Facebook's "Oculus Experiences" Pushing Bounds Of Oculus Rift

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Steve Anderson
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Facebook's "Oculus Experiences" Pushing Bounds Of Oculus Rift

Recently, a new development cropped up that really bears discussing. Facebook, reportedly, put out some feelers recently, talking to a variety of studios and individual directors about creating what some were referring to as “Oculus Experiences,” a new breed of video entertainment that was specifically designed to be shown on the Oculus Rift. While this isn't exactly new, it does represent the start of a much more ambitious look at something that was originally set to be mostly just a video game peripheral.

Discussions around the concept took several different forms. Some considered the idea of smaller, compartmentalized experiences that would serve as promotional material for a complete film, like maybe a stunt driving sequence to accompany “Drive Angry” or one of the “Fast and the Furious” movies. Others, meanwhile, considered entire films put to this use; most anything in the found footage vein might do the job here, and so too do a variety of travelogues and nature films. Imagine the idea of flying over the great cities of Europe, over the fields and jungles of Africa, or just chasing Bigfoot through the pine forests of the Pacific Northwest. Granted, there's no such thing as Bigfoot—though there are plenty who'd object to that—but the idea remains. The Oculus Rift has the clear potential to not only be an amazing gaming tool, but also a staggering tool for a variety of other purposes. It may be the king of home entertainment tools, right at your very door.

Naturally, there need to be improvements. The resolution on the Oculus Rift needs to hit that full 1080p, and it'd be better if it could go into 4K for the sake of the likely upcoming flood of 4K material. That gives it a note of future-proofing. But if it could work, it would be the practical equivalent of the holodeck for many, and for decades. Wear your specialized goggles and watch an amazing performance unfold before you.

This could work, and this could work well. We've already seen some starting to make this happen; a South Park-themed Oculus Rift experience already exists, and it's surprisingly sharp even if it does look like it cribs fairly heavily from “South Park: The Stick of Truth” in terms of the town's layout. Naturally, it's going to take more than some starry-eyed dreams of possibility to make this a reality, but if the experiences can keep coming, if the hardware can keep up, if the prices can stay accessible to the regular user...if, if, if....then maybe, just maybe, virtual reality will become the universal and ubiquitous platform it was long since meant to be, rather than the aborted dream it was previously.