Friday I had a chance to test and try Oculus Rift CV1 headset thanks to one of my simracing fellow friend. We were testing for at least 4 or 5 hours watching and experimenting some of the different experiences Oculus Store has in the catalog right now.
I can’t compare with HTC Vive so I’ll let you know my impressions as an old guy in gaming business.
Oculus comes in a well presented suite case which contains headset, a wireless Xbox One controller, Oculus sensor, remote Oculus controller, and some other little things and instructions.
All components shape a very well finished product, a 2nd or 3rd generation product. That is totally understandable if we consider there were really two mass development kits before this iteration. Oculus Rift team has learned how to launch something polished, solid and easy to install, if you have enough hardware to make it run properly, and with a good touch.
Headset is comfortable for short sessions, I wouldn’t use it for more than half an hour, and the biggest problem is to find your optimal position for the headset in your face. Quality of the view, definition and resolution depends on how you put the headset on.
Once installed everything you need, GPU drivers and Oculus software, you should be able to see Oculus Store, similar to other virtual stores which wearing the headset appears like a modern japanese livingroom, with water, birds and cherry blossom trees at your sight and your ears.
Most of the free content in the store are demos and experiences to show you how powerful this device can be in the future. Computer generated images demos are fine and they are impressive but I like it specially thouse using HD video to show you how travelling can be in the near future. Absolutely jaw dropping. By the way, tracking is perfect.
Games in the store, or Steam (Amigdala), seem and feel well, mainly because in regular non simracing games there is no need to watch far away from your current position. There isn’t significant or annoying SDE effect, or at least is completely overwhelmed by the immersion achieved in the experience. Lateral FOV is a bit limited for the peripheral human vision although it isn’t a big deal.
Headset got hot in some minutes, not very hot, but it can be disturbing in summer. Screen colors saturation and brightness are high, that shouldn’t be very healthy for your eyes. Audio is good, and it combines with immersion so deeply that heard even better.
We tested LFS for a long time, outside the Oculus store as unknown source. Configuration is really easy and the game performance is outstanding. Graphics are not great, a 2003 game, but it is more than enough to imagine what iRacing, Assetto Corsa or RaceRoom can be in the next months. It is like being inside the car. Distances to the corners are natural and you can drive wider than when you race in monitors or screens. On the contrary, LFS distant objects feel vague and unclear. You need to stay at 70m to read clearly a road indication (South City track) though you can read bigger signs easier. There is a big room for the improvement in resolution, software and hardware but it is a very good start.
I don’t know if I am not used to it or my brain detected lack of some related movement but I got little dizzy after being more than an hour playing and seeing different experiences and games.
In my opinion, I wouldn’t buy a VR headset right now due mainly to two different reasons. First, there is not enough content today, we don’t know how the industry is going to develop or cope with it and second and most important to me, my eyes are one of my invaluable assets and VR headsets are a very aggressive kind of device at this moment.
There is no doubt that this is going to be an incredible gadget and a technological breakthrough for the incoming years.