Reporter Tries Virtual Reality for One Week
For the past three years, a reporter with the Associated Press reported about and experienced the development of modern VR at several industry events, trade shows, and entertainment studios. But he finally understood how amazing-and-frustrating- the interactive 360-degree medium can be when he put up the immersive HTC Vive in his home.
Over the years, he had tested the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive for 30 minutes, but he finally spent a week with the just released $800 VR system Vive.
The following is a recap of his personal account:
The system comprising of the headset, sensors, controllers, some earbuds and many cables neatly packaged in a big box arrived at his doorstep. His office was officially becoming his VR cave.
The on-screen guide said that it takes half an hour to get the Vive up and running with the high-powered PC that he borrowed. It was easy at first to fix the plugs and slots, but then he hit a deadlock as his graphic card needed a cable that didn’t come with the package hence his visit to the electronics store.
He attempted to finish fixing the system now that he had the correct cables. It’s cumbersome placing the sensors to detect the controllers and headset in the room and so he opted to tether temporarily at the curtain rods as per the manufacturer’s instructions that they should be mounted six feet high above the floor on opposite walls.
He thought he was almost in, but the room setup software kept on crashing despite all the gizmos and software having green lights. He reached out to the HTC tech support and after so many attempts, the support team says that the only solution for his operating system is for it to be uninstalled and then reinstalled, which he can’t do
Can he make the Vive work?
The HTC tech support sent him an email and it turned out that his $3,000 graphics card wouldn’t work with the Vive, so he exchanged it with a $300 certified one for VR and then it worked perfectly. The goggles started showing images then transported inside Aperture Laboratories, the mind-bending setting of the game series, “Portal”.
To him, it felt like Christmas morning wanting to experience everything at once. He jumped around over 30 VR titles from a cartoon beach to standing atop a mountain. For the next 10 hours, he checked out several different VR experiences. Although he had a lot of fun, it wasn’t as compelling as he thought it would be.
His body felt like he was at an amusement park the whole weekend and he felt like he got punched in the face.
Besides dizziness, he was surrounded by a phantom wall in the real world. Vive has a “chaperone”- a gridded barrier that comes up when the user moves too close to the edge. He was imagining that wall everywhere he went, because of seeing so much the day before.
He decided not to try VR at all on the fourth day.
He felt more like himself again after recovering from the VR binge and was excited to experience “Hover Junkers”.
He learned that you can change the “chaperone” settings to be less obtrusive and he discovered the headsets’ front- facing camera has a neat feature that provides a glimpse of the real world when navigating the Vive’s menus.
He tripped over the massive cord that protrudes on the headset when trying to return a serve in “Selfie Tennis”. He didn’t completely fall over, but he did break a picture frame with one of the controllers.
His subconsciousness was affected by VR which he thought could be a coincidence because he had been having weird dreams that week. Even when he wasn’t in VR, that’s all he was thinking about.
Nevertheless, he said he wasn’t really fulfilled.
In the years leading into this week, he had been enthusiastic about VR and he was hoping when he tried VR that he would get the same sensation that he felt when he first played “Super Mario Bros”.
He concluded after the 7 days that his head hurt again and he wanted to lay down. So not a very positive experience, but everyone of course has their own view.