For the past 6 months or so, I’ve been at home using the Oculus quest 2. This is Facebook self contained VR headset, that’s $300 doesn’t need anything else, and allows me to work out explore worlds and do a lot of other things.
It’s basically a portable game console.
But when I look back at when I first used Oculus 5 years ago, in 2016 It was a completely different product.
Let’s take a look back and see what the first Oculus Rift was like, and how it changed to turn into what it is now.
Hi, I’m Scott Stein at CES 2013.
And we’re taking a look at a dream that we’ve had for years virtual reality.
It’s here at the Venetian hotel Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift wasn’t the first time that I was into VR, I liked the idea of VR decades before.
In the 90s I was reading Cyberpunk books and Mondo 2000 and I tried VR in arcades, and I was looking forward to the Sega VR headset that was supposed to come out.
So I’ve been thinking about the possibilities Then when I heard that there was going to be this VR headset that possibly could bring this to life again.
I was really excited to see it.
In 2013, I was going to this hotel room in Las Vegas, where there was a chair and a TV or a monitor and I put on the headset I just sat down And I tried the experience, which was just looking around at this medieval town that I was moving through.
Pretty basic, and right now you think well, so what?
But the fact that I put it on and it made me feel like I was looking around it was really Tracking my head motion was astounding.
And there were other colleagues that were looking at it too, that were also blown away, but we didn’t know when that would be coming out.
Then we got these demos every year at CES like something to look forward to 2015 Was the time at CES that I got a chance to actually move around in VR with the Rift.
That’s when they added some motion tracking with camera sensors.
And there, there were these demos where I saw this dinosaur and I was able to duck down.
There was this table in this Alice in Wonderland type room where I could lean in and look at things And it felt like some crazy holodeck dream.
Now later that year at three, Oculus did another demo.
Alien creatures, it looks like we’re a huge
And that’s where I got this demonstration with Palmer Luckey in the other room, where I got to try out Oculus Touch.
We’re standing across from each other.
This is so crazy.
These controllers that really defined what VR controllers were going to be in the future.
They have kind of like a split apart gamepad with analog sticks and buttons.
And they didn’t just track your hand motion.
They also tracked your finger movement.
And so in this demo I was in this place Right could play around with toys and shoot arrows and I could mow control little toy helicopters.
And that’s when I thought okay, this is completely the future.
HTC Vive is a competing product that I got to demo in Barcelona in 2015 in the spring, and I got to step into this complete holodeck experience in an entire room where I could walk around, and that was even more immersive in some ways than what Oculus was doing.
That came out and it happened PlayStation VR Sony’s product was being shown at the same time where you could ride a bike in VR.
And you could, you know, play all sorts of games where you were diving into these weird worlds.
There were mobile headsets to Samsung Gear VR and Google’s Daydream and Google Cardboard.
Were ideas of taking your phone and putting in a pair of goggles and then suddenly, you could look around and see VR, Samsung Gear VR.
Was a project that Oculus developed to try to figure out a way to explore mobile and get displays and shrink it down to something that PCVR couldn’t do.
And eventually those two fused down the road
The most real world I’ve had in the last hour.
I’m looking at leaves on trees and exercising different Focal parts of my eyes.
The Oculus Rift finally came out in March 2016.
And we got a chance to do one final demo of this before the hardware came out.
Sean Hollister and I spent an endless number of hours In this space in San Francisco, playing as many VR games as we could, some of them using an Xbox controller and some of them using the touch controllers that were also going to come out and we realized the limits of VR fatigue.
Also getting the VR marks on your face, but I have happy memories of it.
I feel like it was overwhelming.
I felt like I didn’t know how long I could play in VR, but I felt like I wanted to do it more.
So when the Oculus Rift finally came out, and we could use one, we were very excited, almost two weeks.
Virtual reality has arrived.
And in it, you feel like you’re somewhere else.
And for a sense of some VR poetry from back then let’s listen, So that’s some lines from my original review.
My eyes aren’t here anymore.
I see wings and a beak, my hands are in front of me.
Crab claws, their guns, their clown loves, their dog paws, am I moving or dreaming?
I reach into my mouth.
I pull out a flower.
It’s me a small flick of my fingers a blink of my eyes.
[SOUND] And I’m gone
What you got with the Oculus Rift in March 2016 was a lot different than what you’re getting now.
You only had one camera sensor stand which you needed by the way to track motion This headset which kind of looks like other VR headsets now and an Xbox controller and Xbox controllers because there were no Oculus Touch controllers yet, so you needed to sit down play games on that controller and maybe move your head around a little bit, but not too far, because the tracking was pretty limited.
When the Touch controllers came out later that year, which had a buttons and the weight of you know, track your hands, you still needed a second camera sensor that it came with which you had to put in special places in your room so that you had this little zone of tracking.
There was no tracking yet inside the headset itself.
Now we have cameras built into headsets that can look at the room and not need those sensors.
But it really meant that you had to set up your own little holodeck space your own little zone.
That was your VR play area with your cable.
balls coming out of the headset into the PC.
And you had to have a pretty serious gaming PC to do this with particular graphics cards and particular ports, USB three HDMI, maybe multiple USB three ports, that wasn’t a given back then.
So the cost of that whole package was also pretty considerable.
Like, the Oculus Rift was $600 when it came out, and that was just for the one with the Xbox controller.
The Touch controllers were an extra $200.
So that’s $800 for that whole package, plus the gaming PC was the reason why we said at the time that there was a really cool experience as on it.
But you really are paying a lot of money for this kit.
Now for a while advanced VR, we’re still stuck the USB plug into a PC or game console at the same time.
You had those phone mobile VR headsets, and they started to fuse.
Facebook released the Oculus go in 2018 which was basically like a self contained Put your Samsung phone or android phone into it only allows you to move your head around.
And that was pretty much it.
Now Google actually had a more expansive and experimental device called the Lenovo Mirage solo that no one remembers.
But it was really like the Oculus quest.
You could move around a little bit and have this tracking that you can move in space.
But Google never really did very much with that device and it didn’t have its own controllers.
It just has one single remote.
The Oculus quest came out in 2019.
That was the point where I felt like the world had seen the Oculus quest was Mobile phone based mobile chip based.
But it added that full motion tracking and those controllers.
And even though the graphics weren’t as good as a PC, the whole experience was so cool and so immersive and so fine tuned that it felt basically as good as the stuff that you were able to try back in 2016.
Oculus quest remain this the standalone symbol of where VR was heading and is heading that nobody else has matched the Oculus quest to came out in 2020 and increase the graphics power even further.
First live demo in VR And of course, one thing that’s really changed over the course of the last five years is that Oculus had been the startup company that was acquired by Facebook.
Those Oculus executives, a lot of them are gone now, and Facebook has internalized a lot of those VR efforts and Facebook-ified a lot of the platform.
You need a Facebook login to use Oculus now.
And Facebook’s plans are integrate a lot of its other services.
That’s the stuff that people who use VR back in the past didn’t want or were worried about.
Where’s Facebook going with that next?
And will Facebook evolve the idea of social media to go alongside that?
We don’t know yet.
But where are we going?
From here, I feel like if I took that Oculus quest two and showed it to my 2016 self, and said, Take a look at this VR, I would have been completely blown away.
Because all that dream versus reality stuff that I was talking about back then became real in that self contained headset.
Now we’re talking about a whole new frontier.
Mixed reality and AR the possibility of projecting virtual things into the real world.
We got tastes of that in 2018 with magically and in back as far as 2015 with Microsoft HoloLens.
Now we’re seeing a lot more devices trying to explore that idea and Facebook is looking to blend its VR headsets.
Into full wear all the time AR glasses that will even have these neural inputs on your hands.
That’s a pretty crazy step that could take 510 years.
And there could be a lot of other companies exploring that to VR during that time, maybe shrinking down to the things that look a lot more Like everyday glasses, or at least be a lot more portable, you could, you know, tuck away and pull out and dive into maybe like headphones for your eyes.
So now in 2021 I’m still excited about VR.
And that’s because for a lot of people I know it’s still their first experience in it.
I feel like there are a lot of friends Clearly 1105 so for the three t A’s that have students in that category, you’re in a new location, everybody else’s testing in the same place that you were before.
The day after the exam is a university, reading day.
See how people wrangle that and where it goes next.
Thanks for watching
Tentacle beast that is look much, larger than me running over my head.
Someone’s whisk ring.
What are those things around me?