Is the Oculus Rift DK2 Worth It?

Hey guys this is Austin and today we’re headed to the future. If somehow you’ve never heard of the Oculus Rift I’ve done a few videos on the original version and a couple prototypes but the Developer Kit 2 is actually on sale right now if you want to give VR a shot. Pop open the box and you’ll find everything you need to get started including the new positional tracking camera which reads the IR lights built into the headset. From the outside it’s similar to the original Rift but Oculus has changed quite a bit in just a year. Up front you can now pop off the cover to get at the USB and HDMI ports if you need to replace the cables and instead of having a big breakout box like before everything connects to this little dongle. There’s also a USB port built-in to the headset which allows for future accessories to be plugged in.

The biggest upgrade though is inside. There’s now a 1080p OLED display that runs at up to 75 frames per second which is a huge improvement over the original Developer Kit. Interestingly when iFixit tore down the DK2 they found the screen is pulled right from the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Put the Rift on though and it’s a seriously impressive piece of tech. If you’ve never tried VR there are a few demos that really do a great job of showing off what the Oculus is all about. The Unreal Engine Coaster takes you on a ride around a nicely detailed room and is one of my favorite demos as it’s nice and comfortable while still giving you a definite feeling of riding an actual roller coaster. Between the accelerometer built-into the headset and the new positional tracker it does a much better job of tracking your head, allowing you to do things like lean in and out. Another great game is Couch Knights. Most of the best Oculus demos take advantage of you sitting down by putting an actual body into the game which does a lot for immersion.

Being able to look around to follow the action as if you’re sitting in an actual room is easily one of the coolest VR experiences I’ve tried so far. Games like Unpossible are a lot faster and can be a bit disorienting but even here the DK2 is much more usable than the original. The extra resolution helps although you can still clearly see pixels but the faster refresh rate and quicker pixel switching time means that the entire experience is a lot more realistic with almost no smearing or blurring. Not everything is as intense though. Ocean Rift is a straightforward diving demo that lets you explore the ocean which really shows off the huge scale that VR can give and the jump scares when you get eaten by a shark too. There’s a surprising amount of content that’s already available for the Rift including full games with VR support as well as lots of mods to make other games work with the Rift.

Most of these work just fine but rarely will you just be able to launch a demo. This is aimed at developers and enthusiasts who don’t mind being on the bleeding edge and finding workarounds for when things don’t work. There is early support for Linux and Mac however you basically have to use a Windows box right now. I used a PC with a Core i7 and GTX 780 which ran everything smoothly, slightly overkill but you’ll need hardware that can essentially run a pair of 1080p screens at a locked 75 frames per second to get the full experience.

While the hardware itself should theoretically work on anything with an HDMI port don’t expect to be using the Oculus Rift on a console anytime soon. There is Sony Project Morpheus for the PS4 which I got to spend some time with at E3 which is similar in a lot of ways although the screen is quite a bit better on the DK2 at the moment. The difference is that you can order the latest Oculus Rift right now where the Morpheus is at least a year away. The DK2 is a great way to get into virtual reality but it’s not for everyone. If you don’t mind spending a little time getting things to work and understand that there isn’t a massive library of VR content just yet then for $350 the Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2 is totally worth it.

When you decide to sign up just use the offer code austin at checkout to get yourself 10% off and let them know I sent you! Anyway guys thank you so much for watching and I will catch you in the next one!

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