Facebook’s Oculus Rift is arguably one of the most exciting inventions within the gaming industry since the advent of the home console in the late 1990s. Nintendo attempted (and failed) to introduce virtual reality in 1995 with the creation of Virtual Boy, but now for the first time ever, players will be totally immersed and integrated into their favourite games and have the power to interact and manipulate their game environment on a whole new level.
Furthermore, the advantage that the Oculus Rift has over, say, virtual reality gaming, is that it could be widely available as early as next January.
Gaming has actually already come to Oculus Rift, with the company releasing development kits to keen game architects, although big name games, such as Actvision’s Call of Duty, are unlikely to come to this particular platform any time soon. However, that’s not to say that the future of the Oculus Rift is a bleak one. Alien Isolation (developed by Sega) already has partial Oculus Rift support, as does Dying Light, (developed by Techland) a new survival zombie game released early this year. Imagining an alien or zombie jumping right out in front of you, its easier to see how Oculus Rift could hold the future of gaming. Scary stuff, but the potential is limitless.
Oculus isn’t just limited to survival horror games either. Nate Mitchell, the vice-president of Oculus Rift, has stated that it may be a while before proper first person shooters (FPS) will be ported straight from console to the Oculus. The issue is that the technology isn’t quite there yet. With the Oculus, the frame rate has to be that much higher to accommodate for the fact the player is looking around all the time at different environments.
In an FPS, motion and acceleration is changing constantly, making rendering problematic. However, there is a silver lining. Games which involve less motion, including franchises such as EA’s FIFA, have a much better chance of developing well under Oculus Rift. Even Microsoft is getting involved, as it was stated in E3 2015 that Windows 10 is going to develop, and be compatible, with Oculus Rift. It was even said that Xbox One games will be able to port straight to Oculus Rift, although it won’t be full 3D support, rather those games will be displayed on flat surface, and the movement will be within that medium.
However, just because big name FPSs aren’t going to be available on the Oculus, it doesn’t mean no one has tried. One Australian FPS, developed by Teddy Lipowitz, Hydra Cover Shooter throws the player into a firefight and, along with some hand held controllers and motion sensors, is so realistic that players actually attempted to lean on virtual surfaces! In fact, a new FPS called Damaged Core, releasing in 2016, will offer players full 360 degree views as they blast robot minions and hack enemy defences.
Oculus Rift is about as cutting edge as gaming gets. At the moment, the technology still needs nurturing, and while the Oculus isn’t quite ready yet to propel people straight onto the battlefield, it won’t be long before this virtual reality, becomes actual reality!