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Oculus Rift: A Ms. H VR Review

Written by RealMsH

Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent those of http://www.allgames.com

Introduction to Oculus Rift:  A Ms. H VR Review
 
Have you heard the saying “don’t knock it ‘til you try it”? There are many more, however, I would use this saying to describe my experience at the Oculus Rift demo at Best Buy.  Maybe some of you already own an Oculus Rift and by now have spent hours playing video games with it. Or maybe you have been eyeing the Oculus Rift, wondering if you should purchase one. I do not own an Oculus Rift; however, I did play a video game using the Oculus Rift during one of my visits to a local Best Buy.  Here is my review of the Oculus Rift, to include some of the research I’ve done on this device. My review may even help you decide if you should go out and get one for yourself.
 Oculus RiftOculus Rift

First Look at the Oculus Rift

I literally stumbled on a demo of the Oculus Rift when I went to Best Buy mainly to check out the PlayStation 4 Virtual Reality system which launched recently.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that an Oculus Rift demo was being held at this particular Best Buy.  In hindsight and after my research, I realized the demo was not as thorough as it could have been as emphasis was placed on simply putting on the VR headset and playing the VR video game instead of telling me the requirements to have this VR experience at home or somewhere else other than the Best Buy. There is much more involvement with using the Oculus Rift as well as other VR units instead of putting on a headset and playing video games.
 

Impression of the Oculus Rift Experience

 

It would have been great if I had previous VR experiences to compare with the Oculus Rift, but that is not the case.   Maybe that is why I was totally amazed at my VR experience. The game I played was “The Unspoken” which is an action/adventure video game complete with tall buildings, dragons and fireballs. Sounds exciting -- right?  In fact once I put on the Oculus Rift headset complete with the wrist controllers, I felt like I was transported to another world. Instead of standing at a Best Buy demo desk,  I was in a virtual adventure land, throwing  fireballs and shielding myself from monster creatures as well as villains who jumped around from building to building, while I stood precariously on the edge of a round ledge, careful not to step forward or I would fall off. It was that real! Even though I was actually in a mundane Best Buy store, when I put on the Oculus Rift headset, I was immersed in a world of video game excitement.  To me, this VR  experience was more exciting than I expected and I was impressed by the whole experience.  It’s unfortunate my excitement about the Oculus Rift took sort of took a nosedive once I did additional research on the system.

 Oculus Rift GamesOculus Rift Games
 
 

Oculus Rift Price and Essentials

 

The turn off for many interested VR customers may be the price of the Oculus Rift.  Best Buy is selling their units for $599.99.  The set includes the VR headset, a tracker and an Xbox One controller.  At the time of the demo, I was unaware  the wrist controllers I wore did not come with the Oculus Rift.  They are called Oculus Touch and cost $199.99 for a set of two, one for each wrist. So if you add the price of both the Oculus Rift headset gear and the wrist controllers, you are up to a price of $709.98, which seems pricey to me.   

 Oculus TouchOculus Touch

I was told by the person facilitating the demo the system comes with about 100 games.  Of course some games are free; however, others you must purchase.  Now here’s the kicker.  The Oculus Rift requires certain peripherals to work at its best.  The additional requirements are a specific graphics card and a strong gaming PC capable of handling the Oculus Rift, including having adequate memory. The Oculus Rift  runs on Windows 7 operating system or higher.  Mac owners like myself cannot simply buy the unit, plug it in and expect it to work.  I also have an Alienware gaming laptop computer which does not meet the specifications of the Oculus Rift.  In summary, the Oculus Rift is useless without these additional requirements.  This was an eye opener for me, because I was thinking I could purchase the boxed system and be ready to continue my enjoyment of  my VR experience.  Boy, was I wrong. In other words, the $599.99 price of the unit does not adequately reflect the full cost of what it takes for the Oculus Rift to work at its optimal performance.

 Warnings for  Oculus Rift
 
Of course, VR warnings are not geared exclusively towards the Oculus Rift, but to other similar units  on the market.  At the Best Buy demo, there were age restrictions for playing the demo; for example, you had to be over 13 years old. From my research, there are additional warnings regarding the use of VR. Even with non-VR gaming consoles, there are warnings about seizures etc. when playing certain video games.  While the game I demoed, The Unspoken did not show any warnings, research shows that there could be potential problems with how one’s eyes and even body movements may respond when going back into the real world from being in a virtual reality environment. Unfortunately, VR technology, though not new, has not been around long enough for documentation of possible long term health effects to be known.
 oculus minimum specs

Oculus Rift Full Disclosure

I think that withholding useful as well as what may be damaging cost and health information about a system is an indication the business is not being honest with customers.  Using an Oculus Rift is not as simple as putting on a headset, choosing your video game and playing it.  I initially thought all I needed was to purchase the system to be transported to the world of virtual reality. I found out differently.   All demo presentations of the Oculus Rift are not alike; however, I think it would have been helpful to show the parts that make up the Oculus Rift, as well as  the additional requirements of the unit. For instance, during the demo, I was advised the Oculus Rift needed a certain graphics card, but was not given any particulars.  As mentioned above, I was also under the impression the wrist controllers came with the system.  Maybe in the interest of getting more sales, information is not being disclosed but I think Facebook, the owner, needs to be upfront with customers regarding costs and requirements of the Oculus Rift -- including providing this information during the demos.

 oculus rift 2016 11 touch controllers

Assessment of Oculus Rift

My opinion of the Oculus Rift would have been off the charts if I based my review on my VR video game experience alone.  However, after I determined what it would cost to own and fully enjoy the Oculus Rift I have come to a slightly different conclusion.   On a positive note, I think Oculus Rift as well as other VR units are on the right track to take video gaming to another level. Maybe in the future all these additional requirements will become a thing of the past, similar to the gigantic, single function cell phones years ago.  I would recommend that Facebook keep moving forward but do so with full disclosure to customers with the goal of making Oculus Rift as simple to use as plugging your mouse or other devices to your current computer. I think Facebook and other virtuality reality units' owners are to be commended for being forward thinkers and taking video gaming as entertainment far beyond the norm.
 

Ratings of Oculus Rift

 

More work needs to be done on the Oculus Rift from a potential customer, user-friendly perspective as well as pricing. Based on a rating of 1 star to 5 stars with 5 stars being the highest, I rate the Oculus Rift 2 ½ stars.  

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