Image via oculus.com
Yesterday marked the official point in time that the world’s first high-end retail virtual reality (VR) headset became available in our physical reality. Facebook’s (FB - Analyst Report) Oculus Rift is finally being released for the masses to consume.
The Rift has been widely anticipated for years now, and this release is a remarkable moment in tech history, in that people all over the world will soon experience fully-immersive VR from the comfort of their own homes. I have been personally excited about the release of this device dating back to last year.
(For more information on the Oculus Rift, please read, “Facebook’s Oculus Rift Premiers, The Next Big Thing in Virtual Reality?” and “Oculus Rift vs. StarVR: The Beginning of the VR Wars” to familiarize yourself on the device in case you are not.)
Oculus sent just a limited number of units to critics, focusing its efforts instead on fulfilling pre-orders. If you are interesting in getting the device, You can order a Rift on Oculus.com or purchase an Oculus Ready PC and Rift bundle from Amazon (AMZN - Analyst Report), BestBuy (BBY - Analyst Report), and the Microsoft Store (MSFT - Analyst Report).
But beforehand, it would make sense for you to read the reviews on the VR headset. With that in might, what are the critics saying about the Oculus Rift?
The Critical Reviews
The reviews that are currently available are somewhat polarizing, in that there is a distinct separation between the tech community and the general public.
Wired is completely on board with the Rift, giving the device a glowing 9/10 rating. “This is an astonishingly well-made device,” the article reads. “It delivers rock-solid, comfortable VR, and it does so easily. You’ll be able to put this thing on anyone and show them the magic.”
However, Wired does warn potential purchasers that the Oculus Rift is still missing a few key games and apps, and that buying the device should be treated as an investment for the future. “But you’ll have to make your peace with the idea that your $600—or realistically, $1,500 or more, if you need a PC to go with it—is an investment,” the review states.
When detailing that Netflix (NFLX - Analyst Report) and Hulu apps are not available yet, as well as a VR web browser, the articles concludes, “But here’s the thing: They’ll all be here. It’s just a matter of when you want to come in.”
Image via oculus.com
Engadget, also, had kind things to say about Rift, while also echoing the general criticisms about price, the need for an expensive, high-end gaming PC, and the potential for motion sickness for the those who just can’t stomach those sorts of fun activities.
“After spending a week with the Oculus Rift, I have no doubt that its approach to virtual reality is indeed the real deal,” the article reads. “It’s well built and easy to set up, and there are already a few games and apps that’ll make VR believers out of the most ardent naysayer.”
The article does advise individuals to potentially wait for the price to drop before actually purchasing the device.
Those are two tech-based websites who love the device; the other end of the spectrum shares a different opinion. The Wall Street Journal bluntly declared that the Rift “isn’t ready for the mainstream” in its headline.
The reviews describes the Rift as “awkward” and “isolating,” outlining issues with setting the system up, arguing the Rift’s current gaming catalog is insufficient for most consumers.
“Oculus Rift is the 2016 product you hope your neighbor buys,” the article reads. “You’ll definitely want to try it, but there’s little reason to own one unless you’re a serious gamer.” The WSJ also believes that if individuals purchase the VR headset now, they will need to spend even more money on the probable upgrades, such as more powerful computers.
Image via oculus.com
The New York Times review essentially echoes the sentiments shared by the WSJ. The article believes the Rift is “brimming with potential,” but is disappointed with the initial software catalog, as well as the design being difficult to adjust.
“Oculus will eventually need a larger, more diverse set of content to transcend its initial audience of gamer geeks,” writes Brian Chen. “The Rift has other consequences for the mind and body. I felt mentally drained after 20-minute sessions. My eyes felt strained after half an hour, and over a week I developed a nervous eye twitch.”
Is the Oculus Worth It?
The technical aspects of the Oculus Rift appear to be sound, in that the graphics and the virtual reality experience is what individuals who have been clamoring for a legitimate personal VR headset. If you or a loved one you know is a “gamer” or enjoys being up-to-date on the latest gadgets, the Oculus Rift appears to worth the price.
However, the cost of the device is a valid concern, especially for those who do not have a computer to utilize the headset to its fullest potential. Whether or not the Oculus Rift becomes a financial success or the hottest tech device to revolutionize its respective industry like Apple’s (AAPL - Analyst Report) iPhone did all those years ago, the device established the precedent that all future high-quality virtual reality headsets must follow or improve upon.
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