Oculus Can Do Room-Scale VR, But It Shouldn't Have To

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When it comes to virtual reality, the ability to actually get up and move your body all around a room is pretty nifty. The capability is actually a key feature of the HTC Vive, with big titles like Google's Tilt Brush taking heavy advantage of it. While the feature can be complicated to set up, requires a lot of room, and can even be dangerous, it is nonetheless exciting and more than capable of putting users into some very unique content that they couldn't otherwise experience. Oculus' content head, Jason Rubin, insists that truly great VR experiences can be crafted without that capability, and offers a few fairly compelling reasons for his claim.

Rubin's clarification on his stance regarding room-scale VR comes on the heels of allegations that the Oculus Rift wouldn't be able to deliver such an experience, mostly due to the design of the control system. When a user's back is turned to the VR host system, the user's body blocks the view of the controllers. According to Rubin, there are workarounds for this, and the system is perfectly capable of creating the same kind of full-room VR experience that one would find on the Vive, though he did not go into detail on how that would work. Instead, he talked about the fact that Oculus has offered tons of great experiences without room-scale VR, and can continue to do so.

Oculus has always encouraged developers to create compelling experiences with a minimal amount of space and with the user mostly facing forward. According to Rubin, the reasons for that do  not actually fall under technical limitations. One of the bigger reasons is that a lot of users simply can't afford a home that would have that much extra space while still being arranged in an every-day livable fashion. While the Oculus Rift and a PC that can use it are big-ticket items, they could be obtained in a sudden windfall or with a particularly high tax return. The high rent or mortgage payment to keep a home that has room for the kind of full-scale experience that the Vive features is a continuous investment, making the feature more of a "nice to have". Rubin did say that Oculus may support room-scale VR in the future, but for now, the system is earmarked for the vast majority of titles to keep the player either sitting or standing in a small area, oriented upon the VR host system.

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Senior Staff Writer

Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, Voice assistants, AI technology development news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]

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