Losing faith in humanity with latest news? Try Oculus, try VR!



15 Nov 2016

Today feels like Christmas. We finally got our hands on our much-awaited Oculus Rift. Here’s our first review of it.
 
First, let's start briefly with our desktop (don't dare trying to run the rift with a laptop!) specifications we are using for this test:

  • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6800K
  • Memory: 32GB Quad Channel DDR4 2133MHz (8GB x 4)
  • Video: NVDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1080 with 8GB GDDR5X

The Setup 

The Oculus Rift looks prodigious and its packaging is nothing that Apple would be jealous of. Setting it up is much easier than expected and we doubt anyone will have any problem doing so. The process took us about 30' and that's great! Honestly, anyone should be able to do it but it's important you run a compatibility before you buy your Oculus as only a very few computers will run it and even fewer will do it smoothly.

Video, Gaming, 360 & virtual desktop

The VR journey starts in a stunning house where you can move around and it blew us away from the start,with 1080x1200 resolution images in each lens. You can access an internal app store where you can purchase (some are free) videos, games and 360 experiences. As space enthusiasts, we started watching (can you still call it watching if you play an active role?) Apollo11. We knew our tech specs was meant to make our experience flawless but still this was beyond our imagination. It felt like watching an IMAX movie with the abilities to move your head 360 at any given time. We then moved to a parachuting jump. Still great but it already came clear why some content was free and some others weren’t. Indeed, the resolution is nowhere near what we just experienced with Apollo11. Next, we tried several 360 experiences like the ones Facebook now offers with panoramic shots. It’s nice but a bit boring as it’s totally static.

It’s now time for gaming and again we can tell you that even though the system is new there are already big gaps between the several games in terms of graphics. Some already run on full 4k images while others look like PS2 games. Prices vary accordingly from a few CHF to about 60CHF for the most expensive one. Our favourite so far is Edge of Nowhere which is a third person game from Insomniac games where you play Victor Howard, a member of a lost expedition in Antarctica. The environments are gorgeous and it feels as if you are the main character. We think it is clearly worth the price (and the 10gb of required space!) as there aren’t many games available anyway.

Surprisingly we have had the headset on for almost 2 hours and haven't felt any discomfort, which was our biggest fear. It was now time to exit the Oculus system and test the Oculus outside of its boundaries with Steam. To do so don’t forget to authorise third parties’ usage on your device settings. Steam offers many VR ready experience and one of the coolest ones is Virtual Desktop which allows you to browse the web in a VR kind of way. This allows you to directly browse Facebook, YouTube or any other content you might want! 

Conclusion

Oculus Rift (and VR in general) is the next big thing but it comes at a cost. Furthermore, the content is still limited at the moment and therefore if you are not willing to configure a system above the minimum requirement (NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater), we do not believe it is worth investing right now as the price will decrease quickly and will allow you to upgrade your system and get an overall experience. It’s an amazing gadget to have but it’s not a necessity as of today. We also believe that the release of the Oculus touch will greatly improve the overall experience once released on December 6th.  At our end, we have started working on creating high quality 360 videos and virtual tours. We will keep  exploring and testing new content and see how InSwiGo shall be able to contribute to this uprising technology!