A new era of gaming is here.
It’s the end of March, which means the Oculus Rift launch is here- and if you were one of those people who were waiting on the reviews and impressions before deciding to put down the hefty $599 asking fee, it’s time to make preparations for a lighter wallet- the headset seems to have launched to universally positive reviews.
In general, mostly everybody is impressed by the technology at display here, and even the content seems to be compelling enough to make Oculus an easy recommendation to tech enthusiasts. The complaints, such as they are, seem to be related to VR being an all new medium, without the benefit of decades of refinement and iteration- something that a pioneer must by necessity deal with.
“This isn’t just a piece of hardware,” Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry says. “It’s a platform. Once you strap on the display and immerse yourself into Oculus Home – the front-end of the system – this becomes obvious. Buying games, accessing your library, downloading content, hooking up with friends, watching media, launching titles and switching between them – it’s all done within a beautifully realised VR world. There’s a console-style sense of solidity and polish to the whole enterprise. And as long as you stick to Oculus’ minimum PC spec, just about everything just works.”
“The important thing is Oculus has set the bar incredibly high for what virtual reality should look and feel like, and because they took the time to build out a strong ecosystem of experiences, we can safely say virtual reality is here to stay for the long haul,” Business Insider’s review enthuses.
“After decades of incremental improvements to the way PC games and apps are displayed on monitors, the Rift feels like an entirely new way of thinking about how we look at the computerized world,” Ars Technica’s review says. “It’s unique enough that a lot of the things we take for granted in computing and gaming are struggling to catch up with the new rules necessitated by its entirely new viewpoint. That means this first step still feels a little rough and uncertain in many ways that lessen its sheer impact.”
“$600 is a lot to pay for a piece of gaming hardware,” Gamespot’s review acknowledges. “But Rift is different from a console or a new graphics card. Rift allows you to experience games in ways that we’ve only dreamed of up until now, and while it requires you to make a few compromises in the name of immersion, it’s worth it. Yes, you will look silly to anyone who watches you use it, and you will potentially feel uneasy after an intense VR session, but 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.”
“Testing the bounds of what feels real and how we interact with worlds we control completely is a new frontier for gaming, and the Oculus Rift delivers on that promise,” Polygon say. “There are issues, and the software will continue to get better and offer more features, but this is a functional platform with a wide selection of available games and experiences. It changed how we think of games. It made us feel. It put us inside things that we used to only be able to see. Going back to a standard screen is hard.
“Retail virtual reality is here. It was worth the wait,” they conclude.
It sounds like the VR revolution is now fully under way, and Oculus has set an incredibly high bar for the other competitors to clear. Those competitors – the HTC Vive and the PlayStation VR – launch next month, and in October this year, respectively.