The Oculus Rift Gaming Headset is a head mounted display that will essentially immerse you into a video game using 1:1 head tracking. This is done by two displays for each eye and using lenses to give a view that encompasses the entire view of the player. The field of view is currently 90 degrees horizontal (110 degrees diagonal). The resolution has been improved a bit from the prototype back in CES 2012 from 720P to 1280×800 in the developers module, with the goal for consumer product to be set for 1080P. By these measurements and images provided, you can see that the view is more vertical length than width.
- Field of View -
The head tracking is done using gyros, accelerometers, and magnetometers. which are what you have in your everyday smartphone. This allows for the 360° turn, however no z axis yet, this means you do not have the depth of field (you cannot lean forward and see over a wall for example).
With this in mind, you can imagine games such Mirrors Edge , Condemned or the Call of Duty series providing you with some very immersive gameplay.
- Mirrors Edge Gameplay -
- Mechwarrior Online Gameplay -
Currently the Oculus Rift is being supported by a small list of games and will most likely increase once the developer kit launches in a few months time. The possibilities of this technology may just be endless and the first step to a better way of playing your games.
Now I can see a downside to this immersion. Not for people that play videogames, but what the general public will view it as.
We all know the argument that violence in video games are the cause of kids or young adults lashing out. We call it a dumb argument and our rebuttal at times , “if playing violent video games makes me a killer , why haven't I become a soccer star after many hours playing fifa?” but to those parents that have children playing video games, its a sound concern. I have no kids, so my view is my own opinion and the result of asking gamers with kids of their own.
If this technology becomes a success, it will in the spotlight for any and most likely every incident that includes a child or young adult acting out violently towards the general public. The concern that kids will not dissociate reality from fantasy would rise.
I am not going to make an argument regarding why video games cannot be the cause of violence by kids. The fact is that kids are impressionable, they learn from what they see, do and take part in. However , you can control what a child plays. It’s up the parents and video game community to control what video games are being played. If you’re allowing your child to play games that are way above his or her age, try to make your child understand the difference between games and reality. I am not stating that violent video games cause kids to get violent, but lets not add to the fire that's already starting to build.
I don’t know what the future may hold for video games, I hope that its progress won't be bogged down by politics or some laws that may hobble the technology. I am looking forward to purchasing my own Oculus Rift in the near future.