By all accounts, Facebook-owned Oculus had a great Connect 4, with the announcement they’re delivering a massive update to the core experience. Dash will arrive in December and deliver the VR integration with your desktop apps in a minority report-style interface.
The Rift has come a long way since I first reviewed it, predominantly the touch controllers are the key to unlocking new experiences in entertainment, gaming and if Facebook is right, the next computing platform. After using the Rift with touch controllers, I have to say congrats to Oculus, they’ve done an exceptional job. The controllers track 1:1 to your hand movements and implement some smarts to replicate hand movements that feel natural to interact with objects in VR. I captured my experience in Oculus First Contact which is a zero text tutorial on how to use touch.
The Rift experience now is solid with a decent array of titles to choose from in the Oculus Store. There’s plenty free options to get your started or paid if you’re a little more serious. There’s also the big advantage of being SteamVR capable, which means games like Project CARS 2 is available to race in VR, among a growing list of PC-titles.
With the Lenovo Y710 gaming Cube tucked under the desk, hiding a GTX1080, buying the rift was around a A$590.00 investment in the future. I plan on developing applications for the Rift using Unity and those who understand VR, understand time in the game of developing for Virtual Reality is incredibly value and will pay dividends in the future as the industry grows up.
The resolution still isn’t amazing, even with PC settings on ultra, limited by the 2160 x 1200 resolution, running 90Hz with a 110 degree field of view.
Recently Microsoft released the Fall Creator’s update to Windows 10 which included support for Mixed Reality and headsets from hardware partners like HP, Samsung, Dell and many others. Don’t be confused by the platform branding, these headsets are Virtual Reality, not Augmented Reality.
The key difference is that these don’t require the 2 (or more) sensors for room-scale VR. To be honest, once you setup the Rift or the Vive, these aren’t really a problem, so this isn’t much of a saving. There’s some quality sacrifices made to save cost and also support experiences on lower-end hardware, but none of that appealed to me, I want the best VR experience today and understand that will increase over time as hardware does.
A massive drawback for the launch of Microsoft + partner MR, is that it doesn’t and won’t for some time, have Steam VR support. This means the number of experiences are really limited to what’s in the Microsoft Store on Windows 10. Right now that’s a couple of dozen, not hundreds on offer elsewhere.
There’s still the same development opportunities, but right now the Rift and the HTC have the market share, so like with phones, Microsoft have their work cut out for them.
Here’s a video from last night playing Project CARS 2 in the Oculus Rift. It’s hard to explain just how beneficial it is to look through the corners and control the camera just by moving your head. VR really is transformative in tricking your brain to being in a different environment and at times, super human.