Oculus Rift: going beyond gaming

This week our Oculus Rift development kits arrived in the office. I’ve never seen such an excited group of developers, but what is all the fuss about?

420775-hands-on-with-the-oculus-rift-dk2The Oculus Rift is an upcoming VR (virtual reality) head-mounted display. There is quite a lot of buzz around it in the gaming industry, particularly since Facebook acquired Oculus VR in July last year.

There is still some work to be done in developing the set for use as a consumer unit. There are too many wires, the system requires quite a lot of RAM to run smoothly and the display is far from perfect. But – even so – wow. On the plus side, by the time the Rift is released to consumers (probably early next year), there will be ergonomic improvements and a better quality display within the headset.

As a digital marketing company, we can see the huge potential of the technology for use by our clients in various sectors, from selling luxury real estate to experiential education. Although the Rift was developed with gaming in mind, VR devices like the Rift will revolutionise the way we communicate and experience the world.

Rolling Stone’s Mark Yarm talks about a few potential uses of the technology in his blog post 7 Ways the Oculus Rift Could Change Entertainment as We Know It.

Experience live concert thousands of miles away

You want to attend the Fuji Rock Festival, but airfare to Japan is pretty steep. In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to watch live shows from anywhere in the world from the comfort of your living room and feel like you’re there. “Now, because cameras are so cheap and can be so tiny, you can flood a concert hall with them — imagine that every single person at the concert had these cameras on them,” says Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. “If they were networked, it could all be stitched into one unified 3D model of the concert.” So you could view the show from almost any angle. Add in haptic feedback (which the Rift doesn’t have), and you could even experience the sensation of slamming into someone in the pit.

Experience past iconic events

Forget live music — how about attending a gig that happened 45 years ago? It would be a “monstrous project that wouldn’t look too good,” Bailenson says, but using actual concert footage and other source material, programmers could create a 3D virtual model of the original Woodstock. “What if you wanted to see Woodstock literally from the point of view of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar?” Bailenson posits. “What if you wanted to be his pick? Anything’s possible.”

Films and TV shows you can walk around in

One Seinfeld fan has already created a navigable version of Jerry’s apartment for the Rift. Unfortunately, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer aren’t hanging out there —yet. Oculus’ Chung foresees the next step in must-see TV: “You’re in the apartment, and the cast, or some version of them, is actually there. You could have a conversation with them.”

On the cinematic front, Bay Area startup Condition One is gearing up to release Zero Point, the first movie for the Rift—which, in a meta touch, is about the development and promise of virtual reality. You can watch an interactive trailer, which will give you a taste of the experience, here. (Should that version take a while to load, you can watch the regular Zero Point trailer below.)

Read Mark Yarm’s full article.

Group Dane’s venture into VR

We’re bringing in some experienced gaming developers to work on an Oculus experience that we’re hoping to release as close to the consumer launch of Oculus Rift as possible. Watch this space – we’ll keep you up to date with our progress.

Find out more about Oculus Rift on the official website.