Even if you don't know the name John Carmack, you've probably enjoyed some of his games. He was one of the lead designers of both Doom and Quake, remaining a prominent name in the industry for years after. Last year he moved from Id Software to VR specialists Oculus Rift as the CTO. Since then he has been championing virtual reality in a big way.
As if to highlight his enthusiasm for the technology, he got very hyperbolic in an interview with Fortune recently. When asked what the differences were between virtual reality today and previous attempts in the past he said:
Oculus really started popularizing a new approach using cellphone screen technology, a wide field of view, and super-low-latency sensor tracking. It's not crappy stuff that doesn't work and makes everybody sick. When you experience Oculus technology, it's like getting religion on contact. People that try it walk out a believer.
Now, I've messed with the Oculus Rift a few times now, and I am certainly in the believer camp. Putting one on for the first time really is a fascinating experience.The possible application of the technology is ludicrously exciting, and that isn't even specifically for games. For example, Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion supposedly for some non-gaming purposes. Carmack talked about these applications too saying:
But there is also the interesting push for building panoramic content and even augmenting existing content. One of the big things that DreamWorks showed at the Samsung event [in Berlin, Germany] was a traditional movie playing on a screen, which normally would be boring. But they had this animated game engine going on around it, so you had this environment where the characters from the animated movie are waving at you or responding to what's going on in the movie.
I really am jazzed about the Oculus Rift's future and I am very curious to see how it is adopted by non-gaming developers. The technology really could be a huge technological movement…or it could just be fad. We will likely know more when it finally hits consumer shelves, hopefully later this year.