We’re getting closer to pretty much the most immersive gaming experience to date – courtesy of the Oculus Rift – a virtual reality head-mounted display, which is still in development, but definitely getting the funds it needs to become realized, having raised over US$16 million to date. Currently, developer kits are still being shipped out, and we’re seeing a growing community taking interest in the technology. Even NASA is using it to showcase the surface of Mars in virtual reality, with data collected by the Curiosity Rover over the past year.
You know sh*t just got serious when NASA puts it to use.
Scientific applications aside, the biggest waves as anyone would assume are emanating from the gaming community – and recent months have certainly seen a spike in videos online with gamers and developers giving the headset a go on video. The number of games being made available is steadily on the rise, including first person shooters, racing games, and very naughty things which were somewhat inevitable with the emergence of this tech. What’s more, the device is endorsed by numerous gaming industry big shots, such as John D. Carmack, and Gabe Newell.
So why is this glorious peripheral not available to the masses yet you ask? Well, there are still issues to be resolved, such as simulation sickness – which is similar to motion sickness. Vice President of Products for Oculus VR, Nate Mitchell recently elaborated on this phenomenon at a convention saying: “In motion sickness there’s all this motion but you don’t visually perceive the walls and ceilings are moving, this is what creates the conflict that makes you dizzy. With simulator sickness it’s basically the inverse. These are all the things you want to avoid as game developers.”
“VR systems still have a long way to go here…”
Nevertheless, with all the hype about the Rift, it shouldn’t be too long before it is perfected and made available for a (hopefully) reasonable price. Plus, considering this could very well change the way we enjoy our media, we’re sure the end result will be well worth the wait.
The developer’s kit costs US$300. Some assembly required, don’t buy one unless you know what you’re doing!