The hype started in 2012 on kickstarter pulling in well over 2 million in funding and releasing to date two "developers editions" or prototype headsets.I was pretty interested in getting one but held off until late last year when the last version Dev kit 2 was released and planned on using it with both my Jurassic park map in Cryengine (was never able) and experimenting in Unity with it.
Most of the articles you read / videos you watch of people trying it for the first time will be them saying mind blowing,amazing etc but in truth my first impression was ..its like sitting to close to a old TV screen .The barrier between seeing something believable and staring at pixels was never really broken for me,black images are sharper and more enveloping but white or lighter environments and fonts never appear that sharp and the image pixels always remain.
After a while I did adjust a little,the head tracking kicks in and you find yourself wanting to grab things on screen,duck or move but none of the demo's I tried really felt like a 'holodeck' type experience.Probably the best examples of the rift experience were the ones where you are seated like "Sightline:The chair" where you have time to adjust to the environment and just look around but when I tried anything movement based that's where the real issues hit me.
It took about 4 demo's before I knew I was selling my rift.
Playing Team Fortress 2 which has a rift beta instantly made me break out in a sweat,feel dizzy and want to throw up all over my keyboard.After taking a break and adjusting the headset,reading up on possible issues I tried another demo and same effect.A few days passed and tried again but had the same feeling in any game that involved movement using the keyboard/mouse.
Apparently I'm not the only one who gets this effect and I tried adjusting to it over time but it never passed.To be honest I was gutted as I had a ton of ideas I wanted to get working in Unity and had managed to implement the actual Unity - Rift setup fairly quickly for a demo of my own work.
The future of gaming?
Rift might overcome the motion sickness issue but is has a long way to go in general,that issue aside it was interesting/impressive piece of hardware at times but its telling that of all the people I let try demo's of Oculus rift not one asked to try it again and most wanted to take it off after less than 5 minutes.
The hardware itself is bulky and while not heavy its also not exactly comfortable,the screen is too low resolution and on a basic level its not something I could see be used for long periods of gaming or watching movies.
It sounds like I've been very negative about Oculus but my lasting impression is that it's been a little over hyped and feels like a gimmick:a cool piece of tech that's limited by its hardware needs and doesn't serve much of a purpose outside of very occasional short experience's - it's miles ahead of a Kinect -Playsation Move in terms of that experience but would end up sharing the same space...under the desk or behind the monitor.
The rift could change if the right software came along and gave it a bigger purpose but as it is I would recommend a demo rather than a purchase if you're considering.