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The Oculus Rift – Virtual Reality Gaming for Home Users
The Oculus Rift promises to change gaming forever. Though it looks like a high-end pair of ski goggles, the virtual reality headset is already generating more buzz in the gaming community than a room full of beehives. If it delivers on its promise, we can add it to the list of devices that were conceived years ago, but only recently became possible. Just write its name between “Tablet PC’s” and “Wireless Internet.”
A New Take on an Old Idea
Virtual Reality rigs are nothing new. Militaries around the world use it for training soldiers, among other uses. However, a consumer-level device that is both high quality and affordable has been the unicorn of the gadget world for years now. Anyone old enough to remember the eye strain and motion sickness that accompanied use of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy knows what I’m talking about.
The Oculus Rift is not simply another expensive VR rig – it is meant to be an affordable Virtual Reality interface that specializes in Gaming. On Oculus’ website, you can view videos where the leaders of game publishers like Valve, Epic, and Unity proclaim support for the device. A few even not-so-subtly hint that they will start designing games specifically for the Rift. Doom 3 (the BFG Edition) has already become the first Oculus Rift-ready game.
The main problems with VR in the past has been poor-quality graphics, lag in gameplay, unimersive 2D experience, or likely some combination of those three. The Oculus Rift claims to display games in full stereoscopic 3D. Developers of the Rift also claim that it will have a 110-degree diagonal field of vision. Other features include low latency delay between head-turning and view changing, as well as immersive head-tracking.
Sorry, Console Gamers
There are a few surprises in the development of the Oculus Rift, however. So far, the device is PC-only. Oculus Rift developers claim that console (and even mobile device) compatibility will be available in the future. In a world of Kinects, Wiimotes, and 3D TV’s, PC Gamers can at least enjoy virtual reality before their usually gadget-soaked console counterparts.
If the Oculus Rift delivers on its promises, it could change gaming forever. With a VR headset, you wouldn’t even need a monitor for your gaming. It could even mean specialized games that are only available by using an Oculus Rift or comparable device. Those of us who lived through all of Virtual Reality’s empty promises during the ’80′s and ’90′s will probably continue experiencing a bit of future shock.
The Oculus Rift does not have a release date as of yet. Pricing has also been described as “affordable,” but it’s unclear what this means in real dollars. Continue to check PC-Tablet often for future updates on this and other developments in the gadget world.