The day is finally upon us: the very first consumer edition Oculus Rift head-mounted displays (HMD) are now shipping across the globe! But what will the day one experience be like? Whether you’re eagerly awaiting your delivery or simply curious as to what this brave new frontier of entertainment will bring, VRFocus has all the details for you!
After completing the set-up and installation process, the player is given immediate access to the Oculus Rift Dreamdeck. This is essentially a shortened edition of compilation of experiences first used at Oculus Connect in 2014 to showcase the then latest prototype, Crescent Bay. Entirely passive experiences, the player is invited to the very top of a city skyscraper on a dark night, to enjoy the flirtatious murmuring of a potbellied alien and tremble at the sight of a fearsome tyrannosaurus rex as it walks right up to you.
The player can skip through Oculus Rift Dreamdeck if they so choose, but most will likely sit through the entirety of the short series of animations. Once leaving this area the player will be formerly introduced to Oculus Home: the virtual area in which the player can purchase new Rift compatible videogames and applications. There’s only one environment available at present – a modern, spacious take on a secluded Japanese home – and the store/options menus appear as translucent panels hovering at the front of the player’s field-of-vision.
Oculus Home can be accessed in 2D on a traditional monitor via the Oculus desktop app, but it’s unlikely many will do so when first receiving their consumer edition of the Rift. Therefore, VRFocus recommends downloading a videogame or application relatively small in size in order to allow for further virtual reality (VR) experiences as quickly as possible. The Oculus Home application does allow for background downloading, so jump into your first experience while others are being prepared for your return!
Farlands, the previously unannounced videogame developed internally at Oculus Studios, is a relatively lightweight and pleasant place to start. The daily content delivery system and family-friendly design will make for an interesting opening experience, but is unlikely to hold attention for too long. Once this first taste has been delivered, it’s time for something a little more exciting…
EVE: Valkyrie will be available to all who have pre-ordered from day one, and it doesn’t get much more exciting than this. Multiplayer-orientated dogfighting in space. How’s that for a day one release? EVE: Valkyrie is an aggressive and intense experience from the very start, so best be prepared before you begin.
Those looking for something a little more calm in pacing should opt for Chronos, Gunfire Games’ high-profile adventure videogame. Though combat is a feature, it’s logical taxing and exploration that are the key components of Chronos. Gunfire Games have made a very traditional videogame adapted to utilise the unique features of VR, specifically the freedom that having headlook as the camera provides.
But videogames are only one side of the story. At launch, Oculus VR has also created a handful of applications to suit other tastes. Both the Oculus Video and Oculus 360 Photos have made the jump from Gear VR to the high-end VR platform, as well as Jaunt’s application with a selection of in-house produced 360 degree videos. Furthemore, the ‘Concepts’ section of the Oculus Store features some invitation to explore the further possibilities of VR even at this youthful stage – consumer release – including some interesting takes on opening otherwise impossible scenarios to everyday people.
So, what does this all mean? Right now, it’s hard to tell. For early adopters it’s a bountiful supply of videogames and other content to get their hands-on right out of the box. The future of VR? Well, that’s a different story. Oculus VR has been so concerned with videogames as it’s more than likely that entertainment will be the driving force behind hardware adoption. Some would say today is a revolutionary point for the new medium of VR, but in the minds of VRFocus, today is day 0. It’s only the beginning.