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Oculus Rift Beta to Begin Next Year

by Tim Tarbet

There’s a bit of good news on the horizon for us rabid fans of escapism.

The Oculus Rift’s release date has been moved up from Soon to Very Soon.

According to techradar, the Oculus Rift could be rolling out a “limited, Google Glass-style rollout” as early as next April to assess the market and evaluate just how violent gamers can get they don’t get to play with the latest toys.

In the words of Alfred, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Jokes aside, gamers probably won’t take to the streets with pitchforks and molotov cocktails demanding a full scale release of the cutting edge VR device.

Probably.

I mean, it’s only the thing that all gamers everywhere have been dreaming about since the first time they picked up a video game.

“You know what would be really cool? If we could be, like, inside the game. Like, for reals. Like virtual reality. That would be awesome.”

Of course, until now those dreams have been wistful couch dreams, often taking place after a marathon gaming session, but the Oculus seems to be the next best thing compared to jacking directly into the Matrix itself.

I mean, just look at this guy.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7n5kRRHDpw]

Smug bastard.

Despite the fact that he’s using a set up that’s far more expensive than any of us are liable to afford, the man is having the time of his life, laughing his head off as he goes around and murders guards, dragons, and overzealous proselytizers. Elves and undead are slaughtered with the same manic glee.

Immersion has been the holy grail of gaming since its inception. Most games try to draw the player in with visuals nowadays, but anything that gets a so invested in a game that they forget the world around them works. This can vary from player to player, but it can be anything from realistic voice actors and game mechanics, to setting, to story. Personally, story is always the most important for me. If I can’t get into the story of a game, it doesn’t matter how good the graphics are, or how balanced the gameplay is. It just doesn’t work.

The Oculus Rift is the next logical step in immersing a player more fully into a game. Nearly everyone who’s used it, or a device like it, has raved about how lifelike it feels. We’ve all seen video after video of people screaming in terror as they ride down a virtual roller coaster with one of these things strapped to their heads.

Of course, some people have more violent reactions than others. 

There are other, less important possibilities for the Oculus Rift as well, like watching movies, exploring social media, or training the next generation of medical professionals, pilots, and soldiers, but let’s be honest here. This is about the gaming.

So far, the Oculus Rift is only being developed for the PC Master Race, but there are other VR headsets in the works as well. Project Morpheus is similar to the Rift, but is being developed for the PS4, and rumor has it that Microsoft is working on their own console exclusive VR headset as well. So far, though, the Oculus Rift is the closest to being a reality. Project Morpheus still lacks even a tenuous release date, and there’s little more than dust and echoes to be found about whatever Microsoft is planning.

Any way you slice it, this is probably the largest step forward in entertainment technology that’s happened since the invention of the remote control, and, to be completely honest, this is probably the only piece of gaming technology that you’ll catch me waiting for at the midnight release.

Hopefully that won’t be too far away.

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