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The Oculus Rift Still Isn't Selling, In a Worrying Sign For VR (technologyreview.com) 413

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: Despite Mark Zuckerberg's early enthusiasm for virtual reality, the technology has stubbornly remained a hard sell for Facebook. Now, in yet another sign that VR is failing to capture the imagination of the public, the company has just cut the price of its Oculus Rift hardware for the second time this year. For the next six weeks, the Oculus Rift headset and its matching controllers will cost just $399. That's $400 less than when it first hit the market, and $200 less than when its price was first slashed in March. It means that the Rift now costs less than the package offered by its cheapest rival, Sony, whose PlayStation VR currently totals $460 including headset and controllers. Even so, it's not clear that it will be enough to lure people into buying a Rift. Jason Rubin, vice president for content at Oculus, tells Reuters that the reduction isn't a sign of weak product sales, but rather a decision to give the headset more mass market appeal now that more games are available.

The Oculus Rift Still Isn't Selling, In a Worrying Sign For VR

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  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:03PM (#54781499)
    It's like 3D TV... an expensive and largely useless toy that really only irrationally exuberant developers and people with more money than common sense will buy.
    • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:14PM (#54781589) Journal
      Even the current moviehouse 3D technology isn't all that great if you ask me. The last 3D movie I saw was Avatar, and my reaction to it was "..gee, that's kinda interesting" but nothing more enthusiastic than that; I'm not willing to pay the extra couple bucks to see a movie in 3D. I work somewhere where 3D TV was part of our graphics card driver validation process, and that was even worse: It was like cardboard cutouts being moved on top of or behind each other.
      • Yes. And despite a few *seconds* of immersive 3D action in Avatar, most of it was what you get from a Viewmaster. It's not 1938 any more. We expect better.

      • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:33PM (#54781719)

        On the other hand, Universal Studios has nearly perfected the art of combining a moving car with large, 3D halls to create very fun rides. It's very interesting to ride the various attractions of varying ages - it basically lets you see the progress over the last 20 or so years.

        And several other companies have figured out how to give a pretty-good "4D" ride in a smaller, cheaper venue. Those theaters with the interactive seats and 3D screens have gotten much better over the last few years, and computers have gotten good enough to make them individually interactive. I just played a game at Niagara Falls (Canadian side) where my family and a perhaps 30 other people all stuffed into a theater to shoot zombies. The theater kept track of all our scores, took pictures of us while playing, and then reported the winner and all the other scores complete with pictures. The next step would be for the individual zombies to interact directly with the people shooting at them, but it was pretty fun as is. Anyway, based on all of the brand new 3D rides I've been seeing, I don't think it is going anywhere. It can give people a cheap thrill with much less investment and upkeep than a crappy fairground thrill ride that would require more space.

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          I tried the Samsung VR Gear. Those virtual fairground rides were quite detailed, as well as the Virtual Shark Cage and swimming with deep sea critters.. 360 videos were really good when they first started; tornado chasers, exploring a real volcanic crater, the surface of Pluto, a tour of the Solar System, seeing a full size Space shuttle. They're the sort of things you would visit an IMax theater to do. Only problem is that they sometimes get the front/back cameras mixed up, so you start watching the torna

      • The only movie where 3D made sense was Gravity.

        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
          Which is kind of ironic since the physics in that movie made no sense at all.
        • The only 3D movie where I enjoyed the effects was A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and that's only because they used 3D for the cheap gags.
      • by Subm ( 79417 )

        > The last 3D movie I saw was Avatar, and my reaction to it was "..gee, that's kinda interesting"

        It could have been worse. You could have heard the dialogue.

        • +1 insightful. Fwiw though I did think it was a visual artistic treat. I was glad that I saw it in 3D. This is the only movie I can say so.

          So, I haven't seen one since. My biggest bitch was the drop in light intensity with the goggles. Has that been fixed, I wonder?

      • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:57PM (#54782257) Journal

        Even the current moviehouse 3D technology isn't all that great if you ask me.

        Also like cinema 3D the Occulus Rift does not work well with glasses (it's possible but a major pain to put it on and take it off). That's about 42% of men and over half of women so you have almost halved your potential market before you even start.

        • Not to mention that at this point most of the potential market are still firmly computer geeks, who are probably far more likely than average to need glasses.

          Plus they're up against both the more comfortable and polished Playstation VR on the cheap end, and the far more versatile room scale HTC Vive on the high end.

          Sadly, given that Luckey and the Rift were the ones to really start the ball rolling again, they just don't seem to be all that compelling an offering in an emerging market.

          And that's even before

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        For my old compound eyes, I can't see 3D even with Avatar in Arclight Cinema's Dome in HollyWEIRD. :(

      • by Megane ( 129182 )

        I work somewhere where 3D TV was part of our graphics card driver validation process, and that was even worse: It was like cardboard cutouts being moved on top of or behind each other.

        That's because of the "cheap way" to do 3D: layer a bunch of 2D images in 3D space, tilted at slightly different angles. Full dual-camera filming and full 3D computer rendering (and both when both are used) should not have this problem. But really 3D is an answer in search of a question. It's amusing every now and then as a novelty, but nobody cares enough to go out of their way for it. And there are a not insignificant percentage of people for whom the effect doesn't even work properly.

        I don't even need s

    • by yuriklastalov ( 4536597 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .volatsalkiruy.> on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:14PM (#54781593)

      People still don't want to pay $400 for a gimmicky motion sickness simulator? But how else are they going to consume all these rehashed "VR Experiences" we been churning out?

      Just hearing the word "experience" in an entertainment context makes me gag. The boundless expanse of marketing drivel packed into that one god damn word is appalling.
        On the other hand, once you hear anyone talking about the "$PRODUCT Experience" you know they're full of shit.

      • They pretty much solved the motion sickness thing. For example, I was just playing robot recall, and you kinda pick a spot to move to, and then like teleport there. Not entirely elegant, but solves the issue. Plus, the rift is so smooth and has very good head tracking.
      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re "People still don't want to pay $400 for a gimmicky motion sickness simulator"
        Then get tracked and used on the open market while feeling sick?
      • by youngone ( 975102 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:17PM (#54781991)

        People still don't want to pay $400 for a gimmicky motion sickness simulator?...

        It's worse where I live. It looks like the Oculus costs something like $900 of my local money, plus an import duty, so something like $1200 I would think.
        What I have done is spent $18 on a Google Cardboard type VR box I can put my phone in. It is actually made out of a sort of padded material that is comfortable to wear, and better quality than an actual cardboard box, but based on that design.
        The reason for only spending that much money is that I have no real idea what VR is good for, but wanted to have a play to see if I might be missing out.
        Turns out I'm not really.

      • I played a racing sim with a steering wheel and pedals on the Oculus and going around the first bend on the track was super disorientating. Didn't know if I wanted to fall out of the left or right side of the chair. I guess you get used to that.

      • Hi! Would you like to take a survey describing your Slashdot Experience?

      • Just hearing the word "experience" in an entertainment context makes me gag.

        A few months ago I purchased a rollercoaster simulator.

        Fired up and loaded one of thousands of coasters you can download off the net... it showed a rolling ...coaster with neat 3D graphics on my screen.. No shooting zombies or dodging alien death rays... just a car on a fixed track you have no control over. Boring ...as... f***. ... very same software /w Rift.

        Holy f*** this is a lot of fun.

    • by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:36PM (#54781747) Journal

      It's like 3D TV... an expensive and largely useless toy that...

      It is like many things, not just that. You are right that it is a luxury device, and a toy. But the same can be said of your PlayStation and XBox, your television, and your smart phone.

      The luxury device is part of the reason they're lowering the price. You still need a high-end computer, something around $1500 and far beyond what most people have. They lowered the price from about $800 at launch to $400, but by the time you get a few games and the computer you are still paying two grand. If you already own the high end computer that meets the hardware requirements --- a luxury -- then the extra $400 won't be a painful addition.

      Stereoscopic displays are a product that has been tried with many options over the years. None have taken off yet, but eventually it is one will. It may not be this generation of 3D devices, or next generation, or the generation after that. Or it may be this set, as the latest round are quite impressive.

      For another thing, it is a technology that has a chicken-and-egg problem. There needs to be enough good products (in this field it is generally games and porn) to encourage hardware sales. And there needs to be enough hardware out there to ensure products get built. Without good products the hardware doesn't sell, and without enough devices the software cannot generate a profit.

      Eventually stereoscopic tech will take off, there is little doubt of that. I've used many of the devices, including Oculus, Vive, PSVR, all the way down to Cardboard. I've tried 3D games all the way back to the VirtualBoy, and enjoyed trying Vectrex 3D with a game collector friend who could probably start a museum. I played a few shutter glasses games and stereoscopic arcade games back in the 80's. With all of that, I know that sooner or later the tech will take off eventually. Most failed because of the chicken-and-egg problem of needing both hardware and software. 3D TV never had any must-have products. 3DS has a good set of games and is still viable for steroscopic 3D. Both Oculus and Vive have some amazing position tracking hardware and have an ever-expanding library of software. They're gaining must-have products as AAA games are starting to include options for 3D play; Bethesda and EA have talked about several, such as Fallout and The Sims. Even existing games like Minecraft, GTA V, Half Life 2, Doom 3, people are creating 3D mods for Vive and Oculus.

      I think this is the generation of hardware that will bring stereoscopic 3D to the masses, but if it isn't, we are extremely close to that critical tipping point.

      • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:25PM (#54782053)

        No, one doesn't need to eventually take off. It could just be that people actually don't want it. There's lots of ideas that have been rehashed repeatedly and fail in the market each time.

        Even as a gamer, I have 0 interest in VR. I don't want to wear something on my face, I'm far from convinced having a screen that close to my eyes is good for them, and generally I want to be able to look around my apartment when gaming- hell I usually have the TV in on the background and glance at it on occassion, or tab over to a brower (or have one on monitor 2). You can build the perfect VR machine and I just don't want it. And I think the market is showing the majority are with me.

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          Not everyone has 50/50 vision, some people actually use one eye more than the other in terms of human vision. Trying to use VR glasses just gives them a sore head.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      It's like 3D TV... an expensive and largely useless toy that really only irrationally exuberant developers and people with more money than common sense will buy.

      I'd say 90% of my PC cost is to make it an "expensive and largely useless" gaming rig, so is a lot of other gimmicks and gadgets I have. I don't mind "wasting" money on fun, that's mostly what surplus cash is for. That said, I've tried a buddy's VR headset and while it was fun it also wasn't something I'd wear for long amounts of time. So in the end, how much mileage would it get, if I bought one myself? In any case, VR doesn't bother me because it's a world of its own. Now 3D movies annoy me, because my fa

    • by janoc ( 699997 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:35PM (#54782111)

      Sadly, this is completely wrong.

      There may not be a lot of retail market where margins are thin and development costs are exorbitant, but industrial market for VR is booming. We are literally turning down projects, because we have enough work.

      Oculus' mistake is in focusing purely on the consumer retail - where $800 + $2000 for a PC is a tough sell, no matter what they do. For an industrial client used to pay $20-40k for an HMD *without* tracking it is an absolute steal, allowing a company to equip their worker training center for peanuts.

      Valve & HTC understood this and are developing special business-oriented offers.

      And I am not speaking about high end stuff like flight simulators or military (those rarely use HMDs anyway). I am speaking about blue collar workers training to operate machinery making car tires, making engine blocks or windshields - all for household brand companies I cannot name, unfortunately.

      Or psychologists treating various phobias and anxieties. And those were examples only from a few of our recent projects.

      Actually, even 3D TVs are useful for this - if we could actually find one that is actually sold with the glasses! Most stores don't stock and don't order them anymore, so we have to work with projectors instead.

      • There may not be a lot of retail market where margins are thin and development costs are exorbitant, but industrial market for VR is booming.

        This is where VR progress makes the most sense in the near term. There are many useful utilities for VR, particularly in design. This is an area of advancement where 3D tech had already been proven quite useful. Being able to 'walk thru' industrial structures before they are built allows the designer to notice things they might not otherwise.

        For the home user, the cost of the gear, plus the host computer, just doesn't justify the experience for gaming for most people. And there is just a lack of content

    • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:55PM (#54782239)

      We have the HTC Vive and to us it's actually a very useful tool, and it's already paid for itself in my opinion. Doing my kitchen renovation and could only determine so much with tape on the floor to try to figure out if there was enough practical space between the counter, the island, and where the table would go. Even tried mocking it with cardboard boxes. I just don't have a good enough imagination.

      With VR we took a model of the design, done in Sketchup, and placed ourselves right in the model and in just a few minutes we could determine it would be a great layout and the spacing was just right. VR showed us the design with the right proportions, scale, and everything (actual size). Given that materials cost many thousands of dollars, the cost of the HTC was more than justified, and even in a way paid for with this one job. Anyone designing a house themselves should think about VR as a tool. It's cheap compared to what you'll sink into a house.

      I'm not a gamer so all I use VR for is walking through house designs and other forms of architecture, a bit of flight simulation, and for fun once in a blue moon, Google Earth.

      Gaming in VR isn't really that exciting, but the immersion offered by Oculus Rift and Vive is real, I assure you. It's very striking. It may indeed be an expensive toy, but it's actually not useless, and it works much better than you make it out to be.

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        That's why I didn't call it completely useless, I called it "largely" useless. Why are they surprised the mainstream buyer isn't shelling out $400+ for these things?
    • It's like 3D TV

      Rift is the difference between watching something on a screen and being somewhere else. It's a hoot... so much so I don't waste my time with "flat games" anymore. Too painful... like going back to an Atari 2600 after having a NES.

      3DTV is watching the same TV only with a stereo vision effect. An effect that drops off after a few meters IRL anyway and has never been a dominant means of judging scale and distance.. Nice but no big deal.

      an expensive and largely useless toy that really only irrationally exuberant developers and people with more money than common sense will buy.

      Look up Jewelers and new car dealerships in your local yellow pages.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      I liked 3DTV and am super disappointed that its no longer available at all.. My 3DTV recently died and unless I want to buy a used model (or luck out and find a warehouse with a really old one still in stock,) I'm SOL. And 3DTV wasn't really all that expensive.. at least not at its peak. It was maybe an extra 5-10% over an equivalent non-3D model and 3D blurays were similarly a bit higher price but hardly breaking the bank.

      VR on the other hand.. the HTC Vive is more expensive than many consumer grade PCs

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      It is not to anybody with even a bit of understanding of IT history and the technology involved. VR does not work at this time and it will be a long time until it does. Think Star Trek holodeck as the actual requirement. As this is the 3rd (I think) time that VR has failed and the 5th or so time 3D movies have failed (taking into account the failures in cinema), this is obviously something easily hyped but very hard to do.

  • If the VR gear is expensive and a high-end computer system is needed to run the VR gear, it's a niche market. Mass market VR gear is where everyone can afford it to run with their existing computer system. Not quite there yet.
    • That's a good point. I'd add also that PC gaming itself is a subset of gaming in general, so VR is essentially a niche of a niche.

      I honestly kicked around the idea of getting a Vive when I got a new desktop earlier this year but then I realized I had nowhere to really use it. You need a fair amount of space to set it up and I'm not keeping a high end PC in the living room for the sake of messing around with VR.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        This aspect really bothers me. I'd love to be able to play WoW or Minecraft or any number of other 3D games in VR but I don't really have any interest in getting off my fat ass and flailing around my small room until I break something.

        But it seems like most if not all the VR people -- hardware and game devs alike -- have decided that "VR" has to include motion sensors and hand trackers and this and that and the other bloody gimmick that all drive up the already-high cost without really adding much to the e

  • I'm waiting for the second generation of VR gear, and the one I want is Vive 2.0. There's another article with some estimated sales figures [haptic.al] for various VR things. Hard to say where they got their data, but at least you can get an idea about the relative popularity of the things.
  • Free as in beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jamlad ( 3436419 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:09PM (#54781563)
    They could offer it to me for free and I still wouldn't take it because of the FB affiliation.

    I'm waiting out for my hardware to catch up and the Vive II.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    And to top it off none of the offerings can beat the screen door effect.

  • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:13PM (#54781587) Homepage
    I love my Rift but I'll be the first to admit it's still a compromised experience. It's too blurry and causes eye strain. And it needs a stupidly powerful PC to have a great experience. Everyone I know with a high-end gaming PC capable of running VR either already has a headset or has decided to wait for next-gen headsets -- exciting things like eye tracking, improved depth of field, and simply higher res are all on the horizon *if* VR can survive long enough to give us the 2nd gen it needs.
    • I'd just settle for cheaper and more comfortable, frankly. Bought a Vive and returned it a few days later... no good games, sweaty, uncomfortable, a pain to take on and off, tripping over the wires... wasn't worth the money

    • "high-end gaming PC capable of running VR"

      That's the problem right there. I have a PS4 so the PSVR wasn't too expensive and I'm enjoying the games I've got for it. I couldn't contemplate a Rift because my PC is too old and would need a serious upgrade. I don't use it much for gaming anyway so there's a substantial investment to get a Rift versus just buying the PSVR for the PS4 I already had because it has loads of games I like.

      • This is the problem for most people I think. You go to Best Buy, check out the VR, kinda cringe at the price but think "it's pretty cool, maybe I'll do it". Then you find out you need to spend another $1k on a new PC (unless you got something fairly recently and can get away with just a new video card). Game over man.

        I think VR may be maturing at precisely the wrong moment. PC upgrade/replacement cycles are longer than ever these days, and I don't know if VR companies will sell enough to still be aroun
  • It's expensive, Underwhelming, and requires a $2500 PC to run it.
    On top of that almost no games support it, and even less software.

    Duh, no wonder it is not selling.

    • No it doesnt. Although I would do a geforce 1080. I just build a rig for a VR project at work, and its a core i5, 16gb ram, water cooled, with asus rog strix motherboard and 650 watt power supply, PLUS the geforce 1080. Total: $1300. And this machine is mosty likely overkill.
    • by mentil ( 1748130 )

      Try $500 [tomshardware.com] for that required PC.
      Games have to be built from the ground up for VR or else you get a poor experience; it's better that games don't slap on 'support' for VR. Given the install base of consoles and gaming PCs is far higher than that of VR headsets, it should be no surprise that only a small proportion of games are for VR.

    • Re:Simple answer. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @10:38PM (#54783095)
      Never required a $2500 PC (more like $500-$1000, you know, like any decent gaming PC). Tons of available games. I love watching all the old slashdot luddites shit on VR, most of whom have never experienced it.
  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:19PM (#54781621)

    The Rift has had substantially lower sales than the competing Vive, which is a major reason they've been having more sales and price cuts. It was expected that over time the manufacturing costs would go down, so they're just passing the savings along to the consumer, as opposed to Vive which is keeping their headset's cost constant for now with plans to add new tech as it arrives (although they haven't really done this yet, aside from weight reductions).
    The Samsung Galaxy Gear VR and Playstation VR have each sold over a million units, their lower price suggesting that a high price is the main barrier to adoption at this point. Personally I'm probably going to wait for the 2nd-gen headsets, since they will be substantially better in every way; my game backlog is long enough I will hardly be bored before that point; I've waited 5 years since the Rift was first announced, I think I can wait a bit longer (not that this helps VR sales at all...)

    Windows Holographic VR headsets are coming in a few months, that will be $300-$400 and have better resolution and (arguably) tracking than existing headsets; they only work on Windows 10 and it's unknown if they'll ever work with existing (SteamVR) games, but if so, they could be a hit this holiday. Wireless headsets are coming in the near future, and that could be the difference that makes VR take off.

    • The MS headsets use Universal Windows Platform, which means it's additional work for a developer to port to that than between Vive/Rift. We'll see if the content gets there, but I can tell you first-hand that mixed reality development for UWP is a pain in the butt. The MS headsets will be $400 with hand controllers, which is exactly what Rift is selling their system at now. Coincidence? I think not.

  • The search for the best analog interface is the wild goose chase of the digital age. It's like those guys that still want to play with them old arcade pads for cool points and dress it up as "oh, it's more responsive". True responsiveness will come when I think about the milk I forgot and my Prime subscription, and 1min later that drone is flying. Sans Alexa involved in the matter.

    No time for cords, goggles or super high end GPUs when all the signals I need can be Tx/Rx'd from a 5G tower directly to my neoc

  • What are the odds that Facebook will do a lot of free/discounted promotion for Ready Player One in 2018 in the hope of making the movie a hit and in the process giving the popularity of VR a shot in the arm? (Assuming they haven't already dropped the Oculus by that point of course.)
  • I have an Oculus, but I don't even use it - a friend has it because I didn't have enough of a PC to use it (I got it free because I was a Kickstarter supporter, which kudos for that to Oculus!)

    And there's the real problem. You need to have a PC powerful enough to performantly make use of the headset. They also did not deliver decent (any) controllers until recently.

    Most people are not willing to fuss with a PC to that great an extent anymore. It's simply too hard to have all the things you need and set i

    • (I got it free because I was a Kickstarter supporter, which kudos for that to Oculus!)

      Umm.. that's not free you gave them money......

      • Yes it was free (Score:4, Informative)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @09:43PM (#54782835)

        Umm.. that's not free you gave them money.....

        Which was for Dev Kit 1, which I received. That was not free, no.

        Nor was Dev Kit 2, which I was able to buy at a reduced price...

        But the final Oculus, that was free because I was never told I would get one as part of the Kickstarter, nor did I have any expectation I would receive the final unit without paying anything. I assumed I would have to buy one at a discount. That was an extra step obviously made possible by Facebook money, which they did not have to do and was very kind to their supporters.

    • by 4pins ( 858270 )

      Most people are not willing to fuss with a PC

      Those who would, got cut out of the market. [thenextweb.com] I will spend many hours setting up the computing environment that I want. I was quite interested in getting an Oculus Rift. But the idea that I would have to add a powerful Windows computer to the mix just to give it a try, isn't in the cards right now.

  • by cirby ( 2599 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:25PM (#54781669)

    "Expensive" gear?

    Back when I bought my Apple IIe in 1983, it cost $2400 with a floppy drive and a color monitor.

    That's about $5900 in today's dollars. You can buy a Vive with a reasonably overbuilt desktop to run it for about half that (I did).

    A "cheap" Commodore 64 with a floppy drive in 1984 was about $1000.

    That's $2300 today - about the cost of a decent Vive headset and a basic VR computer.

    How niche was my Apple IIe? Or the Commodore 64?

    I guess the whole "computer revolution" never happened then, right?

    I know a lot of people who spent a couple of thousand dollars, just a few years ago, for a big-screen TV. Niche? Yet they still make large, expensive sets - and that ubiquitous iPhone is basically a thousand bucks, replaced every couple of years...

    • How niche was my Apple IIe? Or the Commodore 64?

      What percentage of the population had either?

    • Yeah, but this isn't a computer, its a monitor. And an absurdly niche one at that.

    • by Zobeid ( 314469 )

      Uhhh... I clearly recall buying an Atari 800XL in 1982 for $250 and an Atari 1050 floppy drive for an other $400, and I believe Commodore gear was similarly priced if not a bit cheaper. Apples on the other hand were absurdly costly, something like $1600 for an Apple II if I recall right. And $650 for the Atari was a lot of money to me at the time.

      And one could argue that "home" computers really were a niche item prior to the C64.

    • Compared to many other hobbies (gearheads working on cars, for example) computer gaming used to be an expensive hobby... But those days are long, long gone.

  • As a linux user with a steam account i appear to notice that the vr games (i looked at the recent steam sale) appeared to be for windows users only or collaborative with two plus players.

    Maybe this vr stuff is more os tolerant than they indicate but i am not buying a vr headset just to see if may or may not work.

    • For the moment, it's pretty closely tied. But both OSVR and SteamVR do function on GNU/Linux, and if I recall correctly nvidia recently added the direct mode (after a few mishaps including a driver release that simply refused to let us access VR headsets it recognized. OpenHMD works on VR device drivers that are properly free software. There's lots of work to be done still.

      Some notes on e.g. https://github.com/ValveSoftwa... [github.com] and https://www.reddit.com/r/OSVR/... [reddit.com]

  • when your product only appeals to less than 1 percent of your userbase, what did you expect. its not like facebook is a hotbed of high intellect/individuality. Joe Q. Public y facebook Sheep don't care bout them thar newfangled gadgets.
  • by ledow ( 319597 )

    As someone who owns some ridiculously expensive gaming-only hardware.... isn't the Vive the one to have, not the Rift?

    And until they standardise such that I don't need to worry what I buy, I would only be able to go with the market-leader in terms of features and what *other people* would buy. Which is the Vive.

    It's not that nobody is buying either. It's that the market hasn't decided because of the expense, and until it does, I'm not falling for a Betamax/HD-DVD farce (I didn't fall for either of those,

    • I remember when VHS VCRs were $399, but the VHS players were cheaper. Yet few people had players, because the best feature of a VCR is the recording.

      A quick web server found an ad in 1985 for a $199 VCR. That's equivalent to $461.63 in 2017. So it's not strange to have a budget of several hundred dollars for a tech gadget. $399 is not remotely outside of a "wife-budget" for a middle class family. And frankly the Oculus is targeted squarely at the affluent and not the middle class.

    • by JMZero ( 449047 )

      VR isn't perfectly standardized, but SteamVR (and most VR games on Steam) support both the Rift and the Vive, and do so in a way that's mostly transparent as a player. Overall, there isn't really that much difference at this point in features (and many people prefer the Touch controllers to the Vive wands) - so at this price, I think the Oculus is the clear choice (I say this despite buying a Vive on launch and having got a lot of fun out of it).

  • HTC Vive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ProzacPatient ( 915544 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:45PM (#54781801)
    Is it possible it's just being out competed by the Vive? I hardly hear anyone mentioning Oculus anymore ever since Facebook bought Oculus and the Vive hit the market.
  • I've heard a number of people say that augmented reality, when it matures, will be of much broader interest to the general population than VR... and they're probably right.

    • You need decent VR developed before you can have AR, it's a prerequisite. And AR is the original long-term goal of the Oculus project.

  • Despite Mark Zuckerberg's early enthusiasm for virtual reality, the technology has stubbornly remained a hard sell for Facebook. Now, in yet another sign that VR is failing to capture the imagination of the public,

    I've been saying this for well over a decade and I speak from first hand professional experience in the industry. There is no killer use case for VR among the general public. I spent the better part of 5 years of my career immersed (no pun intended) in VR technology as my day job and it was as obvious then as it is now that there is no big market for it no matter how cheap they make the headsets. Yes it's fun and cool as a demo but it's impractical, expensive, and has no obvious utility in every day life

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      "Few people actually gain much from the added immersion of VR over playing a game through a monitor."

      Boy are people going to lack back and laugh at these kinds of Luddite posts in ten years.

      What we're seeing right now is 2D platform gamers telling everyone that 3D graphics is just a fad that will never take off.

    • by Kremmy ( 793693 )
      I grew up being questioned constantly, interrogated about what is so damn endearing about the computer that I would spend that much of my time on it.
      It's been over 20 years and do you know what happened since that time? Every single one of those people uses a smartphone the way I used my computer.
      Now I get interrogated about what is so damn endearing about strapping this blindbox on my head, and all I can really say is ... it's the future whether you want it or not.
  • People do like it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpaceDave ( 4139061 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:17PM (#54782001)

    There's one claim that comes up every time VR is mentioned on Slashdot - that VR is overrated, people don't actually like it, everyone gets eyestrain and nausea, etc.

    I run a museum that has Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear headsets. I'm writing this at work and right now I'm looking at a queue of people waiting to use VR. It's the most popular attraction at our museum. Many of my customers come only for the VR because their friends raved about how awesome it is. Our feedback form and letters from school students consistently rate VR as the best thing here. I'm actually worried that the VR is so successful that it's threatening our physical displays - our "real" hands-on activities have become less popular since I introduced VR. Instead of investing in tactile displays I'm being forced to buy more VR headsets because my customers are demanding it.

    Every day I hear people talking about how they have to get one of these things at home. What stops them is the price - *not* any disappointment with the technology itself. If I was looking for something to blame for slow sales it would be the cost of the computer, not anything at all to do with the technology or the experience it offers.

    • I've set up a VR facility at the laboratory where I work (4 Rifts and 1 Vive), and it's been hugely popular. When you put an engineer in VR face-to-face with one of their CAD designs at human scale, they can't help but start having in-depth and meaningful conversations about their work. It's awesome to watch.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My job is developing games/promo material including VR stuff. VR projects are a super easy sell, you show anything VR to a marketing exec or investor and it blows their mind because it isn't something they have ever seen before. The wow factor is completely off the charts.

      The thing is though the office has stacks and stacks of every kind of VR headset you could want and a lot of gamers, but you never see people plug one in to just play a game at lunchtime/end of the day. Apart from for work they never get u

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      As you work in a museum, you will most likely be aware that people have been saying that since 1838
      If peopel say they want something it does not mean they actually are willing to have it. Just that if it was given to them, they would not throw it out right away.

      I have a house for sale and ALL the people who told me they would love to have it, said no. Even when I asked them they could have it for almost free (notary costs and the like, so I do not have to pay anything). These are people who visited the hous

  • Ehem: I told you so! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sbaker ( 47485 )

    Any product that makes at least 30% of it's owners physically sick is probably not a great investment.

    Anyone who didn't read the MANY studies from NASA and the Flight Simulation world pointing out this fact - along with the fact that it can't be fixed - probably deserves to have lost their investment.

    And if these contraptions every HAD become popular - we'd be worrying about the US Navy study that shows that driving your car within 24 hours of a long VR session is more dangerous than drunk driving. The US

    • by SpaceDave ( 4139061 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @08:02PM (#54782283)

      Any product that makes at least 30% of it's owners physically sick is probably not a great investment.

      This is wrong and I'm getting really tired of people trotting out this un-fact. If you don't set up the comfort settings correctly it will make you sick but it's trivially easy to to get it right so that 99% of people will feel fine. I run public VR installations and it does *not* make people sick. Right now I'm looking at the 50th person today to try VR. Not a single complaint.

  • Rift is fantastic. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toasterboy ( 228574 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @07:31PM (#54782095)

    There aren't a lot of apps yet, but Oculus Rift really is fantastic. It runs OK on relatively old gaming hardware... I have both the DK2 and the consumer release version with touch controllers. It certainly runs better on a NVidia 1070 (or better), but it ran just fine on my previous card, a GTX480, which is below minimum requirements technically. It also runs pretty well on a gx980(which is a mobile gpu for laptops). Everyone whom I have demonstrated my rigs to wants one (and my gaming rig is a 4 year old i7 box, outside of having a 1070 recently upgraded). Given that the Rift is mostly cell phone screen, plus a few electronics, and some cameras, $400 is what the price point should have been at launch. You need a beefy system, but it definitely doesn't have to be a crazy rig.

    Having tried the HTC Vive, and owning some older VR equipment (Vuzix stuff), it's pretty clear to me that the Rift is the best VR equipment I've used. It's more responsive, and looks better (higher res screens). Other stuff I've tried tends to be kind of laggy with respect to head tracking and motion controllers, but not the Rift.

    Elite Dangerous in VR is a fantastic experience, as is In Medium (3d sculpting). I've also run a fair number of older titles through VireioX with good success; Skyrim is pretty cool in VR. Even my 80 year old parents like many of the experiences. Viewing 360 degree photos of sites in Egypt in VR is amazing.

    VR games are _different_ from existing games though.. the VR experience is more intense, and more immersive, and some things that worked on 2D screens don't work well in VR... for example, the speed you run at in most FPS games can be 50-70 MPH, which in VR makes you want to hurl, because running that fast through corridors is kind of disorienting. I also tend to be sated with VR after a much shorter gaming period...the experience is just more intense. I believe VR is here to stay, but it will take a while for developers to discover what works well in game experiences.

  • My brother owns the HTC Vive. He didn't buy it for the games, though they can be kind of fun. Rather he bought it to visualize in full immersion home renovations and let him play with house plans. Even using a simple tool like Sketchup, the results in VR are very good. I'm in the process of remodeling my living room and kitchen, and so far it's turning out exactly as it did in the VR model. No surprises and everything is proportioned as I want. To me this is the killer app for VR. To design in 3D (just using Sketchup at the moment) and visualize it in 3D VR and walk through it, look around. Not sure if the bathroom is going to be big enough? Just walk into it and take a look. Not sure if it's going to be easy to reach a wrench around a corner to access a part on a machine? Go into VR and check it. Being able to move around, change perspective, look over, under and around things is very powerful.

    Another very interesting application of VR is simulations such as flight simulators. Except for the low resolution of modern VR systems making it hard to read digital instrument panels in aircraft, VR does make flight simulation incredibly realistic, as far as an experience goes.

    These are the killer apps for VR to me, but that's not a mass market appeal thing. If you're into architecture and design, take a look at VR.

    As for the games, honestly the funnest game in the Vive comes with the Vive in the "The Lab" and it's just a simple game where you shoot arrows at little black stick figures attacking your gate. Great fun! The other more complicated games are, well, meh, once you see all the fancy graphics.

  • Its a product that no one actually needs, its not going to make any real material improvement into people lives.

    Sure some gamers will love it, but they are not the other 99% of the population.

    Its right up there with 3D TV, Curved Screens, and other hyped up technology that failed because no one actually wanted it.
  • This just means the Occulus sucks and/or people don't trust Facebook. It seems even Facebook users don't trust Facebook. This says nothing about the Vive which is the superior VR experience & equipment.

  • But it is not. Not yet. And, it has something in common with another failed technology: the need to wear some glasses that are uncomfortable and make you look like a complete dork. I expect that 3D will take off the day that those ridiculous glasses are not necessary any more. As for VR - well, we'll have to wait for a version of the Holodeck, however crude it may be initially.
  • For gaming, it might be useful. Not into gaming. Other than gaming, is there a good reason to care about VR?
  • by LeftCoastThinker ( 4697521 ) on Tuesday July 11, 2017 @02:57AM (#54783981)

    VR on PC suffers from the same issue that most things on PC suffer from, too much complexity, which is why the PSVR has been outselling all the PC VR platforms. They have sold over 1 Million units so far with no signs of slowing down. The PSVR offers the best of both worlds: online VR content as well as a huge library of 100% compatible games that you can play, without all the headaches of PC. The other barrier to entry on PC is the rig that you have to have. If you already have a PS4, you are good to go, if you are hardcore, you can drop $400 for the PS4 pro. On PC you are looking at at least a $1200 PC. If Zuck were smart, he would partner with Microsoft and tailor Occulus for the Xbox Scorpion (or whatever they are calling it these days). Most people who would buy and use VR aren't willing to put up with the hassle or price of PC (as evidenced by their falling numbers).

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