The highly-anticipated Oculus Rift VR headset will be released this spring, allowing gamers to enjoy virtual reality – something that seemed around the corner in the early 90’s! With many developers pledging support for games old and new, and its attractive price point of $300, you’d be hard-pressed to find any fault with this device.
However there are a few things I’d like to see for the Oculus Rift that would be handy for everyday gaming:
1. An on-board camera. This would allow its user to check out their surroundings without having to take off the headset. Now you can see where your game controller/can of soda is on your desk, without fumbling around.
2. Action buttons/dials. A button would help for switching between the aforementioned camera and the game itself. These controls would also be beneficial for adjusting the settings of the headset. Mostly I just want something on the headset that would mimic in-game behavior, like switching-on night-vision goggles or adjusting the scope on a sniper rifle.
3. Microphone. Wearing a headset like this I would be less likely to wear a headphones/microphone combo (I can’t wear that much stuff on my skull). So if it could have an on-board mic all the better.
Other things (not pictured):
4. A counterweight at the back of the strap. I’m sure the Oculus Rift is very lightweight as-is, but it might be problematic for a lengthy session — you could end up with a sore neck. Something to balance out the weight might be worthwhile. This is all just speculation on my part, weight could very well be a non-issue.
5. On-board cooling/airflow. More speculation on my part, I don’t know if there will be moisture trapped in the headset from being perched on your face! If that turns out to be the case, then some sort of cooling system may be ideal. Some small fans, vents, etc., anything to ensure comfort.
Granted, any of these add-ons would drive up the price of an Oculus Rift unit. However a modular approach would be another way to go. For example: you buy a standalone Oculus headset, and then buy a camera attachment separately. I’m sure frugal gamers would prefer that approach.
I’m looking forward to trying one of these headsets out, regardless of configuration. Being able to experience virtual reality with modern games is very appealing to me. My one foray into VR gaming was trying out Nintendo’s Virtual Boy when it came out, and it was awful. I hope to experience the opposite with the Oculus Rift.