technologies, it is the software that will drive adoption.

    • I'm a gamedev, we have Vive at work. Haven't got the latest Oculus, only devkit #2. But I'd go with Vive for sure, just because of the moving around thing and the controllers you get with it. It is paramount. The ability to move around and interact with things in the VR world is plain simply amazing. Sony will also be releasing a VR headset for PS4, it will let you move somewhat as well, and personally I think sony's system will have a huge impact on what games will be made. I was at their presentation at
      • thanks for the input, no mod points though

      • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

        Thanks for the input. I'm serious about buying but there's nowhere I know that I can try both, and the comparative reviews all seem vague at best if not outright biassed. I realise that the oculus you have is a DK2 but since you have access to both, I'd really appreciate if you could help me understand the relative differences with answers to what is the difference if any between the units around the following:
        * head tracking lag/accuracy/dropouts
        * visuals (colour fidelity, screendoor effect if any, pictur

  • How to find an estate sale.
  • The birth of VR.

    It is finally here.

  • PLATO had a 3d plotting program that let you cross your eyes to see things in stereoscopic perspective, but you had to focus your eyes at an unnatural distance -- so it wasn't the kind of thing you would necessarily want to subject users to for long game playing sessions.

    That's one reason, second to cutting the 512 pixel X-dimension down by a factor of 2, I didn't torture my Spasim [youtube.com] gamers with it back in 1974.

    • PLATO had a 3d plotting program that let you cross your eyes to see things in stereoscopic perspective, but you had to focus your eyes at an unnatural distance -- so it wasn't the kind of thing you would necessarily want to subject users to for long game playing sessions.

      That was a lot of fun before I got a 30" computer monitor.

      Forget long sessions, it hurts doing it for a few seconds these days, not to mention the resulting very bizarre aspect ratio.

  • Once this technology has matured a bit, and immersive gaming is the norm, I imagine it will be very popular.
    I also imagine it will be very popular with younger people.

    It makes me wonder how immersive gaming with an oculus or similar on for hours at a time will affect players health.
    How will it affect eyesight and vision and other things?
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      Once this technology has matured a bit, and immersive gaming is the norm, I imagine it will be very popular. I also imagine it will be very popular with younger people.

      Why just younger people? Imagine someone older who is bedridden or bound to a wheelchair but wants to experience walking along the Great Wall or climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro. While they can't physically do it, VR could give them the visual experience of doing so. On the contrary, I see VR as having the possibility of being very popular with people of my generation as we age (born mid 80s). We grew up with video games and computers. 30 years from now VR could quite possibly be a very immersive expe

  • For all you old timers still on Slashdot....

    Where's the interview with Jaron Lanier?

  • I'm waiting for the "I was wearing the VR goggles while playing Mortal Combat when I punched him. But I got arrested for domestic violence anyway".

    Also a tally should be kept of the lamps, pictures and other assorted stuff that will get destroyed due to the blind flailing of appendages.

    :P

  • I understand that the current tech is really great for what it does, and i'm sure a ton of FPS/3PS and cockpit racing/combat fans will jump right in.

    However i'm a fan of strategy and RPG games, particularly 2D ones. The only 3D game i've played a great deal of in the last several years has been Minecraft. (And given some of the jump scares i've experienced in that i'm not sure i'd _want_ to be more immersed in it.)

    I also tend to multitask a lot. Currently i'm playing Stardew Valley and i'm constantly ta
    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      Yeah you dont sound like you have a case for it at all. I can't imagine how 2D RPG could be significantly improved with an HMD.
      I recently got a superwide monitor, I can't recommend superwide enough, and in your use-case I'd be surprised if something like that wouldn't have far more of a noticeable positive impact than a VR HMD.
      Given its something you don't seem desperate for, I'd say you should at least wait for alternative headsets to come out then re-evaluate rather than blowing significant cash now on an

  • I don't want to play games on one.

    I do want to use one that presents a huge space of windows. I just look at a window and it expands into my central vision and the keyboard and mouse are right there. No need for an array of monitors. No overlapping windows.

    • by JustNiz ( 692889 )

      Nice idea but it will require someone to implement.
      I'll bet linux users will get a Window Manager like that quicker than Windows will, so since Oculus put Linux support on the back burner, you're probably better off going for the Vive than the Rift.

      • Linux already has one, Ibex [hwahba.com] but it doesn't seem to fit the "large space of windows I can pull into view by look at them" workspace I want.

        Higher resolution is probably the more important thing for programming. I'll save my money and spend it on the first to arrive - The 3D work space, or the flying car.

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