Man...what a disappointment on almost every level.
I hate to say it, but if this is the state of VR in 2014, we're probably years away from a consumer release, and probably a few more years still from any mainstream acceptance on even the most basic level. This is SO SO FAR from any sort of reasonably acceptable experience it's not even funny.
First...the hardware. Sure, this is just a dev kit, but this thing needs another few years in the oven. If there's any one thing that pulls you right out of the experience, it's the hardware itself. It is so incredibly heavy on your face that you will never forget it's there - it needs to weigh no more than a tenth of what it does now. It's like strapping a brick to your face. And the wires. Oh my god the wires. You cant even turn your head slightly before you feel the tension of the wires, they're getting caught on stuff, and there is so damn many of them running every which way possible. There's a wire running to your HDMI port, which splits off to a USB port. Another wire runs to the camera. And the camera has it's own USB cable too. Oh, and you wanted sound? How about another wire for headphones. If for even a moment you forget that there's a lunchbox strapped to your face as you turn your head, one of the fifteen thousand wires coming off this thing will be sure to remind you. Even just getting it strapped onto your face is incredibly difficult, it never feels like it's on correctly.
The screen is also so far from acceptable. I don't think anything less than a 4K panel in there is going to suffice. All you can see is this giant screen door of pixels. I know the newest prototype is an improvement, but there's no way it's good enough because this is already so far off. The lenses make it even worse - it already always feels like there's a screen two inches from your face (because there is!), but if you look even slightly off center there's such a ridiculous amount of blur and aberration that you may as well not bother. You can technically adjust the distance of the lenses, but it barely makes a difference, and the knob to adjust it is so ridiculously stiff that you basically need a screwdriver to do it. Honestly, unless you spend your days in a drug induced stupor, there's nothing about this setup that's even remotely convincing that you're looking out into some vast virtual world. It's a god damn cell phone screen strapped to your face, and you'll know it. Maybe that's why I didn't have any motion sickness, because the whole experience was so laughable that I cant imagine anyone actually being convinced for more that a fleeting moment. Beyond that, there is a MAJOR problem in the fact that you cant see anything from the real world while these goggles are strapped on. A demo tells me to hit the R key and I can't do anything but laugh, because I have absolutely no idea where the hell it is. I just put my hands forward, press a button and pray I hit the right one. I want to turn the volume down...where the hell is the knob? I have to blindly reach out like an idiot in front of me. Whatever you do, don't use this thing anywhere near a beverage.
If there's any good content, I can't find it. I swear to you, I looked up a list of the 40 best oculus experiences, and calling it amateur hour is being too kind. Literally everything is unity engine and feels like a student project. It's by far the worst collection of garbage I could have ever imagined, and if this is the best we have right now, its going to take years before there's anything even approaching something you genuinely want to spend time with. There was literally only one demo out that I found even mildly intriguing, and the point was basically to hold down the two control keys and try not to move. Then all sorts of silly stuff happened - bees flied around, a raptor growled in my face (trust me, this sounds way cooler in writing, it looked like an n64 game) - but it was the only thing that gave me that feeling of "presence" I kept hearing about. I was able to look around, move my head and it all tracked perfectly, I could literally stand up and lean over the back of the monitor...it was crazy. And since the game knows youre holding the two keys in front of you, you actually see your arms and it just sort of clicks in your brain. That was the only moment where I felt that the promise of VR was even remotely achieved, but it was also so contrived that I'm not sure if anything else but a demo where youre literally sitting at a desk is going to have that same effect. Beyond that, it was all garbage, I swear to you some of it was intentionally trying to make me vomit. VR promises to take you anywhere, but right now the only places you can go are places that I guarantee you won't want to go.
The software/drivers and UI is excusable to some degree because that feels fixable in the near term, but suffice it to say that for now, it's as if it's actively trying to prevent you from playing a game. The preferred option is to treat the rift as an accessory and have stuff directly address it....but the only time that worked was in the setup panel itself. All the rest of the time, you basically have to set it up as a second monitor - except the rift is hardly a monitor. You have to set it up in portrait mode for the image to be right side up, but you still only see half the desktop with each eye, and thats honestly being generous, really all you can see is a tiny little fraction of the desktop. If you want to know what it's like, take your phone and literally hold it two inches from your face. It's that ridiculous. Ideally you launch a game on your monitor and it automatically plays on the rift, but that almost never works either. I honestly have no idea what the proper method is, generally it feels like it's actively resisting your attempts to actually get the rift game onto the rift itself. God help you if you lose a window on the rift, especially the control panel you need to disable the rift and undo this nightmare. More time that I'd like to admit was spent just trying to find the god damn mouse cursor.
So yeah, it's basically almost completely terrible in nearly every way. I suppose it's still possible that next year there will be a super light and ultra high resolution wireless rift that come with a well designed UI, works as expected in an intuitive way, and there's tons of awesome VR specific content...but I'm no longer hopeful for that. I was super excited, I was ready to love everything about it and put up with a little hassle, I was a huge fan of 3D gaming while it was a thing - but this is ten times more hassle and a far worse experience than that ever was. If that couldn't get off the ground because of glasses, configuration hassles and extreme performance demands, honestly this thing has no chance in the world. I swear they better have something magical up their sleeves that they're holding back, because if the consumer experience resembles this in even the slightest way it's going to crash and burn. I truly believe they can still fix all these things with enough time and make it awesome - for those few moments where it all came together, it was genuinely awesome...but I think it's going to take a long time, and I'm not sure it's good enough until then to survive that long. I want to be wrong about that...I really do. But man, this was just awful.
Steam/PSN/Xbox Live: Darius510