Oculus Rift virtual reality console creators, Oculus VR, has recently shipped their game system to customers who paid $300 for a pre-release development kit. Players are sharing their experiences and reviews across the web. The most popular of these seem to be a genre of full-immersion horror titles, but be warned; Oculus VR does not ship clean pants with their product.
Announcing a recent $75 million infusion of capital in their second round of funding—Oculus was a success on the funding platform Kickstarter when it raised its initial $2.4 million—which the developers believe will help the company finalize its revolutionary product. Brendan Iribe, Oculus VR Chief Executive Officer, said the recent funding will expand its platform. He hopes to be ready for consumers soon, though he was unwilling to commit to a hard date. Oculus has already turned some heads, literally.
Players who wear the Oculus total immersion head gear can pan their view of their gaming environment by looking around as they would in real life. The freedom of motion along with the fact that the lenses, which come in different sets for people with different vision needs, provide a realistic 3D experience. Iribe said the additional funding was necessary after the development team realized how much they had improved upon their original plans for the VR platform. “We had our vision for where virtual reality would go one day, and 16 months after starting, we’ve exceeded our own expectations,” said Iribe. “We’ve really cracked the nut on virtual reality, and we’re really going to be making noise in the next couple of months.”
Company dynamics aside, Oculus VR’s development kit release has received praise from its testers, especially those users who have tested the systems “immersion” believability in horror games. Users are posting videos sharing their first time forays into the digital worlds of new titles such as Ocean Rift, Alone, Slender the Arrival and Dread Halls, and the general consensus seems to be terror.
[Warning***Due to strong language the link to this video will be posted at the bottom of this article. It should be considered for mature audiences] In a lighter review, YouTube user PewDiePie shares his first viewing of Ocean Rift. Not specifically marketed as a horror title, he says it’s advertised as “relaxing,” and begins with the user walking on the ocean floor. As mundane as that may sound, especially in comparison to more technically advanced modern titles for the powerhouse next generation consoles, the freedom of view gives him an interesting environmental experience. Readers may enjoy the same scenery as this reviewer at or about the 2:00 mark.
[Warning***Due to strong language the link to this video will be posted at the bottom of this article. It should be considered for mature audiences] Alone, on the other hand, is openly marketed as “the experience of being home alone at night all by yourself, while playing a horror game on your television,” by the games Co-Creator Brian Cohen. “This may not sound like much of a game on its own, what makes it really special is when you realize you may not be alone.” Cohen’s interview from the Shack News website has the developer’s full description as well as a demo of a new user and some game play.The action ensues just after 6:00 into the game-play review.
If this is what the Oculus Rift is showcasing as full immersion horror, your night-time gaming session may need to include an additional pair of clean pants.
YouTube reviewer CaptainSparklez does a first-look live and on camera. His responses are frantic. Sparklez spends a lot of time looking down at the ground and running blind to avoid having to look at what he believes to be the Slender Man. The Captain comments particularly on the smoothness of the viewing while wearing the Rift VR.
[Warning***Due to strong language the link to this video will be posted at the bottom of this article. It should be considered for mature audiences]
Markiplier, the same reviewer of Alone, takes on another title in the Oculus horror selection titled Dreadhalls. Of interest is the environmental use of sound. Markiplier recommends getting high quality headphones to fully appreciate what he is experiencing in this Youtube video review.
Apologetically, he says “I am actually crying,” following an engagement with some sort of unseen entity.
Viewers remain unaware of the villain as the reviewer spends his time running in the opposite direction and screaming profanities as well as the occasional, “oooh! Oh! Ooooh!”
Competition in the console wars is heating up. The front runners on the battle lines have clearly been Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. Oculus VR has stated from their inception that they intended to “change everything” and with the release of their development kit, the reviews have been pouring in. The gaming community may be warming up to the idea of a third contender, and this small sampling of user reviews on YouTube alone might just be the beginning of the grassroots momentum Oculus VR has been looking for.
The Oculus VR website claims that “The Oculus Rift is a next-generation virtual reality headset designed for immersive gaming,” and invites visitors to,”be part of history by getting your own Oculus Rift development kit.” Now that the response to their product has been favorable, they’re hoping that they will convince the world that they are the real next generation of gaming. Full immersion horror is going to the next level with precise ambient sounds and the freedom to fear the dark in 360 degrees of fright. If you are considering purchasing an Oculus Rift VR development kit so that you can sample these horror titles for yourself, you may want to consider a change of clothes; because clean pants are not included. No more 2D. The future is Oculus Rift.
By Matt Darjany