Virtual reality….the final frontier of gamers and people who hate their life alike. Anyone who watched Silicon Valley knows that is what all venture capitalists is searching for. And any time there is money opportunities, there are dozens of companies at it working hard to be the first.
So is Meta the winner?
Meta, which means ‘dead’ in Hebrew (nice name, huh), has come out with their effort at capturing VR with the Oculus. The Oculus is not just for gaming; it is supposed to be a true VR experience that transcends what other traditional gaming platforms like PlayStation and XBox do. But yeah, it also has a ton of games.
The Oculus has been out for over a year now and recently released their second generation. Unlike previous efforts of VR (eg: converting your iPhone into a VR/306 degree experience with a makeshift VR glasses thing), this contraption looks more like the way we imaged a VR consul would look like.
So the question still remains, is the Oculus any good, or does it simply look like a cheap shoddy version of VR that just gives you a headache?
Well, I had the chance to give the Oculus 2 a go over the Christmas break, and to make a long story short, we bought one the next day.
So yeah, it is very cool.
Before trying it, I was a bit skeptical; I mean the Wii had this wave of popularity because of the novelty of it, and even though the Wii was very cool, the novelty wore off a bit and people went back to playing games sitting down with as little motion as possible. Now that still may be the case with the Oculus; only time will tell, but I don’t think so.
This is the first time I have done a VR that feels like those VR experiences you have at places like Universal Studios or arcade places. This VR does NOT feel cheap or buggy; this thing is legit. The movements are smooth, the close-up 3-D makes you feel in the game, and the graphics put you in the environment like no other home VR set. There are a few not-so-perfect things; I am sure the graphics will continue to become more realistic, the hand movements will feel more lifelike, etc. But for now, when you wear this Oculus, you feel like you are in another reality and oblivious to what is going on around you.
That is sort of a scary thing in a way; is it really that simple to detach someone from reality? By just hijacking their panoramic vision with these ‘glasses’, have motion sensors detect your head movements, and engulf your ears with coordinated sound, is that what it takes to control one’s mind and place it in some other state of being? Maybe so, because with this thing, you really feel you are in a…..wait for it…………virtual reality.
Regardless of the biggest ramifications of VR, this headset is very cool. And I am sure the good folks at Meta will not nefariously collect our data, sell it to the highest bidder, and try to manipulate us like zombies. That is something only Facebook would do.