osvr-hdk-2-hero

VR is here, and it’s here to stay. That’s my view, and I’m unlikely to change it.

Sure, I do think it’s going to take a few iterations to get it ‘right’, it’s going to take even longer to get seriously mainstream and acceptable (it’s taken gaming this long, and we still get chucklefucks who think run-and-guns or shooters have an actual impact on violent crime which – newsflash morons – it doesn’t, in the same way that violent movies entirely don’t), but VR is very much here.

The headset above – released at E3 which is (at time of writing I believe) still going on – has almost identical specs to the Oculus and Vive, and compatibility with essentially both. It is fully compatible with it’s own ‘OSVR’ Open Source Virtual Reality platform, but it’s inclusive and not exclusive like Oculus with their fuck-you facebook money.

Short version? Costs less than both, compatible with more, fully compatible with everything on Steam and a boatload more through clever little programs like vireio that will patch for you, for free, tons of older 3D games to work with a headset. Games like Portal, Portal 2, Minecraft and GTA5.

It’s going to, hopefully, be compatible with the Vive lighthouse technology for room-scale shenanigans, but for now it at the very least does the whole sitting down experience with 360 degree tracking (I don’t entirely buy 360 degree head tracking from a single sensor, but people who have used it haven’t said it’s noticeably worse than everything else available, so I’m stoked).

And best of all, this entire platform is not only open source and hackable, but the company behind it has put up $5 million to keep the entirely too grabby hands of companies like Facebook out of the playpen by ensuring we won’t have another VHS-vs-Betamax bullshit fight on our hands. Developers can get funding to keep their games open, to support free standards and to help bolster the fledgling and very fragile (right now at least) market.

The worst thing that could happen is that Facebook muscles out the competition and shuts down the market for VR. It would quite literally kill the entire scene and I sincerely hope that all forced exclusives either:

  • open up themselves to other systems, or
  • get opened up by force by hackers able to undo those forced restrictions on platform compatibility.

Seriously, there is absolutely no reason why Oculus games can’t work on any other headset, seeing as how a free program that acts as a shim has already been produced. Seriously, check out the compatibility list! Any moves by Oculus (which was promised to be free and open, remember that, Palmer Lucky you lying shil?) are just going to cement not only my disgust for Facebook’s blatant shenanigans but the Oculus as a whole.

So, right now, you have two good options (Vive if you have the money, OSVR if you don’t), one shil option (buy into the always-watching, always spying on you, always listening to you Oculus walled garden ecosystem) and, perhaps, a few more on the way (PSVR to mention just one).

VR is starting to get awesome!

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