Plugged In

Oculus Rift: Hands on with the new face of virtual reality

Plugged In

View photo


EVR, le dogfighter pour Oculus Rift en vidéo

Virtual reality helmets never quite caught on in the Nineties - largely because they were the size of deep sea diver's helmets, and left you seasick, headachey and feeling like you might go blind.

A new headset, Oculus Rift, might well be the gadget that sees "VR" finally catch on.

Testing it at this week's E3 gaming show in Los Angeles, it's a genuinely dizzying experience... in a good way.

CCP games, makers of the hit online game Eve Online, showed off a demo of a space shoot 'em up, EVR.

[Up close with Sony's next-gen games]

The goggles - around the size of ski goggles, with two screens directly in front of your eyes, fit snugly over your head, and you're immediately in the cockpit of a spacecraft.

You steer using a joypad, and move your head to look around as you fly. It's astonishingly immersive - and surprisingly easy to get to grips with. After a few moments of vertigo, your brain accepts it totally, and you're suddenly swooping through an asteroid field firing missiles at other players.

At a show loaded with over-the-top gaming technologies, EVR was one of the most instantly impactful - adding a new layer of immersion no super-powered graphics chip could match.

After three minutes, you do feel slightly wobbly - but no more so than walking out of a 3D film at the cinema.

The 3D screens completely cover your field of vision, with tall, iMAX-style screens, rather than the usual rectangles.

There is no escape - and no looking down to remind yourself where the ground is. Trying to stand up is an uncomfortable experience.

Once sat down, though, the goggles are stunning - better, bolder and bigger than any 3D cinema screen or TV, without an ‘edge’ to bring you back to reality.

You’re inside the video game - lunging forward with your head to move forward, with phone-style accelerometers telling the system what you’re doing.

It doesn’t look dignified - but you’re the one with the techno-goggles on, so you don’t care. Rift still has no confirmed price or release date - but more and more game companies are making demos for the device, so it is most definitely coming...

View Comments (78)