That's the catch on the Oculus Rift

That's the catch on the Oculus Rift

Facebook’s subsidiary Oculus has started pre-selling Rift, the first virtual reality glasses for the PC, in the USA. At point 5 pm, the online store opened and promptly collapsed under the onslaught of potential buyers. The interest in the Rift is huge, especially PC gamers have been eagerly waiting for the Oculus Rift, which was once launched via Kickstarter campaign.

Oculus first announced the price of the glasses on Wednesday: they cost $ 599 in the US plus shipping and taxes. This is more than expected. As late as 2014, analysts had expected around 400 euros. But despite the now higher price, the first batch of glasses quickly sold out – those who order now will have to wait for delivery at least until May. A European prize has not yet been determined.

Just in time for the pre-sale launch, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey sent good news to the Kickstarter supporters on Tuesday, who had already believed in him at the start in 2012 and pre-financed the foundation via crowdfunding: They will now receive glasses as a gift.

Impressive effects

In initial tests, the VR glasses inspire-especially PC games get a completely new dimension, because the player now feels completely in a virtual world thanks to the glasses. The effect is breathtaking: never before could reality be completely hidden in virtual worlds.

A complex optics with two HD screens ensures that the player’s field of view is very wide and almost borderless. The glasses track the player’s head position seamlessly and without delay with an infrared camera and acceleration sensors. Thanks to the technology, the user can completely look around the virtual world, even a glance over his shoulder does not break the illusion.

The” world ” has already been able to try out the glasses in detail: In particular, simulations in which the user takes the perspective of the game character – such as space simulations or first-person shooters-deliver impressive effects, the illusion of the VR world succeeds almost perfectly. If you pre-order the Oculus now, you will receive the space simulation EVE-Valkyrie free of charge.

In the test, the game got a completely new dimension thanks to the VR glasses, since the player can turn around in the cockpit of the space fighter after his opponents in space and follow them with the view. The result is a completely new situational awareness in space.

But be careful: users with a sensitive sense of balance quickly get seasick in fast simulations like EVE, because the images in front of their eyes contradict the sensation of their inner ear. So it’s worth trying the glasses before buying.

Hardly a PC is powerful enough

This could also be helpful for another reason: the hook of the glasses is your hunger for performance. Before players blindly pre-order in complete enthusiasm, they should check whether their calculator is even capable of representing the VR world. In order for the illusion to work, the video card must send 120 high-resolution HD frames per second alternately to the two screens of the glasses – if the frame rate falls below, the illusion breaks.

According to the high-tech analysts at Gartner, only one percent of all PCs have the graphics power to calculate such fast frame rates in HD. However, this figure is likely to be significantly too low, at least among gamers: The world’s most popular PC game distribution platform Steam regularly checks the performance data of its users ‘ computers in an automatic query.

in 2015, 125 million players were active on the platform. According to an analysis of the survey data, in December, almost ten percent of Steam customers have PCs that were powerful enough for VR. The most popular graphics card of Steam users, the GTX970 from nVidia, is used by almost five percent of players– according to Oculus, it is the graphics card that is at least necessary for VR.

Better check before or wait

The VR simulation works better with a GTX 980, GTX 980Ti or even the 1000-Euro card Nvidia Titan, alternatively, cards from the competitor manufacturer ATI from the R9-200 series are powerful enough for VR. Corresponding graphics cards currently cost at least a good 300 euros, in addition, the rest of the computer must have power accordingly. Oculus released a tool on Wednesday that allows PC gamers to test whether their machine is powerful enough.

A current Intel 4-core CPU of the Core i5 series and at least 8 gigabytes of memory are also in the requirements list for VR. Thus, the total investment for PC and glasses should currently be at least about 1600 euros – this sum should currently represent a high barrier to entry for young fans. However, prices are likely to fall quickly as VR becomes mainstream in the next two years.

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