Oculus Rift, the immersive virtual reality headset, has potentially innovative uses in a number of genres and disciplines, but gamers are the first community to engage with it in a concentrated way.
They were out in force today as Oculus presented the first view of its upcoming device in San Francisco, in advance of the E3 Expo next week. Oculus Rift will not be out until the first quarter of next year, but the general consensus is that the hardware specs are mostly within the reach of mainstream users.
Today saw demos of dedicated virtual reality games — those made specifically for immersion from the beginning. Good VR can take over your senses and trick your mind into believing you are somewhere you’re not.
Among the gamers to demo their VR handiwork were Hilmar Veigar Pétursson of CCP, makers of EVE: Valkyrie; David Adams of Gunfire Games, makers of Chronos; and Ted Price, CEO of Insomniac Games, makers of Edge of Nowhere.
TNW chatted with them, and Oculus’ Jason Rubin, head of worldwide studios, after the presentation.
Immersive VR may not be right for every game, but sorting out the particulars will be subjective. David Adams, CEO of Gunfire Games believes that VR is better for role-playing games as opposed to shooter games, but he has no doubt that others may disagree.
As far as Ted Price of Insomniac Games is concerned, the whole point of VR is to get the mind to believe the body is somewhere else. Players must be convinced that they are in the game world, and not the real world observing the game world. Thus, developers must create gameplay that specifically works well with the genre.
As someone who discovers, curates and promotes content for the platform, Jason Rubin pulls together developers to create cool products. He specs out which games are a good fit for the Oculus Rift so consumers who are interested in the hardware will have interesting and positive experiences.
Whereas in the past, hardware may not have been up to the task of comfortable immersion, that is starting to change.
Rubin says improvements in frame rates and latency, which were too slow in the past, have now improved to the point that the vast majority of people can explore virtual worlds in comfort. And, he says, enhancements to sound quality will contribute to consumer acceptance and enthusiasm for VR games and other content.
If everything these content makers say proves true, VR in gaming, entertainment, and other applications has a bright future. Finally.
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