Hands on with the Oculus Rift

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Tom Solari, the video guy, having a go with the Oculus Rift (Image: Terence Huynh/TechGeek)

If you haven’t heard of the Oculus Rift, you have been living under a rock. Started as a Kickstarter project, it has become the darling of the video game industry because of one simple thing – immersive virtual reality. And finally, it has now come down to Australia just in time for PAX Australia 2013.

For many attending, this will be the first time interacting with the device. It has been written up by many who have experienced it, and all of them have been glowing with praise. I have never been one to follow the hype; but after using the Oculus Rift, it is deserving of that praise – even if they try and downplay it.

It pretty much does what it says – it puts you in an immersive environment. It moves around whenever you tilt your head, with little to no delay. And the graphics look stunning. I should point out that what we use is the HD 1080p prototype that they showed off at E3. Many units at PAX Australia are using the developer kit, which has 720p resolution. It is still stunning nethertheless.

for lack of a better phrase, content is king

However, I think what makes the Oculus Rift so attractive is not the hardware itself. It is the games – for lack of a better phrase, content is king. The development kit costs $300 and supports both Unreal Engine and Unity; allowing not only the big gaming studios, but the smaller ones create games that utilise the Oculus Rift.

It doesn’t require new hardware to run – video is inputed through a DVI port – meaning that you can simply plug this in your PC, load up your Oculus Rift-enabled game, and experience a much more visual experience.

A consumer version is definitely in the works, and the price hopefully will be around the same price as the development kit.¬†You can see my “handsy”, as Tom Solari puts it, hands-on video below.

Words: Terence Huynh
Video: Tom Solari