Friday, March 28, 2014

I finally tried Oculus.



I've seen it about half a dozen times at shows - I just didn't want to wait in the lines it took to play with it. Since good old Zuck bought them - I had to stick it out this time. How can I have a good opinion if I don't try it?

I have to say in advance I have a lot of biases about this product and facebook generally. I'm not as impressed as some because I suspect Oculus is building on an old technology called Smartscene that never really caught fire at the time. To be sure, it's impressive the footprint is so small now. But it isn't Star Trek exciting to me. They have improved lag time in the glasses to almost nothing. It's probably one of the reasons why SmartScene didn't make it other than being too early. If you moved your head too much over time, the lag would give you a swimmy feeling. The weight of the headset would also give the demo guys headaches. You also had to wear separate gloves to control the environment.

I still generally feel like people don't honestly like to wear glasses unless you have to. And it's still unknown how peoples brains will react to close vision viewing. As I wrote about before Google Glass users are starting to experience headaches. Even 3D glasses can make people feel queasy. I think these are product impediments.

Oculus is a somewhat isolated game experience. Yes, you can play multi player, but the person is fully immersed with the glasses and headphones. By default you are shutting out the outside world for full immersion experience. I think most gamers are more social than that. In fact - I think one of the problems the game industry is suffering from right now is that games are almost too immersive. A lot of gamers work. They just want to sit their ass on the couch and play a fun game for a few hours. These days you have to intimately get to know a character and mold it to a likeness of yourself. Seriously - it can take a half hour of set-up just to get through all the back story character trailers before you even start playing. Just let me play! The graphics are amazing to be sure. But I don't want to make a full time commitment to a game. I have stuff to do!

Before Zuck bought this company I figured they would just keep refining things. Now that Facebook is involved I don't actually have much hope of this. The gaming industry is a brutal industry. It takes several years to get out content that you aren't sure anyone is going to play. So, game companies play it safe and just make sequels. Every once in a while you get someone willing to take a chance and make something super amazing like Bioshock.

I think Zuck is the kind of guy who cares more about being popular than really building something that will last for a decade or two. If Sun Microsystems can fail - Facebook is just a tiny blip on technology history. Sun was the (dot) in .com. They were basically the backbone of the internet at the time. Without Sun - you probably wouldn't have webpages right now. That is how important Sun was on the scale of internet history.

Facebook? Not so much. No matter what he thinks.

I also have a side rant about Facebook. Because Zuck is talking to the White House about how mean they are for spying. Which is the most dishonest crap I've ever seen. I will tell you why.

I have a facebook account. It's a dummy account. None of the information I used to fill out getting signed up is real. Having said that - somehow facebook's algorithms managed to connect me to my real mother who has been deceased for quite a while. For a few months Facebook would send me emails asking "do you know this person"? In the way they do to make you connect with people. The first couple of times it was super creepy. I told Mr S. it's like she's trying to haunt me from the grave. It felt kinda fucked up actually. We were estranged. And I didn't remember the information I gave them so I could write them and tell them to stop. Plus that would only confirm their algos were right and I didn't want to do that. If facebook can figure out connections like that - they are spying quite a bit more than you think.

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