2016- the year of VR?

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby Johnmcl7 » 07 Jan 2016, 02:33

We've been talking a bit about the Occulus Rift preorder on FB chat so I thought it was worth its own topic.

The big news today of course is that the Occulus Rift has finally gone on preorder for the finished unit although the main headline is the eye watering price, despite the hints at a more affordable price over the last few months the preorder is a hefty $600. Despite that high price the suggestion is it's selling well by the increasing ship dates on the preorders, in some ways I'm relieved at the high price as it means I'm not even considering it. It just seems odd they were originally hinting this was going to be a mass market product and they had been working on driving the cost down but now it's changed around completely and it's going to be niche, small volume product now to begin with. The PC requirements are high expected with the minimum recommendation being a powerful Nvidia GTX970, that aspect doesn't bother me as my desktop PC has an ageing AMD 6950 I suspect is on its way out (its identical sibling died some time ago) so I'm planning on upgrading at some point anyway.

The main rival to the Rift would appear to be HTC's Vive which they've been working on with Valve, it's a similar idea in that it's PC powered but they announced they'd delayed the product for a new technical innovation. That has turned out to be a forward mounted camera on the headset which I initially was a little puzzled by as to how that was an innovation but the clever part is how it takes that 2D image and integrates it with the VR footage to make people more comfortable using the VR headset.

For the consoles Sony are releasing a VR system for the PS4 and what has me particularly excited about it is the re-release of Rez, one of my all time favourite games and a perfect choice for VR. I am concerned about the lack of graphical horsepower the PS4 has as its graphic card is far less powerful than a GTX 970 but on the other hand if the hardware is reasonably priced I'd be keen to give it a go whereas the current Occulus pricing is just way too high for something I'm not even sure I'd be interested in. Particularly in light of how quickly 3D died although so far there's a lot more promise from VR to do something a bit different.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby Tappy » 07 Jan 2016, 19:14

If people think that is expensive, wait for the Microsoft Hololens price... ;)

Nvidia, in their CES thingy, mentioned VR and how using their software creation tools will open up the technology to 25% of computer users instead of 1%. Or something like that - I only glanced at the article. But perhaps that's how the likes of PS4 can use such a device, by putting their letters in a better order.
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2016- the year of VR?

Postby EviL Ras » 07 Jan 2016, 21:25

Razer's min-liang tan was touching on VR too this year. And seeing how influential they are in gaming, that might help it pick up.

I used VR at a game of thrones exhibition. It works really well! even though thegraphics weren't great!

Also, this can happen - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35239815
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2016- the year of VR?

Postby Johnmcl7 » 07 Jan 2016, 23:37

EviL Ras wrote:Source of the post Razer's min-liang tan was touching on VR too this year. And seeing how influential they are in gaming, that might help it pick up.

I used VR at a game of thrones exhibition. It works really well! even though thegraphics weren't great!

Also, this can happen - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35239815


I think the idea with the camera on the Vive is to reduce the motion sickness by giving people a feel of the room around them which if it works well would certainly be a big breakthrough as it seems to be an issue VR struggles with.

I was forgetting I had actually tried VR many, many years ago as they had one of the original systems up here with the bulky unit and terrible graphics but I couldn't use it at all as I quickly felt unwell. I don't get car sick though which is odd, I'm hoping it's not an issue with the new VR systems.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby Johnmcl7 » 08 Jan 2016, 01:37

The reason for the high price of the Occulus VR is apparently largely down to the custom displays it use which boast better specification to improve the VR performance whereas the previous development kits were just using pretty much a stock Galaxy Note 4 display. It will be interesting to see how that works in practice compared to other solutions.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby jurassicjim » 08 Jan 2016, 10:43

I read the reddit AMA the Occulus guy did, it was good, and I don't feel the price is too high.

Considering what a mobile phone costs these days and they are all just derivatives of a design that has been in place for years.

If I can use it for movies and have a 100 inch HD screen in front of my eyes, I would probably buy one for that alone!

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby Johnmcl7 » 09 Jan 2016, 16:14

jurassicjim wrote:Source of the post I read the reddit AMA the Occulus guy did, it was good, and I don't feel the price is too high.

Considering what a mobile phone costs these days and they are all just derivatives of a design that has been in place for years.

If I can use it for movies and have a 100 inch HD screen in front of my eyes, I would probably buy one for that alone!

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I think the surprise about the price is more because they suggested it was going to be a lot lower, more around the dev kit cost. Mobile phones aren't just derivatives of their previous versions, some of the changes in tech are staggering - Sony now have incredibly pixel dense 4K screen and internally top end phones now have complex octo-core layouts. Mobile phones also have complex internal sensors and I've not seen anything on the Occulus that suggests aside from the display it has anything like the performance or complexity of a mobile phone.

I don't think the cost of the Occulus Rift is entirely unjustified though but I think they'd have been better suggesting a higher price and lower distribution rather than the other way round.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby momoka1234 » 11 Jan 2016, 05:31

I'm hoping it's not an issue with the new VR systems.
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2016- the year of VR?

Postby jurassicjim » 11 Jan 2016, 10:40

Johnmcl7 wrote:Source of the post
jurassicjim wrote:Source of the post I read the reddit AMA the Occulus guy did, it was good, and I don't feel the price is too high.

Considering what a mobile phone costs these days and they are all just derivatives of a design that has been in place for years.

If I can use it for movies and have a 100 inch HD screen in front of my eyes, I would probably buy one for that alone!

j


I think the surprise about the price is more because they suggested it was going to be a lot lower, more around the dev kit cost. Mobile phones aren't just derivatives of their previous versions, some of the changes in tech are staggering - Sony now have incredibly pixel dense 4K screen and internally top end phones now have complex octo-core layouts. Mobile phones also have complex internal sensors and I've not seen anything on the Occulus that suggests aside from the display it has anything like the performance or complexity of a mobile phone.
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Oh yeah, I don't doubt there is some serious R and D going into phones and the technology is amazing. But I think it's well documented that the cost of a phones hardware is very low in comparison to the retail price, more so with some manufacturers than other.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby Johnmcl7 » 11 Jan 2016, 19:13

It's no different to the Occulus Rift though - its parts are likely cheaper than a phone's parts but there's a huge mark up for development. Although phones may look similar there's been huge changes in screen technology and their internal SoCs/software design which is going to eat up a lot of development money, even Apple have developed their own processors based on ARM designs rather than off the shelf.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby jurassicjim » 11 Jan 2016, 21:06

Johnmcl7 wrote:Source of the post It's no different to the Occulus Rift though - its parts are likely cheaper than a phone's parts but there's a huge mark up for development. Although phones may look similar there's been huge changes in screen technology and their internal SoCs/software design which is going to eat up a lot of development money, even Apple have developed their own processors based on ARM designs rather than off the shelf.

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The Occulus guy said that the actual cost of all the bits is a fair bit more expensive than the cost of the bits on a phone and we're happy to pay £600/700 for a phone every 12/24 months. Was quite a good point he raised I think.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby Johnmcl7 » 12 Jan 2016, 01:08

jurassicjim wrote:Source of the post
Johnmcl7 wrote:Source of the post It's no different to the Occulus Rift though - its parts are likely cheaper than a phone's parts but there's a huge mark up for development. Although phones may look similar there's been huge changes in screen technology and their internal SoCs/software design which is going to eat up a lot of development money, even Apple have developed their own processors based on ARM designs rather than off the shelf.

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The Occulus guy said that the actual cost of all the bits is a fair bit more expensive than the cost of the bits on a phone and we're happy to pay £600/700 for a phone every 12/24 months. Was quite a good point he raised I think.

j


That's in his best interest to say that though, he's hardly going to come out and say that it's pricier than it should be - mobile phones have displays that are just as advanced (if not more so) as well as having a complex array of sensors, comms chips and increasingly powerful hardware of their own so looking at the raw parts, the mobile phones have the more expensive hardware. Plus the Occulus guy was claiming not long ago that the price of the unit was going to be substantially cheaper, far too little time to re-engineer new hardware for the current release.

I don't see it as a relevant point that people pay a lot of money for a phone every 24 months, I personally never have but even if I did it's for a device I use more than any other electronic device I own making it considerable value for money whereas a VR headset is an occasional toy.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby jurassicjim » 12 Jan 2016, 10:37

Johnmcl7 wrote:Source of the post
jurassicjim wrote:Source of the post
Johnmcl7 wrote:Source of the post It's no different to the Occulus Rift though - its parts are likely cheaper than a phone's parts but there's a huge mark up for development. Although phones may look similar there's been huge changes in screen technology and their internal SoCs/software design which is going to eat up a lot of development money, even Apple have developed their own processors based on ARM designs rather than off the shelf.

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The Occulus guy said that the actual cost of all the bits is a fair bit more expensive than the cost of the bits on a phone and we're happy to pay £600/700 for a phone every 12/24 months. Was quite a good point he raised I think.

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That's in his best interest to say that though, he's hardly going to come out and say that it's pricier than it should be - mobile phones have displays that are just as advanced (if not more so) as well as having a complex array of sensors, comms chips and increasingly powerful hardware of their own so looking at the raw parts, the mobile phones have the more expensive hardware. Plus the Occulus guy was claiming not long ago that the price of the unit was going to be substantially cheaper, far too little time to re-engineer new hardware for the current release.

I don't see it as a relevant point that people pay a lot of money for a phone every 24 months, I personally never have but even if I did it's for a device I use more than any other electronic device I own making it considerable value for money whereas a VR headset is an occasional toy.

John


Well, he said wait for the i fixit tear down, so I'm guessing he must be fairly confident that the guts of the thing are worth the asking cost. But we'll see! He mentioned something about the optics being like DSLR lens optics and potentially higher quality than that, and we both know how expensive things like that can be.

I think the point with the phone cost is that we happily spend £100's on a new phone every year or two (if you don't, many others do) on something that is a pretty arbitrary upgrade and don't think twice about it. But people are up in arms about spending £600 on some a new piece of technology that is new and potentially quite exciting and the future of games.

I don't really understand it myself as these are the same people that spend £100's on a new GPU every couple of years.

Ultimately, if you don't like the price, then don't buy one if you're not going to get the use out of it. I remember when DVD players cost over £1,000. There is going to be a cost associated with being first to get involved with anything techy.

There was some miscommunication around what the expected price was going to be, he tried to explain that, but wasn't very convincing. Either way, the price is the price, I don't understand these entitled people (reddit users!) who seem to demand that it be sold much cheaper because of their expectations of the price.

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2016- the year of VR?

Postby scarbunny » 12 Jan 2016, 10:45

jurassicjim wrote:Source of the post

The Occulus guy said that the actual cost of all the bits is a fair bit more expensive than the cost of the bits on a phone and we're happy to pay £600/700 for a phone every 12/24 months. Was quite a good point he raised I think.

j


But very few people by their phones outright, most people just renew their contract pay a token up front fee for the new shiny and continue paying however much a month they pay for an essential service. The Occulus is a massively expensive luxury that needs a not insubstantial machine to use it with. Assuming your PC is a couple of years old you are looking at an outlay of £1200+. At that level of required investment we will end with a self-fulfilling prophecy, people won't want to buy the thing as there isn't any games/software making use of it so adoption will be slow, developers will be less keen to invest millions of dollars into wide spread software compatibility as the install base is so low. people won't want to invest because nothing supports it, it's the motion control problem.
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2016- the year of VR?

Postby jurassicjim » 12 Jan 2016, 12:52

scarbunny wrote:Source of the post
jurassicjim wrote:Source of the post

The Occulus guy said that the actual cost of all the bits is a fair bit more expensive than the cost of the bits on a phone and we're happy to pay £600/700 for a phone every 12/24 months. Was quite a good point he raised I think.

j


But very few people by their phones outright, most people just renew their contract pay a token up front fee for the new shiny and continue paying however much a month they pay for an essential service. The Occulus is a massively expensive luxury that needs a not insubstantial machine to use it with. Assuming your PC is a couple of years old you are looking at an outlay of £1200+. At that level of required investment we will end with a self-fulfilling prophecy, people won't want to buy the thing as there isn't any games/software making use of it so adoption will be slow, developers will be less keen to invest millions of dollars into wide spread software compatibility as the install base is so low. people won't want to invest because nothing supports it, it's the motion control problem.


That's all true, but I don't know why people are up in arms about the cost. Tech is expensive. I can't afford loads of things I would love but I don't complain about it.

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