Aah, shiny things. How we love them. We all recently got a new shiny thing after looking forward to next gen consoles with great anticipation. Like a group of spoiled, obnoxious, entitled, ADHD, kids, The Ultimate Gamer team now wants the next shiny thing. But what could it be? Honestly, we don’t care… we just want it. Immediately. Here are three possible contenders that could all work together to form a holy trinity of unimaginable shininess.
The Oculus Rift (VR)
For those of you who’ve been too engrossed in a heavy gaming addiction to pay any attention to the industry at large for the past couple of years, the Oculus Rift may be the nicest surprise you’ll see before Christmas Day. It appears to be the first genuinely viable virtual reality headset since the many embarrassing fails produced over the past couple of decades… Eh hem… Virtual Boy…
Right now, a development version of the Oculus can be had for around $300. The fee gives you the opportunity to strap a 5.6” display bolted to a pair of goggles onto your head. Once this is achieved, you can enjoy motion sickness while the 1280×800 screens feed 640×800 pixels to each eye while you have the crap scared out of you by being completely immersed in one of any number of creepy horror games.
That might not sound too enticing, but (by all accounts) the Oculus Rift just might be one of the most incredible gaming experiences in the world right now. We don’t have one in the office to show off yet, but we’ll try and pick one up soon. In the meantime, you can watch YouTube for the many hilarious reactions of people screaming, pulling their headset off in a panicked scramble, falling on their asses in laughter and otherwise freaking out at the realism produced.
Because the Oculus streams two separate images (one to each eye), leaves no peripheral vision outside the viewing area and turning your head turns the in-game camera (a bit like the TrackIR), the experience is fully immersive. Imagine playing Battlefield 4 (which at this stage does not natively support the Oculus, though it may soon), this truly could be the next level of gaming entertainment. Especially as there final version will be 1080p.
So, we’ve now got next gen console graphics and high-definition with a full-view, motion tracking virtual reality headset. As if we aren’t spoiled enough, there’s even an answer to the disconnect we feel while we have our oversize, nerdy butts sitting in our comfortable Lombard-supported chairs.
Virtuix has engineered the “Omnitread,” or Omni, an omni-directional treadmill peripheral that affords us the opportunity to burn calories running around virtual worlds rather than sitting in our lazy boy chairs. And, best of all, it can be combined with the Oculus Rift. When you run in real life on the treadmill, changing direction or strafing, looking in the direction you want to run, the same thing happens in-game.
Delta Six Gun Controller
Could things get any better? Well, the answer is: yes. This particular bit of hardware has been in the news for some time now. The final version for the Delta Six Gun control was recently announced and while some news publications (and self-appointed guardians of morality) are concerned that it’s too realistic, much of the gaming community agrees that it’s categorically the single most awesome peripheral ever conceived by mankind.
The barrel of your in-game soldier badass of choice will AIM wherever you point the Delta Six. Lift this puppy close to your head to aim and the scope in-game will zoom automatically. Swing the gun stock and the same melee action will be translated into the game on screen. You might feel like a dufus tapping the magazine to reload, but you’ll be having too much fun to care.
Fad or the Future of Gaming?
The big question is really this. Although these things seem cool, are they really the future of gaming. Will they be effective, affordable, implemented enough to warrant being the standard with which we interact with our games for generations to come? The Ultimate Gamer team agrees that this is going to be more than just a fad, though we think some of it will be gimmicky. While the technology might develop a little and perhaps other companies with different innovations will capture more market share, we think that hardware such as this is going to be too much fun to fade into the background any time soon.