The Oculus Rift has been available in different beta versions for the past three years. The commercial version, branded by Facebook, was supposed to be a groundbreaking product that changes virtual reality forever. Unfortunately, the reviews don’t match the hype.
The New York Times says the Oculus Rift is a clunky portal to a promising virtual reality.
“I can report that while the Rift is a well-built hardware system brimming with potential, the first wave of apps and games available for it narrows the device’s likely users to hard-core gamers. It is also rougher to set up and get accustomed to than products like smartphones and tablets.”
Geoffrey A. Fowler from The Wall Street Journal believes that the Oculus Rift just isn’t ready for the mainstream.
“The Rift demonstrates flashes of a brilliant future where we can move freely through countless virtual worlds. But even after I fixed the sensor glitch, a week with the Rift showed me it still needs to dig itself out of some deep holes,” Fowler believes.
The review adds that the Oculus Rift is the type of product you want to try, but you don’t really want to own — that is, unless you are a serious gamer. If you are a serious gamer, both a compatible PC and the Rift together cost around $1500.
These are just two of the negative reviews that have appeared today, and those who were hoping that VR would finally make it into the mainstream aren’t happy. How could Oculus have screwed up so badly?
Judging from the reaction to Samsung’s Gear VR, which was made by Oculus, virtual reality fans were hoping Samsung’s mobile virtual reality system was leading to something. After all, most people who have tried on the Gear VR agree that it is really cool, even if it has its faults. Many users have complained about fogging, low resolution images, etc. You would have thought that Oculus could have fixed these issues in delivering the first commercial version of the Rift.
The first major virtual reality set needed to be excellent. It needed to be affordable. It also needed to offer outstanding content. The Oculus Rift does none of these things. Not only is this bad for Oculus, but it’s also bad for future virtual reality headsets such as the HTC Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR. Consumers just won’t trust these headsets.
In the worst case scenario, virtual reality will go the same way as 3D television, which excited some at first, but ultimately failed because it provided a limited experience. In the best case scenario, people may not like the current virtual reality experience that the Oculus Rift offers, but they see the potential. Oculus learns from its mistakes and releases the Oculus Rift 2 in 2017, which not only has a 4K screen, but doesn’t require a huge desktop system. It would be even better if the Oculus Rift 2 was wireless.
Perhaps the mixed reviews for the Oculus Rift won’t mean much and it will sell like hot cakes. However, as things are standing now, the overall success of the Oculus Rift is looking grim. This may or may not ruin the future of virtual reality.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]