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18.42 28 Mar 2016


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Developer kits and prototypes of the virtual-reality head-set Oculus Rift have been floating around since 2012, with the background talk leading it up as the next step in home-entertainment.

The Rift wants to immerse you in movies, TV shows and games in a way that no other entertainment system can, and now finally the product is being shipped to those who forked out the $599 (€535) price-tag, which doesn't include taxes or delivery charges.

Now that the product is finally available to consumers, tech mags have been releasing their first impressions of it, and they are mostly positive, in some cases out-and-out glowing.

From The Verge: "The high cost of buying and running high-end VR headsets makes them inaccessible to many people, and the Rift in particular is relentlessly focused on gaming. Within these limitations, though, the Rift makes a good case for seated VR, and it lays a solid foundation for what’s to come. The headset you can buy today is not Oculus’ most ambitious vision for virtual reality — but it’s a vision that Oculus has successfully delivered on."

From Wired: "The long-promised virtual reality headset is finally here, in a remarkably well-made and accessible device. Built-in 3-D audio makes the VR experiences that much more riveting. Positional tracking adds a layer of reality smartphone-powered headsets can't match. Once you download the installer, setup is easy. Appropriately padded and well balanced, it's comfortable to wear for long sessions. Many of the coolest-looking games aren't here yet. You'll just have to wait. Same with the controllers. Also, since it requires a pricey VR-ready PC, you're likely laying out more than the $600 just for the headset. All of these things are typical of early-adopter hardware, and none of them really matter if you consider this an investment for the future."

From TechRadar: "When I think of virtual reality, I think of immersive experiences that transport me to places, real or make-believe, I would otherwise never see. VR is the stuff of sci-fi: mesmerizing, otherworldly, and maybe just a little unsettling. It's going from Point A to who knows where or when, without leaving wherever your mortal shell is in the here and now. Oculus Rift has achieved this effect, and it's done so in what feels like the blink of an eye."

From Gizmodo: "What Oculus has accomplished is remarkable. There’s plenty that even the completely uninitiated user can enjoy. More importantly, the Rift is truly immersive in most cases. The image quality is mostly excellent, and the head-tracking is nearly flawless. Indeed, perhaps what’s most significant is that there are moments when I can say unreservedly and without caveats that I am enjoying the Rift right in the moment—not as a device indicative of some desirable future, but as a device to own right now. I still can’t afford the future of virtual reality, but for the first time, I actually want to."

They weren't all overly positive, as this review from The Wall Street Journal states: "Oculus Rift is the 2016 product you hope your neighbor buys. You’ll definitely want to try it, but there’s little reason to own one unless you’re a serious gamer. I’m not talking about Candy Crush addicts, or even most of us with a PlayStation at home. Oculus Rift only works with high-end gaming PCs—the recommended Asus model I tested costs $1,449 and requires not one but two power plugs. Neither laptops nor any Macs will do."


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