Virtual gaming finally Reality? Oculus Rift’s $1.6m says yes
Back in the day, virtual reality (VR) was the definition of “pipe dream”, especially for video games. Even today, the term conjures up images of Wicker Man, that dire film tenuously based on a Stephen King novella, or of those massive headsets some arcades expected you to pay a fiver for 30 seconds’ ‘play’ with blocky sprites.
So why are we taking VR gaming headset Oculus Rift seriously? 2 reasons.
- It has raised $1.6 million on Kickstarter, from an initial target of $250k
- It has some seriously major backing. First and foremost, John Carmack, inventor of the first person shooter (creator of Doom, Quake, etc.); then there’s Cliffy B, the brains behind Gears of War; and Gabe Newell, head of Valve, one of the most innovative studios out there (think Half Life & Portal), to name just three fans. They’ve been around. They’ve seen numerous gaming fails. They know this isn’t one.
So why are we excited about Oculus Rift? Not necessarily because it claims to offer a wider field of vision and lower latency (visual lag) than previous VR headsets. Rather because, as Carmack himself put it at E3 this year, “for a certain segment of the population, the hacker/maker crowd, this is going to be massive”.
In other words, after Android console Ouya and the continued rise of cheap and clever smartphone/tablet gaming, Oculus Rift could be the next nail in traditional gaming’s coffin. At the very least, it’s already another win for the growing tidal wave of DIY creativity. Hurrah!