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Feb
26
2014

Virtual Reality Comes to the Home with Oculus Rift

Virtual Reality Comes to the Home with Oculus Rift

Remember back in the '90s when we first heard about virtual reality? The thought of putting on a headset and literally being inside the games we were playing was exhilarating. But, it seemed as though this technology would never come to life, and if it did, it certainly wouldn't be as amazing as we had all hoped. I mean, come on, we all remember the Nintendo Virtual Boy, right?

But wait! Oculus VR is here to save the day with its new device, the Oculus Rift, and (hopefully) erase the horrific, red, Virtual Boy-induced nightmares.

What is it?

If you haven’t heard of it yet, Oculus Rift is an upcoming virtual reality headset currently in development. The device houses a 7-inch screen and straps directly onto your head—bringing you directly into the world of all of your favorite games.>

The headset also features built-in motion tracking, so no more fiddling with a mouse or a joystick to look around. Simply turn your head left, right, up, or down, and the game will replicate your movements perfectly.

Currently, the early adopters of the headset only have access to a 720p model, but the company has already begun developing 1080p versions of the headset when the device is ready to launch to consumers.

Full HD support, 1:1 head tracking, and total immersion—once you put this baby on, you’ll never be able to play a first person shooter any other way.

What Games Will Support Oculus Rift?

Currently, over 150 games will support the headset. Popular games such as Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2,Crysis 3, and the highly anticipated Titanfall all support the device. Additionally, Valve has jumped on the Oculus Rift bandwagon, announcing SteamVR, a mode that puts a specially designed version of the Steam client directly into the headset.

As the device becomes more popular and reaches more consumers and developers, the number of supported titles will grow dramatically. A number of games that do not natively support the device are already using it, and the results have been quite exciting.

One such game is Outlast. If you've played it, you understand just how amazing this game would be in VR. Check out the videos on YouTube of people playing Outlast with the Oculus Rift. It’s probably the most terrifying thing you could experience—short of playing Mario Tennis on Virtual Boy, that is.

Other Features

A number of additional apps will take the Oculus Rift from just being a cool gaming device to an awesome home entertainment device. One of these apps, VR Cinema, puts you inside of a virtual move theater, allowing you to wander around the theater, find a seat, and watch your videos in either 2D or 3D. This feature alone makes the Oculus Rift worth purchasing, as movie theater ticket prices will soon be more expensive than the headset itself!

Other applications are making the Oculus Rift a productivity tool. For example, Sixense, is currently being developed to simplify the work of 3D graphic designers. Traditional 2D interfaces make designing 3D objects more complicated than necessary, but by combining an app like Sixense with the Oculus Rift, the process is made far more intuitive than traditional methods.

And hey, if you’re a total masochist, someone is developing a Virtual Boy emulator for it! Just make sure you have plenty of ibuprofen on hand—you’re going to need it.

So, what are your thoughts on the future potential for virtual reality devices? Will it be a passing fad like the motion controls introduced by the Nintendo Wii? Or, is it the future of gaming and home entertainment? Let us know in the comments section below!

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