Oculus – Review

Oculus_VR_Logo

The day has arrived, we final have VR at home. But does it live up to the expectation? Does it deliver on the promise? At this point both Mike and Shane have their units (albeit a lot later than they should have got them) and will share their thoughts on their experiences so far.

Oculus Vs HTC Vive – Why did you go with Oculus?

Shane: I chose the Oculus for a few reasons. Oculus has been on my radar a lot longer than the Vive and every report I have read, every video I have watched on the Oculus has always been extremely positive. When Oculus was bought out by Facebook, peoples reactions seemed to be about how it was such a bad thing. But for me, it allowed for there to be more support for the rift. This also had an influence on me, as there seemed to be a lot of backing for new games being developed for it as well.

Finally the main reason I bought the Rift was because in GamesCon 2015, I got the opportunity to test the Oculus Rift. I was extremely impressed by it. In fact it was one of the most impressive things I had seen in gaming. So I eagerly awaited the pre-order and got my pre-order in as fast as I could. I think I managed to order by 16:09 (the time becomes important later on in this story) and was delighted to see that my shipping date was March.

Mike: The main reason for me was that my impression was that the Vive required a commitment of setting up a larger space, and with 2 kids running around this made it logistically more difficult. Coupled with the Oculus pre-orders going up first, with a release/ship date (more on this later!) or March, it was the quickest route to get a consumer version of VR.

Believe the hype as far as how immersive the experience is. Couple it with how comfy the headset is, on paper at least the Oculus wins out.  Would I have rather gotten the Vive? Maybe. (again! more on this later!)

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Shipping Issues – But you still got it in March right?

Shane: March came and went with very little communications from Oculus. I should have had my Oculus by the first week of April but there was no update to my shipping page. I think I sent more emails to Oculus Support that week than I had sent any emails for the first 3 months combined. To say they were not helpful in any way is the most generous way of writing it that I can. There was an awful lack of information from them and from Oculus in general. No one really knew what was going on. Then, on April 12th, it was announced that new shipping dates were being sent to people. I got my email and it was to be delivered in the middle of May. As this happened I instantly pre-ordered a HTC Vive. I was not happy at all with this development.

The problem with something so new is there is always a problem with it. These days, you would think that a company would make a production promise and stick to it. But with the original ship date in March and the expected ship date in May, this was clearly not happening. Needless to say it left a bitter taste in my mouth when talking about the Oculus.

As it happens mine was actually shipped and delivered by April 25th. I don’t know whether it was because I live in Ireland, or the numerous messages sent to the “lovely” service bots that Oculus has, but it was a nice surprise to get it early (and even nicer to say to Mike “hey, get your Oculus yet!?”). I have cancelled my Vive…………..for now.

 

Mike: I managed to pre-order one a full 2+ minutes ahead of Shane. I didn’t get mine till the 9th.. of MAY.  I came close several times to just cancelling the Ocu-order and went as far as ordered a Vive (with an expected delivery date of July 1) in case Oculus screwed up the order even further. The pre-order process was simple.

  1.  go to the website.
  2.  mash f5 (refresh!) till you got to the actual order page.
  3. plop in your information.
  4.  get a confirmation email about your transaction.

The only issue—I jest.. there were a ton more issues!– ok so the issue was that the seemingly simple path from A to B had a few detours, which the consumers were not made aware of till they were already on a longer more annoying road.

Lets talk about a few!

  1. After the initial confirmation email saying that units start shipping on March 28, a 2nd email went out saying that you can expect a shipping date email within 1-3 weeks. I got the said email- Shane did not. But this did not matter.
  2. March 28 came and no word from Oculus. Palmer Lucky few to Alaska to hand deliver the first pre-order personally. Good for the dude that got his. Bad for us who didn’t get informed that due to a component issue orders were going to be delayed.
  3. Email support was smug. Sarcastic at best and not helpful at all. There was barely an apology from the company and Reddit, twitter etc blew up. Palmer, I feel, failed the same people that put their money and faith in the product. He made him millions and didn’t have to give a crap and it showed.
  4. An email comes out April 1st saying that new delivery dates will be sent out on April 12.  The apology eventually came in the email saying they are removing all shipping charges. At this point people have figured out how to decipher your exact order time- which again didn’t help much because allotments per region were not sufficient to handle the actual demand. Shane for example who is a 9 minute in order, got his WEEKS before me.
  5. The biggest jab I think is that as pre-orders for computer + oculus bundles started showing up, people who ordered via amazon, microsoft or bestbuy were were getting their Oculus-es (oculi? oculuxen?) BEFORE the pre-order people. The worst part of this is that the company was completely unapologetic about it, but instead put out a statement saying, if you order via a reseller you can STILL keep your place in line and get the valkyrie preorder bonus as long as you cancel your main pre-order once you get your STORE BOUGHT unit. I found it glib for Palmer to say that this was a GOOD thing.
  6. In the end, my plan was to cancel if i did not get a shipping confirmation by the 5th of May. I would have cancelled earlier but Shane’s (insufferable!)  patience has alas rubbed off on me so I gave em some wiggle room.

I have canceled my vive pre-order and have the CV1 in hand.

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So was it worth it?

Shane: The first time you put on the headset and jump into a demo….there are very few words I could use to describe it. The feeling of sitting in your room one moment, then on a boat in the Far East the next is surreal. The moment LeBron James and Kyrie Iving somehow manage to sidestep you on the court, looking face to face with Diplodocus and wondering whether the histories are true and he really is a herbivore.

The whole experience is amazing. The best description I can possible think for the Oculus Rift is “A Glimpse Into the Future”. And there in lies the problem for the early adopters. I brought mine into work (I’m teacher, secondary level which is Middle/High school age) and I let both students and teachers use it. Brave I know, but this is something for everyone to experience. The look on wonder from everyone was present. Not one person said “I don’t think it will catch on” or “It doesn’t impress me”. Every single person was dumbfounded. I even had one teacher state “I never got into gaming, it never really hooked me. I could, however, see myself getting hooked onto games with this (The Rift)”

So why have I called it a Glimpse, you might ask. For me we are still about two or three generations off it being “there”. First thing that has to change is the wires. The immersion of the Rift means you forget they are there which is no mean feat, but that is most of the danger. You actually forget they are there so when you go to move you end up kicking them or tripping on them. I would imagine that with CV2 they will be gone or at the latest CV3.

Problem 2 for me is the screens. They are amazing, don’t get me wrong, but because they are so close to you eyes you see each OLED that is there. It is something that becomes more evident in some games but is always present anyway. With this the problem with glasses, also arises. I wear glasses and you can keep them on with the Rift but when I wear my contacts it is a LOT more comfortable and manageable without them. I would have thought that an easy solution would have been to ship the Oculus with different lens and make it easy to swap them in and out, but it seems not.

And lastly, the big problem I am getting more and more is, content. It just isn’t there. I feel like there is no big hook! There is no, “Here is a game that you will love and play for hours!”. The closest I have gotten is “The Climb”, which is an amazingly beautiful game! I loved every minute of it, but I have played more time in other games on a monitor since getting the rift than I have spent time on the rift.

We are getting closer and closer to having amazing content and amazing experiences! The Rift is amazing, but I just don’t think they have the content I was expecting at launch. I am hoping for more out of the PSVR launch. I hope Sony have done it right and have a few AAA releases as well as a plethora of other experiences.

Mike: I’ve tried demos on the DK2 and so my experience on the CV1 was pretty similar. So as a test, I let other people test the device. I first let my mom-in-law try it. I had her go through the VR Experience demo that Shane mentioned. She has never done VR before and to almost feel her wonder at the experience was proof that the tech behind it does a convincing enough job. I had my my wife and daughter go through the Henry, and they were impressed as well.

Now there are some glaring issues that people will mention when using the device and Shane has already mentioned them but the biggest one for me is the lack of more content. Content will make or break the future of the device. I feel that the Vive currently offers more content that delivers on the promise of truly view changing experiences. The Steam integration is also a huge factor because I do, like many PC gamers have a decent Steam game library.

In the end I think to early adaptors and tech enthusiasts, the Rift as a device is a good start- although Oculus as a company still leaves a sour taste in my mouth in the way they handled the launch.

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In Short: Oculus Rift

Shane:

  • Comfort: 82
  • Ease of Use: 84
  • Content: 53
  • Quality:87

 

 

Mike:

  • Comfort: 80
  • Ease of Use: 80
  • Content: 50
  • Quality: 85

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