New Worlds to Explore With the Oculus Rift

But, is it worth the money and the motion sickness?



San Jose Mercury News reporter Troy Wolverton uses an Oculus Rift virtual reality system as founding director Jeremy Bailenson, left, and researcher Elise Ogle look on at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab in Palo Alto, Calif., on June 24, 2015. Consumers will have their pick of four high-profile virtual systems from major electronics companies, including Facebook’s Oculus Rift. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

Oculus (Promo Video)

Karl Shao, Contributor

First there was Atari, then Nintendo 64, and now the most popular gaming consoles are the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox one. Every time a new gaming console is built, the graphics become more detailed and the game controls become smoother with less lag time. But soon, a new challenger, the Oculus Rift, will enter the competitive gaming market.

So what is the Oculus Rift? It’s the next generation of gaming, a virtual reality headset device that you strap around your head. When you turn it on, you will see 3D images, and you will see a virtual world right before your eyes. You won’t have any distractions from the real world as you immerse yourself in a world of virtual reality. The Oculus Rift will have 3D sounding, so you will hear and feel like you are in a different realm every time.

You won’t have any distractions from the real world as you immerse yourself in a world of virtual reality.”

— Karl Shao

The virtual reality device doesn’t operate on its own. It requires a connection to a computer that acts as your main processor. All you need is a PC that has a HDMI and USB port. Before you can play any games you will need to download the Oculus Rift application so you can download games from their store. Once you finish downloading your game, you can grab your Xbox controller and keyboard, or the Oculus Touch controller, and start playing the different games that it offers, such as Eve Valkyrie, an intergalactic dogfighting game.

When you turn your head or move your head around, you can see your world move around too. Oculus Rift uses a sensory stand that tracks your head movement so it can give you the best experience possible. It’s like the Wii sensor that tracks your remote movements. But, in this case, if you turn your head, the sensor will make sure that the world you’re seeing is also turning. The synchronized movements will make you feel like you are there. Now you can move your head around and explore the many possible worlds in virtual reality.

The number of games is limited since the technology is new. However, Microsoft announced that it will partner up with Oculus Rift so that you can play Xbox one games while you hook the head set to a computer with the Windows 10 operating system. As the technology develops and gaming companies start to see the potential of virtual reality headsets, the number and variety of games will increase. Currently, there are 30 full titles available to play and lots of fan made games that you can try.

Initial reviews for the Oculus Rift are impressed with the technology, but some users, including a reviewer at report nausea and dizziness from what’s know as “virtual reality sickness,” a kind of motion sickness that can be hard to overcome. Some users say they know how to deal with it, and others report they had to “remove the rift and lie down” after playing for only a short time. You are able to adjust your experience from comfortable up to intense, so hopefully you can find your own comfort level and not get sick while experiencing Oculus Rift.

So, how much does it cost? Well, we saw a package available for $599.00 at the Oculus Shop, but you will have to make sure your Windows PC is “Rift Ready.” If not, you’ll have some components to buy first. You might want to try it first to see how you “feel” after playing for a while before shelling out the money.