Just yesterday, the Oculus Rift received its first ever (and generally praise-filled) reviews. That said, reviewers were also apt to point out some more obvious flaws with the first generation technology.
The headset display is generally seen as well-crafted and surprisingly durable for the sensitivity of the technology it supports. The well-known drawbacks include its steep costs (US $600) and the fact that its true gaming potential can only be unlocked with those financially blessed enough to host a powerful enough gaming system to really run it.
The cost will of course come down as the technology becomes more familiar and more VR systems enter the market with competitive pricing. The quality will also undoubtedly improve as the years go by, though how developers will react to VR’s issue of bulky hardware remains to be seen.
“When you first put on a Rift, you are all too aware of the headset. It’s somewhat comfortable, but the way it envelops your head can make it feel like a helmet,” described Peter Brown, writer for Gamespot.
“Not every VR game is going to be an instant hit,” continued Brown. Other reviewers also wrote of being unimpressed by the first wave of VR games programmed for the Rift. That said, Mario Aguilar of Gizmodo stated that the games made for the finished hardware were actually fun and far superior to the early development builds released months back.
“These issues can’t take away from the fact that Rift delivers on its promise to enable more immersive and personal gaming experiences than we’ve ever seen before,” said Brown after reexamining his complaints regarding the games themselves. After all, the first wave of games are more of an experiment than a proof of concept.
Early buyers of the Oculus Rift will have to make due with a headset and a single Xbox controller, while a motion-supported controller is still undergoing development. Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, warned that an upgrade may be necessary for VR aficionados to access a truly immersive experience:
“It plays best with two external cameras and two VR controllers. It ships with one external camera and an Xbox controller, which cripples the experience… This will get fixed later in the year with a more expensive version.”
And of course there’s the issue of the Rift’s raw youth in terms of its technology and its brand; it will take years for the company to receive accurate and complete data regarding that people hope to do with the technology and how best to use it.
The final common complaint involves the fact that gamers must remain tethered to their computers during gaming sessions, limiting the VR experience.
“Once this connects with gaming systems designed for it and with 2D treadmills, this will likely change,” continued Enderle.
“Folks are also recognizing that the idea of being able to actually integrate the room, like with Micosoft’s HoloLens, might be a really good idea now.”
Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg has been a major investor in the Rift and is hoping it will unlock the door to entirely new communication systems.