The Vive is stunning, not only because room-scale VR is fantastic. (I don't share the opinion that the future rests solely with room scale, there's plenty of stuff to do in VR sitting down) but also because Valve just seems to have it together more than Oculus. The Lighthouse system is brilliant, it's a much more elegant solution than what Oculus has. The Oculus platform is gross, I don't see any advantages to using it from the consumer side, as far as I can tell it only exists to lock people into a particular ecosystem.
I understand why they did it, similarly to Origin or the Epic Games Launcher, but seriously? Steam won. I find it incredibly frustrating having to futz around with other platforms. Do they seriously think that I'm going to add all my Steam friends on the Oculus platform? That's ridiculous. I'm very doubtful that the platforms will get a userbase outside of the people who are FORCED to use them because they want a particular exclusive.
To top it all off it takes 3 USB ports to run the Oculus (4 if you want the controllers) vs the Vive's one.
Although desserts (sweet confections) are often associated with rewards, the word "deserts" refers to the element of distributive justice.
Source: I wrote a paper about this for a class and got a C+.
That decision takes away a lot of the "betrayal" of the Facebook acquisition - for backers it's an incredible return on investment (that was unlikely to happen if it weren't for Facebook)
You're suggesting that the majority of backers will be mollified by an artifact of the very forces that Oculus promised to avoid; I'm sure some of them will be.
I never expected to get the CV1 when I backed, so I'm not angry about that, it just sucks a bit to hear 'you are getting this for free' and then get told, no you are not.
It was at that point that I abandoned the platform. Wild conjecture isn't discouraged on Reddit and, over there, the creepy Facebook user tracking was predicted well in advance.
Given the comments here on Palmer's diminishing public interaction, and the quotes in the article, I don't think the founders completely anticipated what Facebook would demand. Although I now have zero interest in the platform, I still can't help but feel a little sorry for them. They clearly still believe in that vision but do not have the autonomy to follow it through.
If you read through the lines of some of Palmer's communications, it's obvious that there is a rift between Oculus and Facebook that no one is talking about. Carmarck, being Carmarck keeps pushing even when the top tries to push you down. Reading the tweets, it's obvious that he remains focused on the technology, which is a good sign.
In the end, I think Oculus is facing a backlash because of the buyout, and their 'simular' to Origin approach rings bells of many gamers and how EA continues to alienate them.
Microsoft proved it could compete with the Xbox. Oculus just needs to change its game or get away from its overlord. Blizzard had some fallout with Diablo 3, it happens.
The real question for Oculus, now is, what is your next move?
Carmack. Only one 'r' in the name.
I agree with your comments on the Oculus platform. It's sad to see them building higher and higher walls for their garden.
I think the system mentioned by jc4p is similarly elegant but for different reasons. Based on a skim through the article he posted I'd say the Lighthouse system is likely cheaper, and can more easily track multiple (infinite really since the tracking is done on the object rather than using the base station) objects, but won't have the same sort of range as MTS. Both are loads better than using cameras IMO.
Not to be purposefully pedantic, so please excuse me, but aren't the small "dimples" on the Vive hardware technically very simple, low-res infrared cameras that are designed to pick up the Lighthouse lasers?
Position is determined by watching the timing very closely of when each sensor detects the IR sweep, and then doing the math given those timings and the known orientation of the sensors relative to each other.
By some definitions (including his) McCauley is a co-founder of Oculus due to his contributions and status as one of the earliest hires, though as far as Oculus itself is concerned, the company represents Palmer Luckey as the one and only “Founder” (with a capital F). As a seasoned design engineer who played an instrumental role in the creation of the Guitar Hero peripherals, McCauley brought hardware design experience to the young company, which was about to embark on designing, manufacturing, and delivering thousands of Rift DK1 headsets to eager backers of the crowdfunding campaign.
Kind of funny how kingmaking works, eh?
sounds like a certain parent company..
Thanks, I didn't jump in the bandwagon early.
Oculus/Palmer said they didn't care if you modded their games to work on third party headsets, just they weren't going to provide support themselves; instead they went out and broke it intentionally.
>If customers buy a game from us, I don't care if they mod it to run on whatever they want. As I have said a million times (and counter to the current circlejerk), our goal is not to profit by locking people to only our hardware - if it was, why in the world would we be supporting GearVR and talking with other headset makers? The software we create through Oculus Studios (using a mix of internal and external developers) are exclusive to the Oculus platform, not the Rift itself. https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/3vl7qe/palmer_lucke...
>As I already said in my first reply, I don't care if people mod their games as long as they are buying them. https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/3vl7qe/palmer_lucke...
>Glad there are some sane people out there. [said to someone saying it was only an issue of support] https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/4etddh/this_is_a_hack...
He made 5 minute (like literally) decision all by himself.
Everyone (Palmer, Carmack, Abrash) heard about Facebook acquisition after the deal was already set.
It was already to late for them to do anything at that point.
It might as well be, that everything they said after was just a part of facebook damage control operation.
He would have had to get signoff from at least a majority of owners before just doing it.
Not really. Even before that whole kickstarter campaign he was just a founder.
Roughly, the deal was: Palmer giving full power to Iribe, Iribe helping Palmer with investors/kickstarter.
Facebook's acquisition of Oculus was announced only a few days before Michael Abrash publicly joined the company. Not sure when Abrash made the decision to leave Valve for Oculus. He did shine a positive light on the Facebook acquisition in his welcome post, but as you suggested it's not as if he was going to badmouth his new employer either way: https://www.oculus.com/en-us/blog/introducing-michael-abrash...
Palmer Luckey, it seems, was at the very least aware of Facebook's interest and informed of the buy-out, though it sounds like Brendan Iribe handled the business decisions.
This was the best source I could find on what went on behind the scenes between Zuckerberg and Iribe:
> Discussions ensued over the next few weeks, during which Facebook offered roughly $1 billion, which Iribe considered low. The deal seemed to peter out until late February, after news of the WhatsApp deal hit: Facebook had agreed to pay $19 billion for the messaging service. That got Iribe’s attention. “Hey Mark,” he wrote in an e-mail, “we should talk.”
> They agreed to meet. “Come up and see me,” Zuckerberg said, according to Iribe. “I’m not going to waste your time.”
> Iribe met with Zuckerberg for brunch on the patio at Zuckerberg’s Palo Alto home on a Sunday, in March. They ordered pizza, and Zuckerberg made a new offer: more than $2 billion in cash and stock. It was rich, considering that Oculus had not yet released a consumer product. Zuckerberg promised that Oculus would operate independently within Facebook, just as Instagram did and WhatsApp would. There would be games, sure, but eventually much more: news, sports, movies and TV, cat videos—everything. “I want to do this, and I want this to be the future of Facebook, long-term,” Zuckerberg said, but Iribe would have to act quickly and promise not to shop the deal.
> Oculus, by this point, had a board of directors that included four venture capitalists, one of whom was Andreessen. The board would have to approve the deal. Andreessen hated the idea of selling so quickly, without talking to Facebook’s competitors. “Don’t do this! Don’t do this! Don’t do this!” Iribe recalls Andreessen saying during a late-night meeting at his house after Zuckerberg’s initial offer. (In light of his role on Facebook’s board, Andreessen recused himself after Oculus’s founders began negotiations with Zuckerberg in earnest.) But the board approved the deal.
> It was sealed at Zuckerberg’s house just three days after his and Iribe’s Sunday meeting, over a dinner featuring mushroom risotto and scallops. The meal, Luckey recalls, was “so good.” And Facebook was the right fit. “I knew I was going to want to work in V.R. for the rest of my life. Anything that can make the industry big and successful … that’s a supercool world that I want to live in.”
(And then he insults the guy who tries to defend him as an "insufferable fanboy".. ouch!)
The PC gaming community online can be extremely toxic and idealistic, entirely ignoring business realities.
More than that, though, I see very few examples of people being upset about the existence of the Oculus Store. People are upset about hardware exclusivity. Hence...
> Further, Oculus doesn't make any money on hardware right now, what can a person expect them to do?
I'd expect them to act in such a way as to maximize software sales, which means avoiding hardware exclusivity at all costs.
Again, I and most others don't really have a problem with Oculus creating their own store. Sure, it's a bit annoying, but we understand they can't really survive by letting Valve profit off software sales of games they've funded. None of this justifies hardware exclusivity though.
This leaves open the question of why they are in fact pursuing hardware exclusivity. I don't have a good answer to that and I'm not sure anyone outside of Oculus does. If I were to venture a guess, I'd say that they must have thought that their content was just flat-out better than anything available for the Vive so that it was strong enough to drive both software and hardware sales. Unfortunately, I suspect they were wrong. Their approach backfired and developer support is centering around the Vive now.
You mention issues with Early Access and Greenlight, but these seem like trivial problems when compared to how solid the platform is overall. Steam as a platform is just far and away superior to any other choice in the gaming space. I can play any PC game at my desk or in my living room. The interface scales great to a TV screen. The Steam Controller is innovative and incredibly customizable, and it's supported by virtually any game in Steam. SteamVR is very fully developed itself and supports both the Rift and the Vive; it even goes so far as to support Chaperone with the Rift despite the Rift not having any room-scale-tracked controllers yet. It has honestly grown into one of the best software ecosystems I've ever seen by offering functionality that competitors can't even dream of.
Later it has basically become impossible to avoid steam, if you want access to every game at least. X-com for instance required steam. Steam is also where all my friends have their profiles.
Even if steam didn't have a monopoly on certain games they still own the access to your library and won't allow you to take it with you.
If you ask me valve is right up there with the worst of them as far as exploiting their monopoly goes.
I guess you could point to Steam's DRM, but it's always had that, long before it was the de facto standard platform and before any monopoly existed.
Frankly it's absurd to psychoanalyze Steam, saying that it wants to do what other companies are doing, and not to recognize that if it wanted to do those things it could easily do so.
From the Steamworks FAQ
>8. Do you require exclusivity for titles you sell on Steam?
>We think you should get your game in front of as many people as you can, therefore we do not require exclusivity on titles.
It's a monopoly in the sense that it's practically financial suicide for a games developer to NOT sell their game through Steam. Whether or not they really "have to" is besides the point if the reality is they'll not make a positive return on their game if they skip out on selling on Steam.
A few big publishers like EA avoid this by creating their own alternative stores and just hoping gamers will deal with it and install Origin, but most games studios have no choice but to accept that they're going to lose 30% because the reality is gamers expect to be able to buy any game on Steam.
This is just from observation without statistics, but I feel once people have a decent number of games on Steam (e.g. from lots of cheap purchases from sales) and no other store, they'd rather stick with Steam instead of installing another store app. Even if another store was a little better, the idea of having to install another app and have games split between two interfaces is a big deterrent.
Almost all Valve titles are Steam exclusive.
This is confusing. If it's true that they make no money on hardware, then you'd expect them to be ecstatic that people want to buy their games (giving them money) without taking their hmd (which supposedly doesn't).
Value also doesn't have the same approach as Occulus; where Occulus tries to be the iOS Appstore (others not allowed), Valve never had that approach.
Although Steam unquestionably dominates AAA game distribution, GoG's selection is great for the kinds of games I'm most interested in these days.
I really wish I could know how Carmack feels about this.
Sidenote: for what it's worth, I haven't used my Oculus since the first week I received it. It was supposed to work with glasses (the DK2 does) by shipping with different foam faceplates that can change how far off my face it is (my glasses fit in the Oculus, it's just that the lenses are so close to my eyes that my glasses scratch them) but they silently took that off the "What's in the box" months before shipping.
My impression is that Carmack is working on GearVR-related stuff in isolation from the rest of the Oculus/Facebook bureaucracy from the comfort of Dallas, TX.
Hard to tell, but I'm not convinced he's even aware (or cares) about what's going on with Oculus in general: https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/733761224098242560
Hence John Romero...
Carmack is more of a Woz type character, hence why there is great respect for him in the industry. Many a developer merely dreams of being let loose on the tech and not have to deal with any of the "bullshit".
I haven't used it much past the first week - only to demo to friends and such, really. I have some disillusionment about it also - it seems like Valve VR/Vive is getting a lot more dev support.
Having tried the Vive also, I think delaying the Oculus motion controllers was a critical error. It turns out the motion controllers really open up a lot of use cases, whereas a "simple" HMD-only feels particularly limiting in comparison.
The Rift is substantially more comfortable than the Vive - the Vive I felt was extremely front-heavy to an extent it actively distracted from the experience. That said, the idea that Oculus Rift "works with glasses" is a statement that's at most 30% true. My glasses are pretty small but while the HMD is on it crams my glasses literally up against my eyeballs - my eyelashes literally brush against the lenses of my glasses while blinking. After using the Rift my glasses are covered with eyelash/eyelid/eyeball(?) smudge marks. It's tremendously annoying.
The backing off of the "switchable glasses faceplate" promise is disappointing.
And honestly, there just isn't much content. Most of the content are tech demos.
Lucky's Tale is a really interesting vindication of the idea that platformers can work in VR - but it's also just not very compelling by itself.
Ditto Eve Valkyrie - the technology is tremendous and you can't help but get that "Battlestar Galactica come to life" glee when you first launch in your fighter... But the gameplay is just not varied or deep enough to hold you for longer than a couple of hours.
Between the discomfort of the HMD and the lack of content, there just isn't much motivation to dive back in.
When friends come over, it's the most offered activity; it's a very compelling experience. Not a ton of long form content yet, but seriously, it's compelling.
I don't doubt that it will get a lot of play from the novelty factor alone, but I remain sceptical that it will make sedentary gamers change their habits in the long term.
You can put on a headset with a 75 year old man and hold out the controllers to him, he will reach out and take them.
Inre: weight, the kids don't like to play more than 30 minutes at a time or so, but that's partly because they want to talk about what they're seeing with someone there.
Probably the most frustrating part right now is that you want to engage with other people, ("oh wow!!" "can you believe that just happened?") and it can be hard to do so when you're isolated visually and auditorily. I think it's got a ton of potential as a party game technology though, with a little bit of work at the integration back and forth with friends sitting on the couch.
Inre: sedentary gamers, probably not, but it does encourage movement. In the first few minutes I tried out hover junkers I was literally crouching on the floor, popping up out to shoot at an opponent and then back down as quickly as I could. One of my daughters at her first try was down on the ground crawling around to look at something in under a minute or so.
So, it's at least a lot more movement than we currently have. :)
However I very much doubt that such experiences will be the overwhelming majority. Dodging bullets and moving around to see things from different perspectives is WAY too fun.
As with the Vive, it seemed like the future at the time, the concept games were a lot of fun, and it scared competing platforms to rush out imitating products (Xbox Kinect, PS Move). But neither have ultimately had much adoption.
Like you said, Microsoft and Sony both introduced motion controllers for their consoles. The Kinect was the fastest selling consumer electronics device.
Most of my friends who did the same sold their CV1 when the hype was high for a profit and went on to purchase the Vive. I live in an NYC apartment, so I don't really have the room to spare for the Vive, but prior to the free CV1 announcement, I planned to purchase a Vive.
After experiencing DK1, you really got a good idea of what VR at that price point was capable of. Sure, the resolution and comfort will improve slightly, but it was a good calibration of expectations for the market. I just hope there comes more and more interesting software to actually drive the industry, because currently it's looking like another 90s VR cycle.
Even when Touch finally comes out, it has been under so much secrecy and so many NDAs that I'm thinking it might have significant issues.
It's a huge plus for Vive that it has motion controllers on launch, but if Touch comes out by end of 2016, half a year's difference isn't much time in the grand scheme of VR and I bet most of the Vive exclusives will be cross-platform then too.
You have to dig in a menu and click a "scare toggle" to even run third party software on Oculus. On GearVR they don't even have the toggle. It will only run Oculus store apps.
and apps that you have signed to your individual device, making them impossible to distribute broadly
That said, Vive's tracking will still be the better of the two, as well as their cord length. I do wish the controllers were slightly more evolved though... :P
Certainly they could have done a lot more and given you more systems to interact with both inside and outside your ship.
I agree the software situation is dire. I tried VorpX with Aliens Isolation and there is just no comparison with other VR titles I have tried. I admit that doesn't include Chronos or The Climb which I have trouble spending the coin on for fear they are overrated tech demos instead of true AAA experiences.
That's a really good point - has he spoken at all about the direction of Oculus & HMD VR in general since the Rift was released?
I'm sure he is disappointed in where facebook+rift is heading.
>Frequently secured through digital rights management (DRM ) technology, this functionality is typically standard for digital download stores.
Not really. There are enough DRM-free ones. I don't care about games that are released through some exclusive DRM-infested stores, but what's more worrying is that hardware itself is probably tied to those stores. I.e. can you use Rift with games for example released through GOG?
In this sense Vive isn't better now too, since it requires SteamVR (because no one else implemented OpenVR so far).
Your point about SteamVR and the Oculus Platform being roughly equivalent is true but I think about it in a similar context to drivers. Both platforms provide an API that you can build against, though personally I have been using SteamVR/OpenVR with both the Vive and the Oculus and I haven't touched the Oculus platform save a couple tests because building against OpenVR let's me use both the Oculus and the Vive.
OSVR is the real shining light of hope in this ecosystem but as of now it just provides a layer on top of SteamVR/OpenVR/Oculus/etc requiring you to run those services in the background.
Yes, unless someone will implement OpenVR and whatever Rift is using (OculusVR?) in a fashion that won't be tied to using either Steam or Oculus services, the hardware will be tied to them. And it still didn't happen yet. It's the reason I didn't buy either of them yet. I find such concept of hardware tied to a service to be completely bizarre.
I feel like desktop apps are making huge strides in being cross-platform, both in attention from developers and the lower development effort required thanks to a myriad of software platforms and tools. It's just sad to see games still clinging to "exclusives" as if that's a positive thing.
This is particularly true when we're talking about a company where this is their entire business model.
Be it web standards, OSes in general, word processing, graphics editing, CAD, 3d modeling, compilers, network protocols, graphics APIs, video game engines, and now VR. The only industry that I've seen even resist for a moment this tempting devil of profit has been 3d printing, which has been in many regards losing to "ease of use" DRM restricted proprietary tonka toys in recent years.
Also, comparing observable industry trends to Marxism is on par with Godwin's law. Obviously you are a communist if you observe natural trends in software towards open interoperability and/or community participation in development of established paradigms?
What's different about consoles though is that, at least in Oculus and Vive's case, the software looks to be fairly compatible with one another (hack-blocking aside by Oculus). What I don't understand is, if it's trivial to run Oculus software on other hardware platforms with hacks, why wouldn't they want people to buy their software if it can run on other platforms as well? Is it brand protection? They can't make large margins on their headset forever.
The HTC Vive works like a peripheral. I launch Steam, start Steam VR mode, and put the headset on. It feels like PC gaming.
The Oculus Rift feels like a console. I put the headset on, and it launches Oculus Home. It's a very polished presentation and the HW-SW integration is deep and satisfying.
They don't. Oculus is selling the Rift at cost.
> Why wouldn't they want people to buy their software if it can run on other platforms as well?
Their goal is to build a user base through exclusives. Exclusives aren't exclusive if you can play them on other hardware.
Hopefully they will just go out of business instead. No more walled garden bullshit, this is a VR peripheral. It doesn't need an app store attached.
"Oh, you can't run Google Chome, but we have an amazing equivalent: Oculus Explorer! We're also gonna monitor your mouse movements for the purpose of improving your customer experience. In addition, to ensure a consistent UX, you can only use Oculus approved mice and keyboards!"
Oculus DRM works by locking the "Oculus exclusive" software to the Oculus hardware. Hackers, of course, have cracked that nut, so the usual arms race against offensive DRM has begun.
Competition is good. I don't like how Oculus is trying to create their own locked in ecosystem but I don't like how some people only want to buy things from Steam either.
1. Doesn't require to hang stuff on walls, a single sensor beside the monitor is enough. For me dedicating a room to VR is out of the question.
2. It has built in headphones. Yes they look "cheap" on pictures, but when you actually use a VR headset that goes on and off a lot you appreciate the convenience. Sound is also VERY good in them.
I don't get the blind Facebook hate and Steam fanboyism. Remember Steam is a 35% taking monopoly on PC gaming. If anything that monopoly needs to be dealt with.