Oculus is, of course, not new by any stretch. But while some of my Mobile Nations colleagues have had the pleasure, it's taken until this past week in Taipei to have my own first experience. And it completely changed what I thought of it.
For the better.
So here's the thing. I've always thought of VR in general as a bit gimmicky, a bit flash, a bit, well, pointless. While Microsoft has marketed the usability in a real world setting of its augmented reality HoloLens project, I've never seen the appeal of VR products like Oculus.
Thanks to NVIDIA who were using the latest Oculus development kits in part to show off the power of its new GTX 980 Ti graphics card, I'm pleased to say I've changed my outlook on it. Personally, I still see HoloLens as the way forward in a 'real-world' setting. But I'd love to get into gaming with Oculus.
The demo we saw was some kind of futuristic setting filled with bullets, explosions, cars flying through the air and giant robotic monsters. The detail and level of immersion genuinely shocked me, but it also highlights how important the hardware driving it is.
Compared to the Oculus supported Samsung Gear VR, for example, a much more affordable consumer headset, or Google Cardboard, the difference is night and day. With VR you need pixels, you need pure horsepower to make the experience worth a damn.
So, I'm not going to wax lyrical on it, but I am left very impressed where I always assumed I wouldn't be. Instead I'm left pondering where the technology will go for gamers. A totally immersive battlefield where you're actually inside the action? Perhaps a future version of FIFA where you're actually on the pitch?
We're soon going to find out HoloLens' initial gaming plans, since Microsoft has said that it's on agenda for the Xbox event at E3 (and we'll be there covering it live,) but it is a very different device to Oculus. I couldn't see myself ever using a VR headset in any kind of productivity setting, but if the gaming scene takes it by the horns and goes with it, I think we're in for a very exciting future.