You know we've reached the future when:
We have video phones, (and no one really cares).
We have cars that drive themselves.
We have touch screens.
We have voice activated appliances and computers.
And last but not least, we have fun and viable VIRTUAL REALITY!!! (Next step the Holodeck!)
I'm going to tell you about the Oculus Rift and try to contain my enthusiasm. Here are some recent headlines:
"Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset is FREAKING AMAZING" -Popular Science
"Oculus Rift is virtual reality that won't make you barf" -VB Magazine
"Oculus Rift VT Headset - Holodeck in a Headset" -C/Net (squeeeeel)
Curious yet? Well let me divulge some awesomeness. Its a headset with 360 degree visual and completely encompasses your peripheral vision. We've heard promises of virtual reality headsets for years but this one is the real deal and it's affordable. It places gamers completely into a 3 dimensional space and will be just a couple hundred dollars. Inside the goggles are two fish eye lenses that sit close to the eye. It is motion sensitive so if you look up, down, sideways, and even behind you, your view adjust accordingly. The experience is said to be completely surreal, especially when surrounded by say, a group of armored knights that are all talking to you. Snow in game is set to stereo which means you can look up and see it falling on your face. Pair this with a gaming headset that offers stereo sound and you may just loose your freaking mind.
This technology has been around for years, but developers were reluctant to really put time and effort into this primarily due to cost. Who in their right mind would finance a project who's end result would be overpriced and alienate most of it's audience due to price? SO the trick was developing a virtual reality tool that both worked and was affordable. But that still doesn't solve the problem of financing. Thanks to a website called Kickstarter, the funds were raised. Kickstarter allows ANYONE to contribute to projects they feel deserve an investment. You can donate as little or as much as you want, and Oculus VR successfully raised 2.4 MILLION dollars to complete this project and they have delivered.
Currently the Oculus Rift is available as a developer’s kit. This is to encourage game developers to get the technology in their hands and begin creating games. Then when the headset is available on the market, there will be games available as well. Another great aspect is that existing games can be tweaked to be used with the headset. That means you may be able to play Skyrim with the headset sooner than you think. The kit is $300, but they stress that this will NOT be the same version that will be on the market, and is only compatible with the PC. Oculus Rift will begin sales probably in 2014 or 2015, and will PROBABLY be compatible with consoles as well.
I sense a new form of addiction coming.