Oculus Rift review round-up: High-end VR headset finally arrives

Fans seem happy with the Rift, but what about the press?

The Oculus Rift is arriving on people's doorsteps, the press embargo has lifted, and the first reviews are starting to come out.

They've been a long time coming - the Rift started life as a Kickstarter project back in 2012, and showed promise when it blew past its $250,000 goal in under 24 hours.

It's the first real high-end headset to hit the market, so hype and anticipation is naturally high. And while it does provide a great VR experience, the reviews suggests there's some improvements to be made.

The Verge

The Verge's Adi Robertson loved the Rift's design, praised its comfort, and was a fan of the launch line-up of games.

However, the lack of motion controls was a major negative - she said many of the games felt like regular sedentary console titles with the VR element tacked on, saying at one point: "Sitting down with the Rift feels as close to being a brain in a jar as humanly possible."

The Wall Street Journal

The WSJ's technology writer Geoffrey A. Fowler wasn't the biggest fan. Describing it at as the product "you hope your neighbour buys," he said it's certainly worth trying but not worth buying unless you're a serious gamer. He also mentioned the Rift's glaring lack of motion controls, writing that players "pass though objects like a ghost" rather than actually interacting with the virtual world.

However, he had high hopes for the future, writing: "I believe the Rift experience will make quantum leaps in fun and usefulness in the years ahead."

Gizmodo

Gizmodo titled their review "This S*** Is Legit," so obviously they were a little more sold on it than the WSJ.

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A man uses the Oculus Rift at CES 2016 in Las Vegas (John Locher/AP)

They said the Rift "shines" as a gaming device, and actually loved the seated games line-up that has launched with the device. Like everyone, they also praised its comfort, design, and immersiveness.

They did warn, however, that those still choosing between the Rift and HTC Vive should wait until the latter's reviews come out so they can make their minds up better.

Wired

Wired's views were summed up with Peter Rubin's conclusion at the end of the video review: "This is not a fad. I repeat, this is not a fad. This is a very real first step into the future."

He, and very few other reviewers, had any issues with the Rift's comfort, performance, tracking and image quality, but he did save some of his crticisms for the games - some of the best-looking ones just aren't here yet.

However, he said this will change over time, as more games come out the motion controllers get released.

Engadget

Engadgets has no doubt that the Rift's "approach to virtual reality is the real deal." They liked the price, a few killer games which would convert anyone to the VR revolution, and praised the overall Oculus ecosystem which looks likely to turn the Rift into an attractive platform for developers.

However, they weren't so keen on the price - at $600 (£421) it's not cheap, and you need a pricey gaming PC to run it as well. It's not going to be bought by anyone but the most ardent fans, but that's OK. As a first generation device, it was always going to be expensive, and VR's cost of entry will naturally drop over time.

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