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I've Been Waiting For The Oculus Rift, But Now It's Sitting In My Closet (forbes.com)
125 points by r0h1n on May 29, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 150 comments



To me, the most exciting thing about VR (particularly on the Vive) is not anything gaming related but the possibilities around creation and collaboration that are opened up by being able to program in "the real world." If you've played with Tiltbrush at all you can see a glimpse of this. Your brain's implicit understanding of your presence in 3D space is incredibly vital to understanding the shapes and structure that you see with your eyes. You can imagine many design fields: fashion, furniture, architecture, etc can all have a dramatically reduced leap between conceptualization and realization.

A lot of people are quick to dismiss VR and present AR as the future, but I think a more constructive way to think about it is that VR is AR without the walls punched out (yet). Realistically, we all spend the majority of our lives in a couple rooms (an office and a bedroom), so by moving to AR the largest benefit is going to be comfort. So many potential new interactions are ripe for exploring today, even in VR (not to mention the Vive has a front-facing camera anyway, although the latency can be a bit nauseating).


Yup. There's a lot going on right now with people making tools for sculpture, for design, and even stuff like minecraft is a blast on the vive. I've had mine three weeks and managed to spend 6 hours in it solidly on Saturday - 30 minutes and you need a nap? Please. Better make some ovaltine and put your slippers on.

On the other hand, I can't take more than 30 minutes of holopoint - it's physically intense and leaves you a sweaty wreck.

As to motion controllers "perhaps being more intuitive" - I'm guessing he hasn't used them. They're not "more intuitive" they're your damned hands, joining your head in another world. I mean, I suppose hands are useful in interacting with the world.

I strapped my 90 year old granddad in, and he was immediately having a blast flipping burgers in job simulator - and this is a guy who fumbles with his iPad.

So - motion controllers are not "perhaps more intuitive", unless you count your hands as "perhaps more intuitive" to pick things up with than your mouth.

Other "game changer" stuff - altspace vr is the nearest thing to Stephenson's metaverse I can conceive of - it's not like sitting at home chatting on irc watching a stream of something with others - it's like meeting people and going somewhere.

It's all well and good going "I'll wait five generations", but a) you're missing out on pre-september vr and b) if nobody buys devices there won't be five generations.


> I strapped my 90 year old granddad in, and he was immediately having a blast flipping burgers in job simulator

I think this is what's being undervalued about VR -- the increased proportion of people for whom it "works" vs a 2D monitor.

My opinion has gradually shifted towards the reason some people don't read books, or comics, or watch TV, or play current games having to do with different susceptibility / willpower to suspend disbelief / engage immersion.

Someone who doesn't enjoy a fictional book the way I do isn't reading a different book; I think they just aren't seeing the book with the same realness that makes it exciting to me. Aka the "we're just looking at a rectangle with some colors on it" response to computers.

I feel like VR is the first step in awhile that can really lower the bar in terms of "must be this susceptible to suspending disbelief to ride" (post-graphics fidelity, which probably had its biggest objective jump with the first 3d cards).


Spot on. I'm so surprised so see so many close minded tech geeks here on HN. Is it really so difficult to extrapolate from the current of VR tech to a few years out? My guess is most negative people on here hasn't actually tried the Vive.


I agree they're great but they are not your hands. I was still pressing the wrong button all the time. I need gloves not wands


I don't think the neural remap is that hard - i mean, you can type, and it doesn't work through a pen and text interpretation.

Having used the controllers and leap motion, the controllers I prefer, as grasping nothing is less immersive than grasping a controller - in my view, anyway.

Now, gloves with feedback, those will be interesting - but are a way off.

I was recently thinking about 3d printing trackable objects to get around the whole topic, and allow leap motion/manus/whatever to be that much more real.


Yes I can type. I took a 6 month typing course in 8th grade to learn how.


If you think Vive is awesome just check out HoloLens its brilliant. Forget all the issues with limited FOV. HoloLens changes how you interact with real world.


Tiltbrush on the Vive is friggin amazing. The thing with it is that it's not just a painting app. If the brush width is set to wide and style to solid it's the most fluid and intuitive 3D modeling system I've ever used.

I'm a hobbyist artist - using the Vive for a first time I could sculpt a 3d figure, life sized, in front of me in just minutes. (Professinal 3D designers are probably faster than that on their 3D system of choice but I'm just an accidental hobbyist).

I would guess the better one can generate shapes from memory the more amazing the experience is.

This will be huge with designers.


> we all spend the majority of our lives in a couple rooms

You realise you are speaking for your self, not "we all". Believe it or not some people go outside.


I await for the current hype to calm down for the same reason. I see it as the natural evolution of monitors.


There's been a lot of fighting between Vive owners and Oculus owners over which HMD is the best, but they both miss the reality that the biggest challenge to getting the average person to adopt VR isn't room tracking or motion controllers, it's getting them to even want to put the things on. There is very little compelling software at this point that would make anyone but an enthusiast want to use either of them for more than a few hours.


I have actually purchased both so I like to think I am impartial. The oculus is better pretty much on any metric: easier to set up, better tracking (the htc shows a grey screen regularly), better games (valkyrie, lucky's tale in particular), and most important, it hurts a lot less to wear, the htc is an absolute pain in the neck (and what doesn't help is that game developers feel they need to give you a black screen with very long, non skipable narrative instead of giving you some VR, bad point for oculus for putting this narrative on pause when you take off the headset). The only problem of the rift is the large vertical band in the middle, very visible in a dark environment.

But both have few games, most of which are merely proof of concepts more than games, and have their own troubles (lucky's tale is great but it forces you to look down all the time, again it hurts). Also both are unfit for non gaming. They work on the assumption that your eyes will focus only on the centre of the screen, so the edges will be blury. That's simply not what we do when we work, only when we are shooting zombies.

And like the author, I now only use them to demo them to friends.


Literally every person I've put into my Vive has been blown away by it. Sure, there's probably some selection bias, but I've been buttonholing anyone who sets foot in my house, including my 70-year-old in-laws.

So far, of the 20+ people to whom I've shown it, one has taken it off voluntarily, and all had variations of, "Holy shit, this is really amazing."


They're impressive. But, we're impressed by the technology, the potential. It's a demo.

To get usage though, it needs to get past that stage where you are putting it on to see how cool it is. It needs to get to where you don't care so much about the headset, you just want the content.

I prefer game of thrones on a shitty laptop to storage wars on a hd


That's the reaction that got it as far as manufacturing. What's there to keep people engaged once it becomes normal? Hopefully this will turn out more like 3D graphics than 3D movies.


I had that reaction to my brother's Vive too. It was really amazing. But that doesn't matter. I probably wouldn't spend more than $30 on one. Despite being blown away, there are no compelling games and it gave me a headache.


> it gave me a headache

This is possibly because the interpupillary distance wasn't correctly calibrated for your eyes, which means you didn't get the correct scale and depth of things (hard to notice explicitly except that your brain doesn't like it).


In a similar boat but at the same time I haven't pulled my VIVE out in almost a week now - when I think about why it's because 1) the hassle of getting the headset on comfortably 2) lack of new and interesting software/games to try. Will come with time, comfortable lightweight HMD + good telepresence apps will be the breaking point for this tech imo


Is there an app to walk on street view? That would be a compelling use case.


Street view images are fixed viewpoint and low resolution.


Actually, there hasn't been a lot of fighting between oculus and vive owners.

It's the least acrimonious tech choice I've ever seen.

There has been a lot of grumbling about the choices Palmer & Facebook have made about the Rift, but people have not been attacking each other like they used to with android/iOS or other famous tech disagreement centers.


You say "few hours" but I'd go even further and say "few minutes".


I've used both and find both of them unimpressive. Like you said, the lack of software is the killing factor. Right now it's a novelty device, I don't think either are a game changer quite yet.

AR makes more sense to me, because even though you have it on, you aren't blocked out from your surroundings so it feels less awkward. But that too is lacking in apps. I'm hoping that since Hololens is Windows 10 based that the apps will roll in. I think a tilt brush like app would be killer.

I also have this idea that a less fragile AR headset could make for an awesome laser tag HUD, even simulating explosions from your shots. One day.


I read the vive was superior in tech (full room, good controllers, steam), but inferior in hardware-ux (to heavy)

Luckily I have huge traps from lifting, haha.


The weight is fine if you adjust the straps to sit below your occipital bone at the back of your skull - and the mass then rests behind/atop your head, not on your face. Also when worn like that you can literally violently jump and roll around (as is needed in some titles - holopoint for one) and you forget you're wearing the thing.

That's kinda the key. You forget you're wearing it. You forget what's real and what's not - I've watched friends fall on their faces trying to lean on stuff that doesn't exist. I read of a guy who headbutted his fridge because he forgot you can't clip irl.

That complete suspension of disbelief, even if relatively transient, is what tells this observer that the tech is ready. It's young, yes, but it works, today.


It's a lot easier for HTC to update the Vive hardware than for the Oculus to get a whole new stack.

Vive has already been a hit with the early adopters. But HTC needs to concentrate on making the hardware better and cheaper if it wants to break into the mainstream commodity market.

The biggest problem is pitching VR as gaming++, because gaming on its own is not a killer app - especially at the current price point.

I won't be surprised if a killer app emerges from a different sector. But I also won't be surprised if no killer app appears, and VR is stuck in the gaming ghetto for another five years or so.


I think replacing Workstations with multiple displays would be the killer APP.

Finally I would look like the hackers from the movies


Most people will want AR for that.


The thing is, without good a standard controller and tracking there can't be any good software other than tech demos.


It's especially a problem if you live in a hot and humid climate like I do. No matter what I did I could not prevent the lenses from fogging over and I tried everything from antifog sprays for ski masks to stuffing paper towels into the sides of the headset.

The steamy, foggy, bad-smelling experience contributes as much to the nausea, or at least it exacerbates it in my experience.


The audience who buys $500+ VR glasses at the moment often has a climate controlled room.

VR works fine for some casual game concepts and maybe racing games were you sit and just move your head while steer with the gamepad. But I never saw an action, action-adventure, roleplaying or strategy triple-A game in VR. I am still waiting until the first triple-A VR game comes out in one of these very popular game categories - until then, I have my doubts and it could end as abrupt as Kinect 2 or 3D TVs.


Perhaps it needs active ventilation.


Forgot to mention that I tried that as well with a USB fan.

Something like this one: http://n4.sdlcdn.com/imgs/b/u/4/198x232/Persona-Portable-Min...

But yes, an in-built fan (if it weren't too noisy) should help a lot.


You might want to look up fans for paintball helmets. From memory, most of them run off battery, but you could probably have them to use 5v USB. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=paintball+fan

Biggest advantage being that they're specifically designed to move air down through a set of goggles.


Thanks!


I'm not sure how you'd maintain a breeze across the eye area that wasn't noticeable and distracting, though.


AC is cheaper than headset, dont see a problem here


A few points that stood out to me.

1. He has the wrong headset. VR needs roomspace or it's just not going to be worth it. Yes gametime on the extreme end will go down in VR. That's very welcome by many of us finely aged gamers who don't have much time anyway for 6 to 12 hour sessions anymore (or don't want to invest that kind of time). I'd rather put in 1 to 2 hours a day of insanely immersive gametime than 12 hours of Civilization (which I already put countless hours into during the early 90s anyway).

2. He did nail the second thing that needs to happen when he said the cords were a mess: the need for a self-contained VR system with no cords. Cell phone VR for the basic setup and a more powerful and immersive but also wirefree all-in-one VR outfit is where it'll be at in the longterm. Think Powergloves and the whole deal.

3. Main issue here is that this as an author who doesn't know what he needs. But what he needs is a killer app. Once someone figures out what that is, it'll explode.


> I'd rather put in 1 to 2 hours a day of insanely immersive gametime than 12 hours of Civilization

I'm not finely aged, as I'm only 25, but I feel the exact same way. One thing I loved about Quantum Break recently was the fascinating live-action video that breaks up each chapter of the single-player game. I'm a fan of immersive experiences, so the 2-3 hours a week I spend gaming have a bigger impact on me and are more enjoyable.


I think the problem isn't so much that the tech isn't ready, it's simply that the software is immature. Everyone has been rushing hard to get this tech out the door, but software developers haven't really had time to produce much beyond "app-store" quality content which tends to lack lasting replay value. We all know it takes a lot of time to produce high quality software and there is still a lot of experimentation that needs to happen before developers lock onto the techniques that provide the optimal experience.

People aren't going to keep putting on their headset just to look at tech demos, they're going to keep coming back to experience the well designed, super fun, highly addictive title that they've been playing obsessively, just like on every other platform.


Having owned an Oculus, I can't agree the tech is ready. Personally I won't be touching the hardware again until it evolves to something like putting a pair of sunglasses on, and the image covers your entire field of vision, with better resolution. The black border around the image was disappointing and prevented full immersion.

I also want an integrated tracking camera in my laptop. The less clutter of hardware the better. And a brightness control dial on the side would be nice too. Those little screens are very close to your eyes, having a dimmer would be great - for those applications that seem to think you want full screen whiteness flooding your retinas.


Do you have the last Oculus headset or one of the alpha version for developers?


I had the DK2, and yes I know the latest model is better... have yet to try it myself, but I heard the screen resolution is basically the same and you can still see the pixels etc.


It's a chicken and egg problem.

Because the hardware is so niche, the software makers don't have an audience to justify a big investment.

What's more, content - even if it becomes the Mario of the VR - is not as important as the platform itself for control.

Companies and investors realize this and so they focus on platforms. And so we have a bunch of companies vying for a turn at the platform while no one wants to make content.


there's no 'mario' or 'angry birds' of VR yet, that opportunity is wide open for the right company


There is not much of an opportunity, because a market capped at one copy per headset is tiny. People did not buy smartphones because they wanted to play angry birds, they played because they already had a phone.

What smartphones had and VR will never have is a feature like pinch to zoom: something that not only looks impressive but also happens to be routinely demonstrated in a social setting, without the explicit intention of showing off.


VR headsets that are attached to big PCs are very much a solo-thing at the moment. I can understand wanting to play a multi-player game like Halo while visiting a friend's house.

I got my Oculus Rift a few weeks ago and absolutely love it. Practically use it every day. Lucky's Tale was surprisingly good, and I can no longer Elite: Dangerous without the headset.

There's not enough software at the moment. I still want to see a good flight simulator and Altspace-like spaces with actual things to do with people.


I wonder if 3 monitors side by side would be good enough to replace your headset with Elite? Combined with headtracking so when you look at left monitor, the view shifts slightly with your head movement? Or is it that you're completely enclosed in the world more important?


I've got a triple head setup and a TrackIR v5 and play a lot of flight / combat (DCS series) sims (with a Warthog HOTAS), ARMA 3, and Elite Dangerous. It's worth it.

I'm still standoff ish on VR till my setup can be replicated, but I think I'm an outlier in the target market.


Sounds good. I might invest in a dedicated setup like that. One of the advantages of a triple monitor setup is that our eyes can instantly scan around the screens with only a small amount of head movement. With VR the same move requires a larger head turn, and the resolution not as good. Not to mention the nice desktop area.


I had the DK2 and pretty much the same thing happened, boxed and shelved after a week, after I tried all the best demos - although for a different reason: the eye-strain and nausea was too much to bear for me. I couldn't really explain it since other people, family members and friends, could wear it just fine for any amount of time. I wear glasses but neither lenses or any settings offered relieve, guess I'm simply too sensitive to enjoy current-gen VR. Also the DK2 drivers were glitchy - had to plug in an old 19" monitor because the only way the rift would run at its designed 75Hz was with a primary monitor that supported it too, it's been a real hassle to switch from a nice 27" 1440p display to 1280x1024 and back, only to get really bad judder ingame because either the game wasn't using the latest SDK version or my GPU couldn't keep up (gtx 670 with an i7-2600k). Direct-To-Rift mode should have fixed these issues (judder primarily) but it rarely worked for me. Note that I never tried the CV1 or any other HMD so far, nor do I really plan to. My DK2 experience has been sobering but I am hopeful for future generations.


I had a dk2, and the nausea was real. Had to put it down and sit there pale and sweaty many times.

In the vive, at 90fps and all the other bells and whistles - none, even dogfighting in elite, even stick-moving in minecraft.

That said, a gtx 670 would be marginal at best - a 970 is the official min spec, and the new generation of pascal cards are essentially built for vr.


That's interesting to hear. The Vive has some unique features that make it sound really cool too. What about screen-door effect? Texts in EliteDangerous weren't readable at all. I'm planning on getting a gtx 1070 once they are out for some sweet sweet 1440p gaming, the 670 served me well but just doesn't cut it anymore for anything higher than 1080p.


Sde is still there, just less noticeable - and not noticeable pretty swiftly.

I play ED in the vive, and have no issue with legibility, but I have supersampling and aa cranked - haven't bothered with green text, which was practically mandatory on the dk2.


Apparently the Elite Dangerous text issue is an HTC Vive issue. There's no text issue at all on the Oculus.


I did the Oculus demo at a Best Buy. The technology is incredibly impressive, but I found the experience annoying. Besides the face sweat, I just can't envision myself coming home and enjoying my time in a headset the same way I can enjoy myself in front of a TV or computer, and I think that's because you can't see around your physical space without taking the headset on and off.

Maybe I'm just being a troglodyte about VR. I can admit that much.


The HTC Vive has a camera on the front you can turn on to see around your environment.


Oh wow, I did not know that. So basically, Vive is a potential AR device as well.

Speaking of which, I have the mattel view-master headset that I use with an iphone 6. If you use the default mattel app, the device looks through the camera, and when it sees the disc that comes along it (this one: http://www8.pcmag.com/media/images/488976-mattel-view-master... ) -- it renders a rocket spinning on top of it. So even the cheap headsets allow a VR... but of course, the lag and stuff kind of bring it down and make it very headache-inducing.

Of course the best AR experience is one where reality is not see through a re-render picture of stuff captured from camera, but simple you seeing the stuff around you through a glass because nothing beats reality.


No, not quite.

It's a single camera mounted in the centre. So it can't do stereoscopic 3d and although the resolution is OK, it's not great. Currently you can bring the camera up as a floating window attached to you controller that lets you look out into the real world. It's kind of like looking at the world on a tablet screen in your hand.

I believe they recently have provided access to the camera stream via the API, so we might see developers start integrating it into things, but it's never going to be like AR.


A second (or 4) camera would be cheap to add. What is the latency like, though?


Maybe the headset idea is not so great. If we created a spherical room around the user and displayed the 3D image on it, in all directions, it would be more natural. Especially if we can still walk inside the sphere in any direction.


This is called a CAVE and it's the predecessors to today's HMDs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_automatic_virtual_environ...


I spent time inside UCSB's AlloSphere this weekend.

http://www.allosphere.ucsb.edu/

In VR headset terminology it has full field of view, zero latency head tracking, very high resolution, group experience, no fatigue, etc.

Obviously, everyone can't have one in their house but it's a great experience.


Hmm, I haven't been to this facility, I'm rather skeptical of your points of comparison to a VR headset.

If it's like the ones have been or worked on, using 3D glasses (active or passive) with IR reflectors for tracking by multiple cameras, then it neither has full field of view nor zero latency and I can't see how it would have group rendering.

The field of view is limited by the glasses, if your eye goes outside the glasses you see both eyes together on the images projected on the screens and it looks fuzzy. Obviously you can turn your head 360 but that's the same in a headset.

In terms of head movement, in a VR headset you have full spherical coverage, not just 360 horizontally, which seems to be the case here?

For tracking if they use Vicon cameras or similar system, you also have the usual motion to photon latency: video camera latency + video camera frame interval + CV algorithms + rendering + sending to screens.

Actually none of the Cave systems I've seen use predictive tracking (like VR headsets do), where the head pose send to the renderer is not the sampled pose by the tracker but the predicted pose that your head will have by the time the image is displayed in the headset.

Group experience? How do they manage that, I'm curious. For accurate multi-person VR you need a different render for each person based on his specific head position and orientation. In a Cave that would mean rendering 4 images per each frame just to get it working for 2 people. So 360fps refresh rate screens for a 90fps experience for example, (which is what the Rift and Vive have).


That's pretty much HTC vive


Unless Vive is an actual room you strap to your head, then no.


But it is, sans the tactile feedback. By which I mean, once worn, the experience is indistinguishable from being in a room. This is from experience. I've experimented with Oculus, Hololens and Vive and by far Vive has the most compelling experience from the point of view of generating a perception of an alternative reality - and your description is actually pretty good in explaining the experience.


VR is going to be somewhat like the advent of the 3D television in 2010-ish. Every manufacturer will make one, few people will buy one, and the people who do will likely only use it on novelty occasions. VR is really only a stepping stone to augmented reality, and mixed reality mobile operating systems. On a side note Oculus and WhatsApp seem to be some of the dumbest expenditures Facebook could have ever made. 13 billion dollars for a messaging app. Thats 13 trips to the moon and back... But fuck it, we will just eat Cheetos and do a computer simulation of a moon mission in an Oculus. #MillennialLyfe


> On a side note Oculus and WhatsApp seem to be some of the dumbest expenditures Facebook could have ever made. 13 billion dollars for a messaging app.

Since being acquired by Facebook WhatsApp has doubled its active user base to over a billion users. If it was in the hands of Google right now it would be considered a very real threat to Facebook. I'd call preventing that one of the smartest expenditures Facebook has made.


I think 3D television was a mere incremental improvement whereas the immersion of VR is the next stepping stone of entertainment. Though, I think the full-room experiences are a bit of fad as seated experiences are more comfortable and relatable to how we've always consumed various forms of relaxing entertainment. Instead of the simplistic interactions, I honestly wouldn't mind it if I used a keyboard and mouse interface but wore a VR helmet at my desk, since I never look down anyway. And I'm also betting that VR porn has the potential to be hugely addictive. The reviews of initial explorations are fairly lukewarm but it's still way too early to discount that effort.


There is quite big market for non-seated entertainment - Wii, Kinect, etc have shown that. It is a very different market from the people who currently have high-end gaming PCs suitable for VR, but the number of people who like and want full-room experiences is quite large.


Maybe I am completely missing some niche where Wii and Kinect are celebrating long term success, but my current impression is that they are more examples for short term novelty success than for a strong long term development. Better than dance dance revolution mats, but only marginally.


We've been to the moon plenty. At some point one has to ask "why do we keep visiting a big desert that's difficult to get to?" It doesn't create any value for any one. WhatsApp does.


Not sure but the current and next VR gen might be the next smartwatch. Overhyped.

Why =>

1. You need an highres screen which must be pixel-free. Even if you throw Samsung's ppi front runners Note 5 or S7 into a Google cardboard you definitely see pixels; it's not crisp, it's not clear, it's just annoying and those monster phones have already 500-600ppi, more than any Oculus. So we need screens with 1000 ppi minimum because they sit so close in front of your eyes. We are used to crispy Retina noteboks and even higher res smartphone screens for years and shall now go back?

2. People are annoyed by Androids micro stuttering here and there, even the mainstream users and now we believe some milliseconds latency and stutter won't hurt VR? So here we need minimum 60 fps and even more since head movements can be quite quick and morever, even subtle movements which happen with your head all the time must be reflected with same sensivity. Didn't see this yet.

3. 1000ppi at 60fps? Ok, let's try to get hardware for this; you need hardware with the best avail GPUs, coolers, heatpipes, and fat cables to your lovely headset since batteries won't help. So we talk about a non-mobile product, something with cables keeping you at one position. And a price tag far away for the mainstream user.

Once this thing can be sold next to the Playstation for few hundred bucks at the quality mentioned in 1 and 2 + killer apps we are ready to go and we can talk again about mainstream adoption. To get there I assume that we need min. 10 years if not more.

And even then, if we are there and have 1+2+3 fulfilled I come up with my 4th point:

4. Great about games is that I sit on my sofa and can conquer the world without moving at all. All is done with my fingertips on my controller. Moving is exhausting--and thats the point of video games: to not run yourself and climb mountains like you do in Uncharted 4 for days--even moving my head can get exhausting after a while and anyway head movements are also much faster done with my controller's right analogue stick. So, what's the point? Why do I need an headset when a large screen and my proven Playstation controller can do the same? Better immersion?


> The headset doesn’t always fit quite right, and the experience can be straight up exhausting

I agree, moving your head around all the time to look at things does get really tiring after a while. I hope - and believe - that as game devs get more experience with VR, they'll design VR games differently to take into account its strengths and weaknesses. This is actually one of the reasons I think Oculus has a good chance at succeeding in the VR world - they've had the tech for quite a while and have had time to figure out how to make a good VR experience. The camera on a rail in Lucky's Tale is a good example of Oculus Studios thinking in new ways about how to design VR games. It's a new medium, and it's going to take some trial and error before we figure out how to use it correctly.

> telling them to spend $600+ on a headset right now would just be madness, given the relatively small scope of the software at present

I think the author should have expected that there's not much software out there, after all this is a totally new market, there's not going to be many games for it after all. I remember the day the PS3 came out there were very few games for it, and that was Sony's 3rd console. Give it some time.

Overall, I think VR has enormous potential. Give Virtual Desktop a try, or a deep VR game like Elite: Dangerous, or even something simple but polished like Lucky's Tale.


> I agree, moving your head around all the time to look at things does get really tiring after a while

Is this really the day and age we live in where needing to mov e your head around is considered a con? You move your head around all the time while walking around, driving, etc and nobody complains about that


The problem is that these devices limit your field of view a lot. So, like when wearing a mask, you have to turn your head quite a lot to get stuff into the center of vision field, which quickly gets very annoying and tiring.


generally you move your whole body, at least a little bit, when you move your head, though.


>I hope - and believe - that as game devs get more experience with VR, they'll design VR games differently to take into account its strengths and weaknesses.

Nintendo did this nicely with the Wii controllers - you can flail your arms around wildly, but it also works when you flip your wrist a little bit


And high prices is always the case with new technologies. The early CD writers weren't cheap. And laptops. Etc etc. Doesn't mean the technology won't success, at least not for that reason.


Wrong headset :# I could spend days in the Vive and Google Tiltbrush alone.


Honestly the only reason I'm excited to get one is for racing simulators. Rather than trying to sit close to a big TV or having multiple displays, you can just use one of these for the immersion. Plus you can look around like you would in a real car.

Great example (with a bit of augmented reality via green screen mixed in): https://youtu.be/LlFKjWGxZqk


Yeah, I use my DK2 pretty much solely for a flight simulator (FSX with Flyinside).

I'm learning to fly in real life and it turns FSX into a realistic way of training for GA flying, rather than only instrument procedures - being able to look around out the windows makes all the difference.


If you are into flight simulation, then you are likely to have experience with the old head tracker / desktop monitor combo as well. How do those experiences compare?

(I'm asking because I have spent quite a bit of time doing headtracked virtual piloting, zero with a VR headset)


I only have limited experience with the headtracker + monitor combo but I much prefer VR.

With the headtracker it more felt like just a convenient input method for head position, whereas with vr, well, it's like you're really in the plane. It doesn't feel like there's some translation between me moving my head and the camera on screen moving.

The loss of visual acuity is an issue, but since I fly only GA this is not so much of an issue - I'm mostly looking out of the windows and try not to focus on the instruments, just like in the real world.

If anyone you know owns a headset (DK2, CV1, Rift), I'd highly recommend borrowing it and trying the free version of FlyInside (15 minute demo limit) to get an idea: https://flyinside-fsx.com/Download


Not poo-pooing that video, but not sure if you read the short FAQ in the description:

FAQ

- No, i can´t see my hands or the steering wheel while playing, it´s done in video editing

- I´m using the Oculus Rift DK2 with runtime 0.6

- The block dot comes from unwarping the Rift video, I´m sorry for that, but i couldn´t get rid of it

- Greenscreen is to make my room invisible so i can edit real and virtual view together

- The poor resolution is because i record with 1080p but then have to crop the picture down the the view of one eye in 16:9 so i get less than 720p. This will get better as soon as i get the final verion of the Rift or the Vive

That said, I'd totally buy into VR if I could do that. For now I think I'll wait for a bit.


Right, as I says it's augmented reality but what he sees (other than his hands and wheels) is right.

Another without that: https://youtu.be/7R5swCafrOs


The Vive has issues, comfort issues especially, but it's a good setup. I can't say the same for the Rift, and the controls don't help.


I'm in the same place - I probably got 12 hours of gameplay out of it before I unplugged mine. It is exhausting and frustrating to use.


The Vive is an infinitely better experience currently. Hand controls and sub-millimeter tracking precision in a room up to 12x12 makes all the difference.


My two cents on Vive after a short experience:

1. Video quality is better than google cardboard, but not much. Yeah, I am surprised too. 2. Headset and Control don't fit very well, at least for me. 3. You need a large empty room. Otherwise I can see myself running into things.

Bottom line: no way I am going to buy this.


The problem with video quality (if you are referring to stereoscopic 360 video) is coming from the content, not the headset.

To make a video that leverages the GearVR pixel density for example, you need 6000x1500px. Per eye. Videos are usually a far cry from that. H.264 encoders won't even let you encode it.


I am referring to games. I only tried two though.


Vive is worse in most other ways. Worse clarity, worse comfort, worse app performance, worse microphine, worse audio experience. I don't see any practical tracking difference between the two.


Agreed on most points, but that's not the big one. The ability to move around, to reach out and grab things, to use hand-eye coordination to block a bullet with a shield, hugely sets the Vive apart. It's not even close.

The gameplay is innovative, exciting, and superior. Full room VR is the difference between need for speed on a PSP and a full arcade racing game with pedals, a wheel, and motors that jerk your body around as you drive.

The oculus may be better in a myriad of ways, but the Vive got the most important things correct. Everything else will clean up substantially in iteration two, which may be as soon as 24 months.


Exhausting in what way? Is it too heavy, or is it somehow cognitively expensive?


I used to do flight simulation with a head tracker to control the virtual cockpit perspective. Hardly any mass added over regular headphones, but it was a world of a difference between holding my head in whatever position that felt comfortable to see the screen and holding it in exactly the right angle to point the camera to where I wanted. It's fun and a great improvement over manually controlling the camera, but also surprisingly exhausting.


When I play TF2 in 2D, I guess it's far enough away from reality that I don't try to understand what I'm seeing. When I play it in the Rift, I see a bunch of stuff that isn't quite right. I don't think it's the uncanny valley, because the game is still a cartoon. I really can't explain it any better than the author: after I play for a while, I need a nap.


Like the 3D TV syndrome?


I think the fact that we don't know how to use any of this at the moment just shows how new and game changing this all is.

You can't just copy/paste any of the old stuff onto this new medium, it just doesn't work that way and you certainly cannot compare this to 3D tv/cinema...

..and I think the people that got hyped the most also completely underastimated the tectonic shift needed in order to make any of this really entertaining.

I think of the "visual" component of the VR problem as solved and am now looking forward to seeing how the "interactive" component of the problem will be solved. Because you need to perceive the world, check, but now you need to be able to interact with it: not solved yet.

But people got waaaay to excited seeing only the visual aspect solved...


I know a few people who feel sick just playing a FPS game on a regular computer monitor for more than a few minutes. Even on a high-end system 3D environments can cause motion sickness. So I believe it will be a long time until VR technology overcomes these problems.


Some FPS games make the mistake of limiting field of view, which can cause motion sickness on regular monitors. A wide field of view and high frame rate greatly improves things.

With VR, it's a combination of frame rate and as the comment above mentions - too much movement. In No Limits 2 rollercoaster for example, you can walk around the park and get on the coaster, ride the coaster, then get off and walk around again - it's too much. The best VR I saw was sitting on virtual chair and things happening around you.. or the chair slowly moves through environment with deliberate and smooth velocity.


The solution is to map the movement in the VR to only users movements. HTC vive and Hololens both do this. Oculus almost makes me puke each time I try it but not so with Vive or Hololens.


Entirely agree with the article. There is a quote by Clemenceau: "the best time in love is when I walk up the stairs". I'd say by best time with VR is the time between ordering and receiving it...


I tried various VR, AR, 3D glasses (shutter, anaglyph) and autostereoscopy displays in the last 20 years.

There were several hypes and fads (like 3D TVs and movies) and VR glasses seems like another fad - especially as soon as more and more tried them and cannot imagine to use it for general purpose gaming - it's more relevant for niche topics. Autostereoscopy displays and AR might get a broader audience in future. But current prototype AR devices like HoloLens are a far cry what would be possible, and at the moment a lot of demos are faked to hype unfinished devices, as the reality is that AR is won't be ready for another 3 years (e.g. http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Microsoft-HoloLens-im... ). A problem of VR and AR-prototypes is motion sickness, that some people have (from my experience often people who have not 100% eye sight) - I never got motion sickness, but I saw some fellows vomitting on the lab floor (carpet).

Autostereoscopy displays like in the Nintendo 3DS handheld console have its appeal as there is no ugly glass needed and technically it's possible to support a group of people, instead of just one person. So in near future our smartphones and TVs may have such a 3D display. And given a 4k LCD panel one can still get a 1080p or 720p 3D resolution out of it, that's already enough and it will be cheap. And with back projection technology even projectors could be used for 3D autostereoscopy.


Summary; VR is a great novelty but it wears out and then you're just left with sub-par looking games lacking replay value and quality. It's super expensive and the games aren't very engaging (no killer app yet). The competitor landscape is also confusing and there's a lot of innovation still left to be done by industry heavyweights (namely Google and Apple).

Basically, VR is here but the experience isn't sticky enough due to lack of great software. Sound familiar?


I have to agree with most, if not all, of what this article is saying. Some friends of mine brought over their gaming rig and the Vive over. My kids loved it, it was pretty cool and all but there is no way I'm spending 2K to buy a gaming PC and the Vive. On top of that, you need a 3m by 4m room to play the better games so anytime I want to play I have to clear out a room in the house or dedicate it basically. For a game system? No.

For this to go big, and eventually I think it will, you need the headset to be wireless, the goggles have to be lighter, and the video card necessary to power the thing needs to be an appliance. I'm guessing once the consoles can handle it we might see more traction.

I also would like to see the hand controllers something more along the lines of a set of light weight gloves or something that allows finger and gesture tracking. Basically, Minority Report. When I was playing hollow point and budget cuts on the vive I really wanted something like that.


This is not surprising. VR is currently in the "peak of inflated expectations" in terms of the Hype Cycle [1]. Sit it out for another 2 years before taking another look at it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle


They need to open up the wire protocol. Let people innovate outside their walled garden.


The Vive is open, as far as I know. Only the OR is closed.


I still think VR headsets are the next 3D TV. Yes, they're cool, for a few days. Yes, some hardcore FPS gamers like them. There's a modest market for them. But it may not be that big.


The difference between 3D TV and VR is staggering.

I hate 3D TV (and movies) but was instantly amazed and wanted more of VR.

VR's biggest problem is tech needs to catch up - i.e. the race is towards doing retina-resolution VR, at which point it's game-over for monitor tech.

3D TV is about as good as it's ever going to get, with a lot of really obvious limitations.


Have you tried a Vive? It's much more significant when you can walk around and grab things.


3D TV's were pushed by the manufacturers as a way to sell more tvs. Consumers are demanding VR as evidenced by the oculus kickstarter and preorder volume.


Well... I was an early adopter for the Amazon Echo. Initially it was about the same, novelty but practically useless, until new integrations were added and now I make extensive use of it.


But the headsets are not going to get any lighter with time unless you buy new ones.


I think there will be more relevant applications of VR. Today there is very few software that is VR specific


Gonna derail this a bit, but what the fck is up with stock indicators in these 'news' posts? Seeing more and more of that lately.

Who even cares about that: https://i.imgur.com/TI5T7ah.png when they came to read a story such as this. Is this some useless bs marketing move or am I missing something.

Please explain.


It's Forbes. That's their industry and target audience.


So maybe someone from that industry can comment if that helps anyone at all?


If there is news about a company and it's recent it might be interesting information how the stock of the company is affected? It's useful information for the people that normally read Forbes.


It makes sense for breaking news. Looking at a single day's stock movement doesn't make any sense for a discussion of a product that came out months ago.


It's not supposed to be helpful, it's an interstitial ad. The point is to make you click on it so you get sent to a feed of stories about Facebook and another page full of ads.


I was going to preorder but ultimately I opted not to simply because there's no real use case, yet. It's still too early. I believe in a few years it will be worth it but I just don't want to be an early adopter on demo ware.


Damn, an overhyped tech carried by massive paid PR campaigns is not holding up. SURPRISE! Never seen that before in human history, no sir.

I find Jeff Atwood's piece on VR to be the truest of them all. He nails it at every point.


Can you link to it?



Thanks. There's lots of great points in there, though I have demo'd an old oculus with a Leap Motion that could track both hands and all fingers with ease. Why it isn't bundled and contended by not, I do not know.

Even before this article was published I was saying (I'm sure others were as well) that the reality that the Oculus lets people share is that of a black box strapped to their faces.

I guess the reality phase of the hype cycle has now hit.


It's been my complaint since the beginning: This isn't virtual reality. It's clever, non-sickening head tracking. Great. Now I won't throw up when I move my head around in a 3D space.

We're a bit closer, but not nearly close enough, to total immersion. You can play a racing game or a flying game and get some pretty good immersion, maybe even trick your brain here or there. But VR is a fever dream until we understand how brain impulses work and can manipulate them directly to simulate experience.

Of course, by then, we'll probably be questioning the whole thing altogether.


Have you completely missed the HTC Vive?


Not at all. Spatial tracking is great but it's still arbitrarily limited. You're not walking through an environment; you might as well be in a closet simulator.


Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for mine to ship at the end of June / start of July :-(

I love flight and racing sims, so I expect to get a lot more use out of it.


> Despite my surprising lack of interest in VR, I recognize that it is the future. This isn’t one company making some gimmicky piece of tech .... and lord knows when Apple unveils their own VR headset, it’ll be game over.

oh geez, this means nothing.


Apparently I can't read this article due to using adblock. Neither visiting the article nor the "web" workaround work. http://i.imgur.com/8LN6ec0r.png

Fascinating. I wonder what the web will look like in a decade.

On-topic: I was one of the original backers of Oculus, but missed the opportunity to get a free Rift. I guess it didn't matter much.

It seems like what happened to the Oculus is what happened to many platforms throughout history: No killer app on launch day = no uptake.


I almost didn't click the link because of this, then remembered I'm on my iPad and so don't have ad blocking. Holy crap there are a lot of ads on that story. I stopped reading after the third huge animated ad. How do people use the web generally without ad blocking?

Back on topic, the Vive's room scale tracking really makes the difference IMO. The Rift seems more like just a fancy display device, whereas the Vive enables a whole new class of experiences.


I disabled my ad-blocker, and they gave me an "ad-light" version of the site for 30 days.

Their "ad-light" version (that people can actually choose to pay for) displays more ads than most sites, and the entire site lags when scrolling (on a beast of a computer no less).

I'm never going to read a piece of Forbes content again. Let this be a lesson in how not to Internet.


And they could care less, since you do not view their ads, you provide them no value.


No direct value, but he may otherwise share their stories and "upvote" them.


https://github.com/reek/anti-adblock-killer does a decent job when used with uBlock on Chrome (without the whatevermonkey script). It gets past the Forbes nonsense, at least.


I just tried to read this article on mobile and had to walk to my computer to type this.

This. This is the _worst_ reading experience I've ever had since I first connected to the internet back in 1995.

I had to stop reading the article because the ads we too intrusive. I closed the page in disgust.


I thought this Sam Altman tweet is relevant: "not enough of us are willing to pay for news, so we get the click-bait ad-driven news we deserve." (https://twitter.com/sama/status/736579483923156992).

It comes off (in tone) as a bit entitled when I see people complaining about how they aren't able to view free (free!) ad-supported content for free because they are using an adblocker. I use ad block. I recognize that I am a freeloader. I don't pretend I'm not. I know the usual rebuttal is something like "I'd pay for it if they offered" - but this is a non sequitur because it doesn't really change the fact that publications have no obligation to cater to our every content-gorging whim.


I have to agree with you here. I usually don't use an archive link or other shenanigans to circumvent anti-ad-blocking measures, if a site would rather lose a reader than allow ads to be blocked then I'll just not read the article.

This one, with ads, was unreadable anyway so it's a moot point really.


Ad-filled and ad-funded, news isn't news. It's corporate pandering with some external content.

As long as we're at this local maxima, with crap crowding out quality, news can never improve and will never be worth paying for.


2 solutions:

1. Save to pocket and read it there.

2. Stop reading forbes.

I've decidedly to click out of any forbes article here on out.


archive.is is your friend:

http://archive.is/DhM0e


Something that I've found to work on a lot of the paywalls is to half-load the page and then hit the escape button to stop some of the media and js from loading. The payall script hasn't had time to load yet so you can see the full article... Note this might be harded to pull off if you have really fast Internet...


Yeah, me either.

At first I kind of thought of disabling stuff so I Could read Forbes but I've found so much crap lately that I don't bother anymore.


You have to wait a good 1 minute or 2 for the article to load. I have found this issue with all of Forbes articles when I have adblock turned on.


I hit reload and it loaded




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