Let me preface this by saying: I am fully aware that the Rift is not a finished product, most (if not all) of the issues outlined here will be irrelevant when the consumer version is released. This post is simply to give those impatient consumers or eager developers who want the Rift NOW a "heads up" on the kind of things that people aren't talking about when it comes to the Rift.
So, if you haven't noticed there wasn't a TPU yesterday, and the reason for that is this:
My Oculus Rift Arrived
Understandably i've been very excited by the buzz surrounding the rift, so naturally I ordered one a little while back to start creating some interesting VR experiences. Now what most people have done so far is run off a huge list of awesome things they love to do with the rift, in other words not many people have really taken the time to be super critical of the Rift kit in its current state and considering the fact that it is just a developer kit that's understandable. However, there are many non-developers who are interested in getting their hands on the rift, and this post is a list of things that should be understood and expected before preordering.
#1 - There is a Considerable Amount of Motion Blur
The ProblemThe rifts LCD screen has High Switch Time, in order for the viewer to not experience weird visuals the rift has a considerable amount of motion blur when moving and turning, what this means is that even if you don't normally experience Motion Sickness you might still have problems with the rift, and nearly everyone will have some issues (needing to stop and take breaks frequently) during the first few uses, even if their just walking around looking at things. Now motion sickness surrounding the rift is not something that hasn't been talked about, but most articles and reviews site the game itself as the source of the sickness, leading to the impression that a well built experience will cause zero motion sickness, this is not true. The motion blur issue is going to be present in every single game you play.
Can It Be Solved?
Because of the fact that this is a hardware limitation, the only solution as a user is to wait for OculusVR to release the next version of the rift, but there is no guarantee that this will change due to the nature of smaller LCD screens. Over time you do get used to the motion blur (although the issue never goes away completely), but until that point it's really not a pleasant experience. I have no doubt that this issue is something they're definitely going to try and fix before the consumer release, but if you're looking at buying it right now this is something you should seriously be thinking about.
#2 - What People Really Mean When They Say: Low Resolution
The rifts LCD screen has Low Resolution: 1280 by 800 split over two eyes. This issue is something that people have talked about before, but people are quick to say this it does not impact the experience after a few minutes of use. This is also not true.
In combination with the motion blur issue, it makes it very difficult to read in-game text (Even if its on something huge like a poster), or even just to appreciate the 3D world around you unless you are standing still, very close to the object in question. Even in the perfect situation: standing still at minimum distance, you cannot make out smaller texture details. Let me clarify that by saying: even license-plate-sized font is difficult to read at a distance of more than a couple meters, and near impossible to read when moving. This issue is not limited to text, I'm just using in-game text as a good way of portraying the kind of visual clarity that you're going to be experiencing if you buy the rift right now.
Can It Be Solved?
It already has been solved in current not-release-to-public prototypes. Again, this is a hardware limitation so if you buy the current rift you're not going to be able to get around it, but if you wait for the next Dev kit release or the consumer version this definitely will be a non-issue.
#3 - What People Really Mean When They Say: Screen Door Effect
Press your face up to your monitor right now, i'm talking eyeball to the screen here, see the grid of pixels? Maybe some red blue and green color-splitting action? Now imagine slapping a strong magnifying glass on top of that and you've got the screen-door effect people are talking about. Because of the low resolution and close proximity to your eyes you'll clearly be able to see the grid of pixels. Now this issue is less serious because its easy to forget about it after a few minutes of use, in fact this was the only issue with the rift that honestly does sort itself out completely (in a sense that you can easily forget about it) over time.
Can It Be Solved?
Once again, the good folks at OculusVR have already handled it in a new prototype. Even if you can't be bothered to wait for them to make the new version of the rift available for purchase, the current state of things really isn't that bad after a few minutes of use. This is probably the only issue that I would classify as not a big deal the same way most reviews have said.
Woah, All That Sounds Pretty Bad...
Now perspective is important here, the main comparisons here are between what people expect the rift to be like based on the hype and the actual reality of what the device delivers: Overall If we were to take the current Hype Train surrounding the rift and call that expectation 10/10, then the reality is closer to 6/10. It is far from a consumer ready experience. So they really do mean it when they say:
"Don't buy one unless you're a collector or a developer"
It really is that simple, the product is not ready for consumers just like it says on the OculusVR website.
It's definitely not doom and gloom. 2/3 of these issues have already been solved and hopefully the Motion sickness will get worked out long before the consumer version. The main message here is: do NOT waste money on a Rift unless you actually intend to use it for development purposes. Waiting for the next versions to be released to the public is definitely the right choice for non-developers. Aside from these issues the experience can be quite interesting, but fighting sickness and pointlessly squinting at blurry words is not conducive to a truly immersive experience. If you're a fan of the Rift don't spoil the experience for yourself by buying one right now. Have some patience, keep an eye on all the great projects popping up everywhere and hang tight for the consumer model.
In fact, i've already got a super awesome VR project in the works for you guys. Stay tuned.