Massively OP Podcast Episode 46: The high price of VR

Would Bree or Justin spend $600 on an Oculus Rift? Probably not in this universe, but it certainly won’t stop them from talking about this new VR platform and its implications for MMOs. Is virtual reality the future of the online RPG genre or merely a fad?

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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Amorical
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Amorical

Denice J Cook The Rift (consumer version launching March 28th) goes on like a baseball cap. It’s basically as light as a baseball cap too. It can slip on and slip off in a second. The only downside, in terms of taking care of kids, is you literally cannot see/watch them with it on. They might as well be in a different room as far as VR is concerned.

gaoth_sgairteil
Guest
gaoth_sgairteil

I think maybe the best thing about VR in the short run is that the PC will finally take some of the thunder back from mobile. For years now, it’s been mobile this, mobile that. I mean, other than how porn is probably going to quietly be one of the main reasons to get one of these.

And as for the early years and waiting to see what people can do with VR in general…I’m actually more fascinated by non-gaming applications.

gaoth_sgairteil
Guest
gaoth_sgairteil

PhoenixDfire Using a VR headset to play an MMO would be interesting and take some fiddling with the configuration…
Overall though, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be neat to play 3rd person games or really maybe any type of game with a VR headset, other than them maybe being low res by comparison to their regular versions. I have some guesses, but no idea really what would work or what would be too annoying, no point, etc.

Not every VR game needs to be a first person game where you swing the sword just like a real sword, and practically speaking, most of what will be available in the early days will be existing games with existing controller or mouse/kb controls anyway.

gaoth_sgairteil
Guest
gaoth_sgairteil

wjowski Styopa Interesting point…I wonder how many people see it that way?
I see it as being more like a $600 monitor.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

I think people are making a big deal about having the VR headset on their face.  How is it much different than a large set of headphones?

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

Caerulei melissaheather Hmmm, that is very interesting.  Can see applications for this for folks with loss of sight.

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

melissaheather Sony needs a big hit for their company in the worst way.

Syppi
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Syppi

Liraven Good call, I bet Bree is kicking herself for forgetting that!

Estranged
Guest
Estranged

@melissaheather

I still play it periodically on my PS3.

PhoenixDfire
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PhoenixDfire

The main problem I can see with VR at the moment is not actually the price, its how’s it’s going to be used in the MMO genre. Presently VR works at it’s best in situations where the player is ‘Sitting down’, so Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen and War-thunder feel a lot more immersive and VR can actually enhance the experience instead of being a distraction from it.

Most people play MMOs in third person view, so before for VR to work properly a good First person view is going to be important, which will also include the Character’s Body. If like some games, that character’s body is not modelled correctly, then when you look about you get this horrible feeling of disconnect. That feeling of disconnect also adds to the feeling of nausea that some people get when using this technology. The main feeling of Nausua comes from the frame rate dropping below a certain point or the head tracking is slightly out of sinc with you head movements. The two issues that I think Occulas is focusing on

The other issue is control method, if like Elite and SC, the ingame character mimics your movements and has the same range of movement then it enhances the experience. The Joystick in Elite:D will mimic the same movement of a joystick your using at home but how are they going to mimmic the block of a shield or swipe of a sword. The fact that you have to memorise your controls and go by feel is a problem that breaks the experience (Although the way the two aforementioned spacegames work is by using a cheap little program called Voice Attack).

However, you don’t have to spend $600 ( graphic cards upgades)  to see if VR works for you. If you’ve got a high end Android phone (Nexus 5 or later) using that, a decent headset and software total cost £20 ($30), I was able to get this working in Elite: Dangerous.

See what it’s like landing on a planet in Elite: Dangerous with Google Cardboard

BTW. No matter what headset you buy, you will look like an idiot to other people while playing.The Mrs said I looked like something out a Borg cube with that many wires coming out of my head and into the computer and in one of my video’s you can hear her laughing in the background.  Just accept it and move on.  ;-)

Liraven
Guest
Liraven

Regarding kids and touching moments in MMOs, I’m surprised no one has mentioned Gwen, the flute-playing, carefree little girl from pre-Searing Guild Wars who looks up to your character as a hero. I kept the tapestry shred she gave my character for years, hoping one day to find out if she’d survived the destruction of Ascalon. It was such a cool moment in the Eye of the North expansion when Gwen returns all grown up and a hero in her own right. I’ll admit to getting a little choked up in GW2 when you can hear the sound of a flute playing near her grave in Ebonhawke.

Zulika_Mi_Nam
Guest
Zulika_Mi_Nam

melissaheather Estranged Zulika_Mi_Nam I never was able to hold my own for very long at fighting games.  I may have been able to win a few against an average player, but I remember getting my butt handed to me much more often than winning on those.

Caerulei
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Caerulei

melissaheather Caerulei Yep, that is why I think it is so cool!  Looking forward to getting my own oculus.

kgptzac
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kgptzac

Ket_Viliano The comparison is a bit skewed I think.  Those who buy the most expensive graphics card know they’d get at least some improvement of performance on a wide range of games.  Yet we don’t even know what’s out there for OR, apart from a few launch titles.  I suppose in a year, in depth review, software improvement, and finally more promising games will be far more enticing factors to buy the hardware, than the said price drop.

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Caerulei VR works with just one eye.

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

zenaphex and they will !

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

Bluetouchpaper I hope so, meaning there is something way slicker we all use ;)

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Kanbe Ah, well this is just one of those many zillion things that Second Life does very well.  You have your choice of pregnancy apps/programs that will cause your avatar’s tummy to swell over a shorter or longer gestation period you choose.  You have to respond to cues during this pregnancy or you can actually lose your baby.  You have a birth event, and they make baby avatars and there are endless baby shops for dressing them and baby showers and weddings and wedding shops and such.   Family role play is something a fair number of people do, having a virtual home, husband, child, pet, etc.

melissaheather
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melissaheather

Estranged Zulika_Mi_Nam i once played Gauntlet II for 6 hours for only $0.50.   And it could have gone on indefinitely, I just was burned out by then.   But set a personal record lol.

melissaheather
Guest
melissaheather

I read a pretty good article yesterday that contrasted the Vive, the Rift, and PSVR.  It in no uncertain terms declared PSVR to be a step below HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in just about every way.  However, due to the installed base of PS4’s (36 million sold), the writer opined that this mid-level experience (better than cardboard, less than the Rift) would still be the deal-maker-or-breaker for VR in this round of tech.  It was enough to convince me that I probably won’t be getting a PS4, for technology reasons alone, I still believe Sony is going to push the limits of their gear to give the best experience possible.   The concerning thing is that the review suggested that it just wasn’t enough to compete with Rift and Vive for the enthusiast market. 
Cardboard is as simple as it gets, yet fun and sometimes very compelling.   I do think PSVR will be “good enough”, but I know I’m in that 1% that will be getting the Rift or Vive.
The last concerning thing was some detailed statements made by a game dev that the Rift had a far superior dev kit and SDKs, and declared the ones for the Vive to be “janky” and opined that it would hold them back in the short run, if not long run.
Yesterday there was a completely unsubstantiated rumor that the Vive would be as much as $1500 with sensors and accessories.  That’s no-deal kinda money for the 99%. 
So I guess Rift and Vive remain on my radar – but I can only afford one.

Kanbe
Guest
Kanbe

http://irowiki.org/wiki/Adoption_System
The only mmo with children that I know of is Ragnarok online. Once a couple got married in game they could adopt another player and that would cause the adopted played to become a chibi version of their class. It was cute and there were some benefits like being able to summon your parents to your location and I believe there was also an xp boost if the family partied together.
Theres also some stat hits for the child which isnt great but you’re cute, you’ll get by ; D

Denice J Cook
Guest
Denice J Cook

Besides the ridiculous price tag for something with no concrete gaming library to back it up with,  I can’t imagine having to take these things off every five minutes to answer the phone, let out the dog, help kids with homework or whatever.  If I didn’t play MMOs with interruptions, I wouldn’t get to play them at all, and this thing just isn’t going to cut it for a parent with family, friends and a job.

Estranged
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Estranged

Zulika_Mi_Nam I was that guy able to play MK all night for 25cents.  Good times.

Valhalla Awaits
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Valhalla Awaits

Quincha BalsBigBrother Styopa Their assumptions seem dead-on to me. Steam statistics back them up largely, but steam says 1% is estimating it a bit too high. 90fps is damn hard to achieve in modern games at all times, because games are very poorly optimized due to consoles only needing 30 fps.

Valhalla Awaits
Guest
Valhalla Awaits

“Podcast theme: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU7LZSxkIdA” from Dawntide”
Holy crap, I actually remember that game. I assume it shut down 2-3 years ago by now?

Veldan
Guest
Veldan

Loyheta With a 360 or a good PC it’s very clear what you’re going to get for it. With the Rift it’s not, because we’ve barely seen any VR games yet. That’s the biggest reason not to buy one, for me. EVE:Valkyrie isn’t enough to make me spend €741

Cartap
Guest
Cartap

I already own the computer to run VR and if it actually was $600 I might consider it, but it’s not $600, it is 742€, and that puts it from expensive to insane. So in practice this thing relies on the US market because internationally it is ludicrous.

Telos_
Guest
Telos_

The price is too high.  I keep seeing comparisons to phones and televisions, but keep in mind, those two technologies have been around for over 50 years now.  VR is relatively new still, and putting a high price on it will keep devs from purchasing it.  They aren’t going to make VR software for only a 0.00001% userbase.  The cheaper price from the Dev Kits (DK1 & DK2) were affordable to indie devs, and that’s why there was so many indie software projects for it.

Ket_Viliano
Guest
Ket_Viliano

Bluetouchpaper Ket_Viliano Quincha  They were, you could kill a man with one of those things. Thick and dense enough to stop a bullet too. Solid, they were.

Zulika_Mi_Nam
Guest
Zulika_Mi_Nam

I played a crapload of VR with this beast on my head in 92 & 93 – so any of the new these units will feel light to me.  There was a button on the controller to move forward in-game, but ducking and turning worked as expected.
That movement response was lost on most people and the reason why I played many games for free (usually until I got tired) in the old school arcade duel environment where the challenger pays for the previous winners game to challenge him and the winner stays until he is dethroned or gives up <–that was the way of the old skool arcade son! -ask your elders about standing in line to play Mortal Kombat for an hour, getting housed in 2 minutes, and having to get back in line to try again after putting there quarter in a line on the machine.

I listened to the How to Murder Time podcast yesterday and they bought up a good point.  They thought the units will be good for games in which you will be operating a vehicle via a controller (Elite, Eve, or driving games), but are not entirely sold that they do not appear to be that useful for others – like the typical MMO.  Anything that requires using a lot of keys while not being able to glance for quick placement corrections could be a pain.

Tithegha
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Tithegha

I think the point of view idea that Justin was asking for has been around for a while, as Track IR

Particularly with multiple monitors it can get impressive

Bluetouchpaper
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Bluetouchpaper

Ket_Viliano Quincha Bluetouchpaper I would have thought the old brick phones were useful if you ever got mugged . Try braining a mugger with a modern mobile phone and it would simply bounce off their head and only serve to enrage them .

Bluetouchpaper
Guest
Bluetouchpaper

Quincha Bluetouchpaper might have a mic but it doesn’t look like it has headphones as well I am sure shes flashing a bit of ear lobe . 

She also looks like shes cupping something in her hand . I wonder what it is .

Ket_Viliano
Guest
Ket_Viliano

Quincha Bluetouchpaper  Or, … a built in camera, so you can see the world around you. :P

Bluetouchpaper
Guest
Bluetouchpaper

Also what happens if you want to use a head set to speak to people while you are gaming ? Seems like its going to be quite cumbersome .

Bluetouchpaper
Guest
Bluetouchpaper

How people will view the Oculus Rift in 10-20 years time .

Ket_Viliano
Guest
Ket_Viliano

Look folks, the price is a minesweeper.

Perhaps I should explain just a few very obvious things ( obvious to me ) about pricing strategy.

Occulus is the first company to take pre-orders on a VR headset, they have no firm idea of what the competition may do. They may have a dev version of Vive or Sony VR, but certainly do not know what others will be shipping, and no clear idea of the competitions price. Initial sales may be slow, or not, initial production may have a few hiccups effecting supply. They lose nothing by naming a nice, high, unsubsidized price and testing the market to see what demand is really like.
That is all this is, a test of early market demand.
Early adopters are well known to be price insensitive, and will have already spent at least $350 on a 970 graphics card. Those early buyers have some bux to spend, and will not be shy about it.
It is hard to raise a price in the face of competition, but easy to name a high initial price, to put on sale later. I hereby predict a post turkey slaughter celebration day price of $449. You heard it here first, and of course, my guess is law. :P

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

wjowski That will only work on software specifically designed to support it. It’s one thing to buy a tricked out mouse/keyboard/gamepad/headset that’s going to be almost universally functional across software.
That’s one of the big sticking points, IMO.

wjowski
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wjowski

Styopa 
It’s not just that it’s 600 dollars, it’s that it’s 600 dollars for a peripheral.

Syppi
Guest
Syppi

Esoteric Coyote You win the internet today!

Syppi
Guest
Syppi

Caerulei People can adjust to almost anything, particularly when you have two of something.

BalsBigBrother
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BalsBigBrother

Styopa For me I think its more that price plus the cost of upgrading your PC to the recommended specs too. So that is what another $300 or so on top of that for an Nvidia GTX 970 and you may still need some other stuff too which is more money.  Nvidia themselves have estimated that there are only 1% of computers globally that are VR ready at this point so a lot of people will need to spend a fair chunk of monies if they intend to get into VR.
This is all for something that while a lot of industry people are saying is the next big thing it hasn’t really made any waves outisde with non gaming public and they haven’t even really got all gaming people on board either.  That cost is not going to make it any easier for them to get that toehold they will need to push into other market areas. 
So at this point while VR is cool tech its an overpriced niche item or at least that is my perception of at this stage in its development and I don’t think I will be gaining anything by jumping in early.

paragonlostinspace
Guest
paragonlostinspace

Annoyance Wear. I loved that term Bree.

Styopa
Guest
Styopa

I don’t really get the furor over the high cost of VR.

It’s $600….wasn’t it originally speculated to be at $400?  Not that big a difference, really.

I remember buying a new 386DX-20 MHz computer with IIRC EIGHT megs of ram and thinking I practically stole it for $2300.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Katashi Veldan

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

deekay_zero 1radicaldreamer Yeah GW2 is great for exploring if you can find it within you to totally ignore all the little map flashies and foursquare checkin points. That’s hard to do!
Today I put him on his own account and let him wander, and he basically spent his time unlocking waypoints in Lion’s Arch. Even a four-year-old likes to get shinies. :D

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Loyheta Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but a phone costs that much, or a laptop, or a lot of great gadgets, and I get that. To me it’s not how big the number is but how much value I’ll get out of it. I use my phone for sometimes hours a day, my laptop and PC constantly, my TV entertains four people, etc etc. I’m not sure I’d get quite $600 of value out of it over the course of its run. We’ll see!

karmamule
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karmamule

Being a gadget hound who has previously spent similar amounts on high-end video cards, I have ordered an Oculus Rift, and looks like I should get it in early April. I’ll be sure to post impressions in some appropriate thread and let all the fine people here know how it’s working out.

Caerulei
Guest
Caerulei

:O Justin is a cyclops :D  High five!
I have one eye that’s been gradually becoming worse over time, I can’t see 3D and have next to no depth perception.  But I’ve gotten very used to it.

karmamule
Guest
karmamule

rogerstim37 *Supposedly* the developer kit versions of the Rift are lower quality than the consumer version that’s coming out.  Whether or not they’ll be better enough to reduce the probability of this for other people will be interesting to see.

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