At the start of August, we got a tantalizing look at something we've heard about for decades, always seeing glimpses of, until it's reached where's-my-jet-pack levels of furor: a satisfying, mass-produced, consumer-ready virtual reality game. The Oculus Rift was on Kickstarter August 1 through September 1. Now it's racked up $2.4 million.
In the promotional video, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey laments how no equipment out there was good enough to "plug in and actually be in the game." It's yet to be seen what the Rift will do--it only has a single game planned for release, Doom 3--but it's a sentiment a lot of gamers share. That raises the question, "Why not?" Why don't we have a virtual reality system in every home? It's a case where our heads and out hearts are at odds. "Our heads" meant to be taken literally.
It doesn't seem like evolution has primed us especially well for accepting a computer-generated world. It's disorienting; it's weird. But we've tried, and gotten arguably close. We recently reviewed laser tag guns that employed "augmented reality"--something like the missing link between our real world and a virtual one--and it did a great job at an affordable price. One of the few complaints I had was that the swarms of mechanical drones, which swooped in on you against the backdrop of the real world, seemed a little fake. But that's not the creators' fault.