BEST OF: Virtual Reality Returns

on Thursday, Dec. 26th

Nothing has me more excited about the future of gaming, heck of technology, than the Oculus Rift. The virtual reality headset started out as a Kickstarter project in 2012 and has since captured the imagination of the gaming industry.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year I finally got my hands one one:

The headset itself is lighter than you might expect, only about as heavy as a scuba mask. Only instead of enabling underwater breathing, the Rift filled my vision with another world. The resolution isn’t “retina” quality, but hold an older model iPhone up two inches from your face and you’ll have a sense of what looking at the Rift’s screen looks like. Just imagine that it filled your peripheral vision as well.

The Rift fit snugly on my head, and with a few seconds of adjustment I was able to find the right position for the image to be in focus.

With headphones on, I was effectively sealed off from the real world. Looking down I could see “my” virtual body. The urge to raise my hands was irresistible, but the hands didn’t move. There are actually ways to make this happen, just not in this game. The sense of being in–not just looking at–another world was strong, reinforced by the sound of my character’s breathing.

In the time since I’ve personally had the chance to see interesting hacks of the system and the company has attracted top flight engineering talent and some big money.

Will we see a commercial version of the headset in 2014? Oh, God I hope so.


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