Author: Jonas W. Kvist
Date: February 11, 2016
Palmer Luckey was 19 years old when he stood in his parents’ garage with his finished prototype in hand – the prototype that would turn out to be the beginning of Oculus Rift. Palmer’s goal was and still is to create a pair of VR glasses that provides the consumer with a great virtual experience at an affordable price. In 2012, he went from his parents’ garage to the largest gaming expo in the world, and on to a crowdfunding campaign, only to be bought up by Facebook a few years later. Now we have finally reached 2016 – the year, where Oculus VR releases their finished product (read the entire story about VR). So, how is this long-awaited headset? In a word – Amazing!
VR Guide Score
- Comes with 2 great games
- Easy and clear user interface
- Amazingly lifelike (immersion)
- Controller included
- Positional tracking
- High cost
- Requires powerful PC
- Wires limit mobility
- Best for seated VR experiences
Oculus Rift is the first high-end VR Headset, which is released. The experiences you can get through the Oculus Rift, is without any doubt some of the best that virtual reality has to offer. However, the cost is quite higt, but if this doesn’t put you off, then you can in near future be sitting with a VR headset, that will make you believe that you really has been teleported to another world.
Oculus Rift Review
On August 1, 2012, I was reading gadget news on one of the websites I frequent daily. That day, there were very exciting news about a just-launched crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter (a crowdfunding homepage). I remembered how, a few months earlier, I had read about a Virtual Reality Headset that had been presented at the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas (the world’s largest expo for computer games). This year’s E3 Expo was almost an exact copy of those of prior years. The plots in the games were almost the same, as were the principles – sitting and looking through a tiny window into another world, where you’d typically control a character. Once again, the graphics had improved over the year prior, but other than that, not much was new. There was nothing truly innovative – except for something that looked like a pair of ski goggles held together by duct tape. The duct tape wrapped goggles was the prototype assembled by Palmer Luckey in his parents’ garage – and it was the product to receive the most publicity at E3.
A few months later, I found myself reading the news of the Oculus campaign. I followed the link to their American Kickstarter campaign, excitedly reading about how they were planning to deliver VR to the average consumer. Shortly after, and a few dollars poorer, I was now part of financing the realization of virtual reality. Oculus believed that you could only make VR interesting for the consumer if, in addition to a good VR headset, there were also lots of great experiences and games. Therefore, Oculus’ primary purpose for their Kickstarter campaign was to create VR headsets for developers to use in creating games and other experiences that would be necessary to make VR a success. In order to make their VR headsets a reality, they needed to collect $250,000. The campaign lasted 30 days, but the goal was reached already within the first 24 hours. By the time the campaign ended, they had collected almost 10 times the intended goal, a total of $2,437,429 – the VR revolution had begun.
Oculus Rift Contents
The consumer edition of Oculus Rift contains the following:
- Oculus Rift VR headset
- Sensor for positional tracking
- Xbox controller
- Oculus remote control
- EVE: Valkyrie
- Lucky’s Tale
Description of Oculus Rift VR Headset
In 2012, Oculus VR decided not to rush launching VR goggles for the consumers. Instead, they wanted to take the necessary time to ensure that their final product would live up to high consumer expectations. By now, Oculus has spent 3.5 years on this, and considering the specifications, there sure are lots of reasons to be excited.
First of all, the resolution of the headset’s OLED screen is so high that distinguishing between the screen and reality can be difficult. In addition, the VR goggle has the so-called positional tracking. This means that the thing looking like a microphone in the above image registers the position of your head. For example – Inside the virtual world, you are sitting in a spaceship. You want to check the energy level of your gamma blaster, and you lean forward in reality – via the positional tracking, you now also lean forward in the virtual world. Without this function, nothing would happen when you lean forward. Positional tracking provides a much more realistic experience, which helps convince the brain that you are actually present inside the virtual world.
Sound is another important thing, when it comes to creating a convincing virtual experience. Oculus has taken this into consideration by incorporating headphones with what they call VR sound, which is comparable to a very true-to-life type of surround sound. This means that when your spaceship is hit from behind by an enemy, it sounds like it would in real life. When you hear a loud sound, you will instinctively look in the direction of the sound. This special type of sound (also known as spatial sound), is delivered through the built-in headphones.
All things considered, Oculus delivers a very true-to-reality virtual reality experience. This is a high-end VR headset that will surpass most expectations of how convincing VR can be.
Xbox controller and remote
The included Xbox controller works like a perfectly normal controller.
The included remote is used for navigating the menus.
For a good and realistic VR experience, you must have a PC that lives up to the relative high Oculus requirements.
Requirements for an Oculus-ready PC:
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 or better
- Processor: Intel i5-4590 or better
- Memory: 8GB+ RAM
- Input: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
- Output: HDMI 1.3 output
- Operating system: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
You can also test your PC by using this tool from Oculus VR:
On this page, you can find some really good suggestions for a PC that meets these requirements. See more under VR Ready PC in order to find a PC that is guaranteed to live up to the Oculus requirements, thus providing you with a very convincing VR experience.
The Oculus Rift package also includes two games – EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale. They are both very good games that each in their own way show the potential for VR.
In EVE: Valkyrie, you are the fighter pilot in a military spaceship. Your mission: To fight enemy spaceships while avoiding being defeated yourself. The game establishes an amazing atmosphere right from the beginning, and is both beautiful and very engaging.
This is a platform game, where you, as the player, step into a very colorful world. Here, you meet Lucky the fox, whom you must guide through the various courses as best you can.
The price for Oculus Rift in US is is $599. In addition, a powerful PC is needed in order to get the proper VR experience. The price for a PC that can be used for VR starts around $1,000. Oculus has teamed up with some of the leaders in the PC market, in order to be able to offer you a discounted package that includes both the PC and the Oculus Rif headset. Follow the link below to be taken to best buy, where some great offers have been found.
Oculus VR has created a very impressive VR headset. Oculus started the VR revolution, and with their headset, they will prove that they can also deliver the best VR experience. The product is very good, but due to the price and the requirement for a powerful PC, it is targeted more to the VR enthusiast, people who enjoy immersing themselves in computer games, or those who just want to experience some of the best you will find in virtual reality in 2016. With Oculus Rift, you no longer have to observe another world by looking through a window – instead you can step into it.
There is no doubt that the company that started the VR wave has created an amazing product that will stand as an icon for VR.