It’s finally happening. That idea of Virtual Reality that made you watch The Lawnmower Man 20 times in a week as a kid is finally being made real thanks to a new Kickstarter project. The Oculus Rift is the prototype for an advanced headset that will finally bring Virtual Reality to life in a way that we’ve only seen in the movies before. The best part is, this isn’t a lab project or something you might see at Disney World, Oculus is designed specifically to run hardcore graphics-intensive video games in your own home.
Kickstarter has hosted a lot of video game and tech projects before, some of them good, some of them dumb, but as you can see from the project’s pitch video, Oculus has some of the biggest names in the video game industry vouching for it. When Gabe Newell of Valve, John Carmack of id Software, and Cliff Bleszinski of Epic all tell me this is going to be huge then I listen. One of the things that make the Oculus headset such an exciting piece of hardware is its large eye encompassing field of view. If you’ve been in one of those cheap VR sets you might find at an amusement park, your virtual experience took place within 40° of your field of view with a large cumbersome headset. The Oculus has a field of view of 110° so you feel like you are fully immersed in your virtual environment. For those of you who can’t do VR or 3D without getting motion sick, Palmer Lucky, the inventor of the Oculus says that one of its main benefits is that it is designed to be extremely low latency, meaning that when you move your head, the picture should move with you in a natural fashion, instead of lagging behind and making you blow chunks all over your couch.
This is the part where I tell you that you can go to Kickstarter and make this project a reality, but guess what? It’s already funded! In fact, as of right now, it’s passed its $250,000 goal by over $600,000… and that’s with 29 days to go. Does this mean we’ll be getting these puppies for our Xboxs and PS3s next year? Well, not necessarily. The Kickstarter project itself was actually made to fund the development of kits for video game developers. The people at Oculus believe that it would be good to have games to support the tech before they finally put the Oculus headsets on store shelves.
I just hope that someone designs a Kinect game that is compatible with it. Not because it will give a complete VR experience, but because I think Youtube needs some more videos of people blindly destroying their living rooms.