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World of Warcraft and the VR Headset: A match made in heaven

World of Warcraft and the VR Headset A match made in heaven
I was reading a piece in the New York Times today about a new virtual reality headset that appears to have the potential to break open the fantasized world of immersive gaming. Called the Oculus Rift, it has 110-degree view and looks like an oversized ski mask. Equipped with position sensing mechanics, when you move your head your character in-game moves its head.

This thing is built for WoW.

Joystiq covered the initial funding of it on Kickstarter back in August 2012, and it appears to be paying off. The initial version is going out to game developers soon, and hopefully by next year we'll get a consumer version of it. The price shouldn't be too bad either, around $200 to $300 is what the Times is quoting.

I'm anxious to see what WoW looks like on this. I've tried WoW (in the first-person camera view you can use with the game now) briefly on other VR headsets, and it looks just like a low resolution monitor is out infront of your eyes, and you're playing WoW on that. It's a far cry from the high resolution and fast response that's required for any serious play. The Oculus Rift, however, appears to have the potential to break that mold with its hardware, which is based off the same stuff you'll find in the latest mobile phones. Those screens, even the lesser ones, have plenty of resolution, and the hardware is quite inexpensive (which is why the Rift is going to be relatively inexpensive).

There's a somewhat popular dystopian image of a young man sitting in a worn down room with VR glasses on, oblivious to the world around him. People have poked at WoW saying that's what it'll be like in 20 years. Far from the truth? Of course -- we're not going to get lost in virtual reality anymore than we already are. But with the right advances in technology, the day may be soon when we'll be able to plug into Azeroth in a whole new way.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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