In the past few months, Oculus has more than fallen from grace. From attacks on their new launch video, from the Oculus touch controllers, like the nightmare feud over their like vs dislike bar on Youtube, or even their video comment section.
With comments saying such things like..
“Oculus is anti-consumer and anti-competative”
“They’re killing!! an exciting new era of technology with terrible business practices”
“Oculus are turning into the Apple of VR!”
“They are the CANCER of VR!!”
I think it’s safe to say that people in general, are really quite mad with Oculus. Independent polls online suggest tech consumers generally prefer the HTC Vive, but it’s not just that people seem to generally prefer the Vive so muchas, it’s more that tech consumers are just enraged at Oculus.
Let’s explore why there’s a “rift” in the VR Community, and whilst we’re at it, give the Oculus Rift, its games and price point a Review.
Our Oculus Rift Review
So Putting aside the hatred for a moment, ignoring the Youtube comments, forgetting about the controllers, and putting a pause on the accusations of bad business practices because trust me, we’ll get back to those soon enough!
However by taking just a moment to look at the Oculus headset alone, you may find that the Rift is actually rather remarkable.
The Oculus Headset
The combination of the tension retracting mechanism and the velcro straps on its headset, make it effortless to fit the Rift onto your head. The lightweight overall design and high quality materials make it quite comfortable to wear. The IPD adjustment which controls how far away the lenses are from each other, is easy to find and simple to use. Even the on-ear headphones are surprisingly quite good! There’s nothing worse than having to worry about earbuds or headphones falling off, or falling out when you whip your head around in virtual reality. Everything about the headset, even down to the cable breakout feels like quality.
Unfortunately however for Oculus, emerging in VR is key, and an important big step in emerging as the key VR player is getting your platforms users hands into the experience. Without some form of hand presence, even something rudimentary, the rift feels incomplete. Especially because we aren’t examining it in a magic vacuum where other products like the HTC Vive don’t exist.
So what’s the answer?
Content, especially exclusive content could be the answer to this, but honestly I found the games pretty boring. I see no benefit to Lucky’s Tale, a platformer, being in VR. Also as cool as a demo that it was, and to see the progress of Rifts development, the multiplayer space dog-fighter Eve Valkyrie got a little dull after a while. Even The Climb, a beautiful rock climbing simulator from Crytek, was much less engaging than it should have felt thanks to the Xbox controller.
I mean sure, for passive experiences that don’t require controller input like watching movies in a Virtual Reality theater or the “throbbing” market of point-of-view Virtual Reality experiences for “adults”… The Oculus actually wins pretty “Handily”.
The headset is lighter and more comfortable for long-term viewing and the foam face padding collects less… you know… perspiration, to keep it, at least the headset itself, more hygienic.
All of this isn’t to say that Oculus has no solution to hand presence in VR. The Oculus touch controller is fantastic! I’ve used it, and in my opinion it’s even just slightly better than the admittedly, wonderful HTC Vive controllers. So headset is good, the controllers are late but they’re coming and are good. Let’s get back to the community anger I eluded to earlier.
So why all the hate?
It’s partly to do with the first part… of the video title, the “over 30 full games” part. At first this sounds awesome! The lack of full games has been a big problem for VR so far. So to have a whopping 30 of them coming out is a great thing. The problem with that is a significant number of the games are going to be exclusive, or wait…. are they? There’s actually some misinformation floating around here. Oculus doesn’t actually seem to be after full-on exclusives, what they are doing is giving developers straight-up cash for them to release their titles on to the Oculus platform first.
In one case, the most documented case in fact, Oculus didn’t even suggest a timed exclusivity clause. The developers said it would take them 2 – 3 months to release there games on to the Vive and Oculus were cool with that.
Gabe Newell by contrast responded to a fans email stating that, while they do financially support developers by essentially giving them an advance on their Steam sales they never asked for any form of exclusivity, timed or not.
So you can decide to raise your pitchfork or not, you’re entitled to that, but personally until I am given more HARD facts, my pitchfork has been stowed.
So should you buy the Oculus Rift?
As far as the Oculus Rift goes? At this point i’m holding out. The Oculus Touch controllers should bring a more polished experience to the platform, but to be honest, for a Virtual Reality experience to date, I think the Vive is just plain better. Of course in the end it’s down to personal preference, but these are my unbiased thoughts.
The HTC Vive I would recommend. Sure its glorified tech demo game library and high price point are both difficult pills to swallow, but as a VR enthusiast that’s been saving for quite some time? I bit the bullet.
If you’re looking to buy any of the platforms mentioned. I recommend taking a look at both items and their customer reviews. Not only to compare the HTC Vive to the Oculus Rift Price, but their customer reviews also have extremely good and important information to help you make the choice that’s right for you.
Buy Oculus Rift – http://geni.us/OculusRift
Buy HTC Vive – http://geni.us/HTCVive