Oculus VR So Good It's Like "Getting Religion On Contact," Carmack Says

"People that try it walk out a believer," John Carmack says.

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In a wide-ranging new interview with Fortune, Oculus VR CTO John Carmack says trying the Oculus Rift virtual reality experience "like getting religion on contact." Asked what separates the VR tech of today from VR tech of the past, Carmack says his company's innovations are pushing VR forward in a significant way.

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"In the past there were smaller niche companies, research companies, or military projects, and none of them got it right," Carmack said. "Everybody was doing small incremental improvements on the previous formfactor and design, which just wasn't right. And they didn't notice that you can make it something that the mass market could enjoy."

"Oculus really started popularizing a new approach using cellphone screen technology, a wide field of view, and super-low-latency sensor tracking," he went on to say. "It's not crappy stuff that doesn't work and makes everybody sick. When you experience Oculus technology, it's like getting religion on contact. People that try it walk out a believer."

Oculus VR was acquired by social networking giant Facebook earlier this year in a blockbuster deal worth $2 billion. In addition to Oculus Rift for PC, Oculus has teamed with Samsung for a mobile version called Gear VR, which is available now for $200.

You can read the full Fortune interview here.

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spazonymous

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Carmack has flip-flopped on previous opinions he shared a few months back where he highlighted the comfort limitations and drawbacks of VR, including the Oculus. The isolation issues from your immediate surroundings, lack of content for the platform, resolution limit, suitability for games, full 360 movement not really needed - even in real life we rarely need to turn our heads even 180 degrees at a time, and if we do need to look around often it becomes fatiguing, and that's without anything strapped to our heads. It's a long list that will prevent the Oculus from being a big hit beyond early adopters and tech demos. Meanwhile devices like TrackIR fill the gap where gamers just want to look around their cockpit using their existing wide displays. TrackIR is pretty cool for that and makes more sense for gaming.

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hyperbolel

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I still prefer my NES power glove. :)

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elessarGObonzo

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facebook purchased? that sucks. well, there goes that idea

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Paragonss

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Team is still fully in charge.. FB just wants those profits. Google, IBM, etc all working on new VR based net 2.0 projects.

And its not like Occulus is the only player now. Props to them for starting the fire though. Were finally making it.

Plus we have this whole "Magic Leap" Project that sounds promising. AR and VR after all will be our lives 24/7 at some point. (A merger rather..)

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sonicchubb

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This man needs some help . Professinal , serious help . In a place where he can't cause harm to himself or anybody else ....

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ST_SuperDre

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Hmmm, well the formfactor of the Oculus DK2 is far from great (I own several VR HMD's). The one I like the most is my oldest, the forte VFX-1, it had the flipup vizor and excellent headphones, and due to the formfactor it could fit almost everybody..

Also one thing that really needs fixing is the way you setup/calibrate the vizor, it just sucks at the moment, also the way to get most applications to work is also a mess, one application you need to start it like this, and the other like that.. There should just be one way (direct to rift) without any hassle..

Also at the moment I have more motion sickness with the DK2 than I ever had with the forte VFX-1, so I wonder what the hell that's about...

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Gravity_Slave

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@ST_SuperDre

Sounds like you spend a lot of money on gadgets. Must not leave much room for a social life (VR doesn't count ;)

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hystavito

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<< LINK REMOVED >> A flip up visor does sound handy. That's one of those real life issues, because although being totally immersed for awhile is the cool thing, being able to quickly return to reality for a moment is very useful.

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tackle70

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Tried it; the technology is indeed pretty amazing, but I'm not a believer. It removes you from your immediate world (e.g. family/friends) and I can't see it ever really taking off for gaming due to that. Gaming is a fundamentally social experience, and VR is fundamentally anti-social so long as it involves strapping a giant pair of goggles on your head.


Guaranteed that if this hits mass market more people will use it for porn than games.

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ScottW84

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Oculus Rift + Fleshlight + big monitor = GURURURUURURURUURURURUURURUURURUURURURURUURURRU. In all seriousness though, assuming VR does turn out successful and isn't just another fad piece of technology that dies off after a year, I want some resident evil games/survival horror titles BUILT around it.

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Paragonss

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Its already well under way; no sign of dieing out. The sheer number of people who try it on only to fall into tears is evidence enough. And they have been crushing problems at a nice pace.

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Gravity_Slave

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Why would you need a big monitor?

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robijasa

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<< LINK REMOVED >>

I was about to type the exact same question :)

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Hellbishop

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May the spirit of technology guide us all in the illuminating light that is John Carmack. For verily the id is imprinted upon our minds eternally.

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Gravity_Slave

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Oh the hubris. Problem with this snake oil salesman is that as good as the VR looks on their demos, what he fails to mention is that the consumer won't be getting the hi tech models they're using.

The head sets, software and hardware they're running is in the tens of thousands $. Honestly, what do you think you're gonna get for a few hundred? Exactly.

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Paragonss

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah in the linear world.. we left that a few years back.. Welcome to the exponential curve. All the current game changers are pushing with the agenda not to rape your pocket but to spread their tech so the price can be affordable. They want to change the world not just empty your bank.

Btw your not even close on describing their hardware lol (10s of thousands LOL)... The whole point is they are pushing for mid range. Of which these days is moot.

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ST_SuperDre

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<< LINK REMOVED >> The headset (DK2) is a $350 (excluding VAT) headset, and the hardware needed to run that headset isn't even surpassing $1000 (Nvidia GTX760 is excellent for the DK2, a bit better will be needed for the Consumer version).. Yes, don't expect it to run at 75 or 99 fps on a midrange PC.. but for tens of thousands of $ you'll get much MUCH better hardware than the Oculus Rift..

I guess you haven't used the currently available DK2, there is nothing special about those compared to the ones they used before releasing those. So the current incarnations they are using will be around the same price (excluding VAT)..

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Gravity_Slave

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@ST_SuperDre

Well you described a consumer model. Not even close to what They're using with the Oculus Demos. Even with a mid-range set up, you'll be spending a few thousand (on top of the $2-$3k PC you'll need, excluding the VAT of course)... I'm sorry, we're you making a point?

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ST_SuperDre

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<< LINK REMOVED >> uhhh, they ARE using the DK2 at demo's and now they are using the Cresent Bay prototype, which is just a bit better than the Gear VR... You really have no idea what you are talking about.. Make sure you first know what you are talking about before you are talking nonsense... The first consumer model will even be a bit better as the current Cresent Bay prototype which they are using for demo's..

And the PC you'll need to run this won't be more than $1500 (excluding VAT) and that's propably to get Battlefield 4 on ultramode running on the CV1, which will sell for about $350-$400.

So it's far from the few thousands on top of the few thousand $ PC..

Yes, your on welfare pc-gamer won't be able to afford the setup, but people who are actually seriously interested in it will.. If you have ever played 'Private eye' or 'Alien isolation', you'll know it's a completely different experience as to playing on a regular fixed (triple) screen, and it's well worth the money.. And once it actually takes off the prices will go down so even some misinformed person like you can buy it..

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sgthobbes

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if its good finish it and release it to the public and get developers to make cool stuff for it. People know its cool I would like to own a finished product. the only improvement i would ask for is a camera mounted on the frount so it could to augmented relaity better

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TheOtherJeff

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I was keen on getting a rift but as you say, having a camera on the front to add AR would be a big plus; It's one of the reasons I'm now more interested in the Vrvana headset.

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sgthobbes

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Is the Vrvana headset project still alive. They cancled their own kick starter and parts of there website seems to be non-functional.


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TheOtherJeff

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> They cancelled the kickstarter because they found people wanted a consumer version as opposed to another dev kit, so instead of getting delayed producing a bunch of dev kits they're pushing the progress towards a finished product. That's my understanding of it anyway.


Am half expecting a public demonstration a bit later this year. I think the "On paper" specs are better than the Rift's BUT, time will tell.

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robijasa

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"Getting religion on contact", what is that mean?

Something good i presume but i never heard that expression.

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Gravity_Slave

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@robijasa

It means he's full of shlt.

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Peazo

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Walk into the room seeking answers to VR wondering if it is nothing but media hype, but come out believing VR is as good as they say. As opposed to religion where you walk into a church looking for answers and come out looking for answers. Bottom line, VR is more reliable and has an instruction manual with factual data.

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RUMADBRAH

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Everytime I think of VR I think of the movie Disclosure when Douglas goes and puts those big bulky goggles on and stands in that ring thing lol no thanks.

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Gravity_Slave

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I think of that blonde headed simpleton in spandex wearing a welders helmet in The Lawnmower Man.

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cratecruncher

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Who's got time to breed? I got a backlog of books, games, models...oh. I'm disappearing up my own brainstem. Interesting link.

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ArchoNils2

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I own both, dk1 and dk2 and I really enjoy it. Dk2 is miles better than dk1 but still, the low res kills it. I usually play in 4k on a 65'' Tv like 2m away. This compared to the 1080p shared for both eyes is way to far away. I love the idea of it, I like to play games this way, but it really beeds 4k to get acceptable and with it gpus that are good enough to output this 4k in at least 100fps 3D. So yeah, give it a few years and we will be there. I recomment dk2 everyone looking for a new experience, but don't belive it will replace your monitor. Oh also dk2s driver and software is beyond stupid, as the screen is rotated by 90 degrees and the dk1 games are not really compatible

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deathtrooper31

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<< LINK REMOVED >> smh

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ArchoNils2

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> why?

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William20680703

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<< LINK REMOVED >> How VR explains the fermi pardox, we never go into space because clowns like carmack make us play games all day - serious article

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Pliger

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Did you PM this to more people than just me? I'd already read it when you posted the link in the comments.

As was said, it is an interesting read, but fundamentally flawed in several ways. You play video games yourself, don't you? I would imagine so if you're here. I can appreciate the condemning of rampant consumerism and so-called "virtual reality narcissism", but he goes a bridge too far, into sorted territory that highlights the dangers that come with scientific arrogance. Essentially saying reproduction is king — that the capacity for colonization and to conquer the firmament of space should be the highest and most excellent aim of humanity. He's writing off the arts entirely, but I'll hope for his sake that the article was something of a fluff piece straining to present thinly-veiled and provocative social commentary couched in intriguing, familiar terms, such as in an analogy to the prospect of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Otherwise, it's yet another testament to psychology's pitiful inadequacy in apprehending or addressing the realities of our existence.

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elessarGObonzo

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> maybe "everyone" should pay off their national debts to China before worrying about either.

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Richardthe3rd

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It's an interesting theory.

Another interesting theory is the light-speed barrier, along with other physics and biological based observations that suggest how insanely difficult space-travel and intergalactic colonization actually might be.

Using Carmac or his ilk as a scapegoat in the face of the greater scientific realities present in the matter is laughable at best. In my opinion of course.

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Yomigaeru

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I'm guessing that getting something to run in 1080p/60fps would require a beefy rig. If that's the case...Carmack can kiss that mass market appeal goodbye. The majority of PC users likely use overpriced prebuilt rigs that aren't going to be able to turn out those numbers.

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Gravity_Slave

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I love how defensive PC owners get with their rigs "urr my PC can run anything you throw at it!"

Lol give it a year and you'll be cursing at your bank statement upon your next upgrade ya snob

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TheOtherJeff

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It may seem like defensiveness and it might well be in some cases, but it's also a fact. Games aren't pushing the PC hardware boundaries, they haven't for a while now, If you bought a top of the line GPU and a decent CPU 3 years ago it'll be doing a good job with any current games. Some of the newer games are pushing the older hardware a bit but as << LINK REMOVED >> said, you drop a couple of settings off max and it's golden.

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elessarGObonzo

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> to run 2 separate screens @ 1080p takes some extra beef. i haven't found a game yet I can't totally max out @ 1080p with all NVP settings turned all the way up. but, when playing in 3D i have to turn down or off AA and sometimes shadows to get 3D at a good frame rate.

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Spartan_418

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<< LINK REMOVED >> My 2 year old, mid-range PC was able to run most games at 1080p/60fps no problem, though some games required tweaking the settings down a bit

If VR is as good as Oculus says it is then people will be willing to upgrade their rigs accordingly

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Richardthe3rd

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You're guessing poorly.

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