It is clear that the Oculus VR is poised to change the world. If you aren't familiar with Oculus Rift, it is a virtual reality headset that has no end-user consumer model yet, but this did not stop Facebook from buying them out. A recent Time Magazine cover showed a man on a beach looking quite ridiculous with the headset, but there is no question that VR will be something that will affect the way we play in the future.
Gamespot has asked the 22-year-old Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey what he thought of the Time Magazine cover, which has been ridiculed. Luckey is the man on the cover of Time Magazine jumping and looking crazy, and an article from Engadget has shown several Photoshopped images of him riding a dinosaur and other satirical touch-ups. Luckey is not at all bothered by the image, and believes that print magazines like Time are "fading in popularity and relevance".
If you are not familiar with the Oculus Rift, it is a very effective VR system that covers your eyes and ears so you can "see" into another world. The system has special sensors that allow the user to turn and see a new world, allowing you to look behind you for the first time. Even the best games, such as First Person Shooters (FPS), don't have that ability to turn and see what is behind you without physically turning your character within the confines of the game.
Of course, Virtual Reality could easily change the gaming world. There are games being designed for the Oculus Rift as we speak that will cause gamers to enter a virtual world and stay there for as long as reality will allow them to. The Oculus Rift originally started as a crowdfunded Kickstarter project, and it made its funds and more. About one year ago, only the Oculus Rift developer kits are ready to order, and its success can already be seen by its number of imitators.
The Oculus Rift will finally be made available to consumers after years of being some kind of weird project for a private platform. This headset is light enough to lift with one hand, and the user can wear it with glasses. Sadly, it is not wireless (maybe next version), and you will have to drape a cable over the shoulder that presumably connects to a computer. Now here is some interesting news that shows that Microsoft is involved with the Oculus Rift: an Xbox One gamepad will come with every Oculus Rift headset. The gamepad will be wireless, but the games themselves, like Forza, Halo, and Sunset Overdrive won't be in 3D. As an added bonus, Oculus is also working on some kind of motion controller known as the Oculus Touch. This will be wireless, and will use gesture-control to track in a virtual environment.
Already, Sony is working on their own virtual headset for the PlayStation 4 that has been named Project Morpheus. Famed camera lens maker Carl Zeiss is also creating their own version with a product known as the VR One, but unlike the Rift, it is more of a viewer for content on the user's smartphone rather than a viewer in and of itself. HTC also has their own version with the Vive, which Road to VR said was nominated for the "Best Hardware" at the Gamescom 2015 awards.
I had a chance to try it out for myself at PAX Prime 2014, and I hope to see what it will be like at PAX Prime 2015 when I attend it at the end of this month. I will honestly say that the Oculus Rift must be tried and not talked about. It really is the virtual reality system that we were promised.
I will have to say that putting this one makes you look like you are jacked into the eye-Matrix. It is a shoebox that you put on your head, and I had a chance to play a game known as Lucky Fox. I won't talk much about the game, as it is a kind of Mario rip-off, complete with jumping on foes and collecting coins.
What is interesting is how I had to focus. At first, the game was blurry, and the person showing me the Oculus Rift just said "bring it closer to your eyes". I then adjusted it like I was adjusting a pair of glasses, and I saw pure 3-D goodness.
After that, I was playing a game with a controller that I could not look down and see. It was embarrassing just grabbing for it. What made it interesting is in the game, I could turn my head, and I could see wonderful backgrounds.
Yes, you heard me right. I could see how the world looked inside of a video game, and it looked infinitely better than Tron.
In short, I believe that we are heading for a world full of Virtual Reality. The only obstacle that I can see is that it won't be as portable as we want it to be. However, for just putting something on your head and enjoying the experience, it has the potential to replace console games, not to mention how we interface on our computers. In short, it could sweep the world.