Thomas Viola – VR Responses

The response to the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR tech that we demoed today in at Newhouse was overwhelmingly positive. Every person who put on the goggles loved what they saw. Highlights included the great levels of immersion and freedom that users felt while wearing the headsets. They felt as though they were really being transported into whatever content was being demoed, not just watching something on a screen really close to their eyes.

The most common response about the headset’s potential was definitely the possibility of a new level of immersion in videogames, but several other interesting responses were given as well. One woman who tried on the headset mentioned how cool it would be to watch a movie made for 360 degree viewing, while another man imagined putting on the headset to watch a basketball game from a courtside camera. “I’d never go to a Knicks game again, instead I could cry in the privacy of my own home,” was his exact response.

A few drawbacks to the headset also came up, although no one felt as if these flaws completely ruined their experience; everyone who tried it said they would be intrigued by its possible uses. One woman did say that she felt a little motion sickness at the start of an on-rails demo of the 1969 Apollo launch, but the feelings subsided as she got used to having the headset on. Another man said he was disappointed by the underwhelming graphics of the demo, however he did acknowledge that he knew this would improve with time.

Overall, people who put the headset on came out of the experience more excited for the prospects of virtual reality technology, and said they would be interested in buying one when they hit the market, should the pricing be reasonable. One tester in particular said he would consider purchasing the Rift if it was at or below around $200.