Being visually immersed in a virtual world is great and all, but being able to physically take on the role of your favourite characters as well is a whole new world. Literally. So far the VR headsets released are only capable of truly replicating the former – for obvious reasons – enter the ‘ROVR’, a VR friendly omnidirectional treadmill/locomotion platform by WizDish that allows you to be fully immersed into the VR world by combining motion and visual effects.
With the ROVR creating a fully immersive feeling when it is combined with the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear or HTC Vive, and means you are able to experience your games as if you were really there. This adds a whole new dimension to gaming as your body will dictate your movement which could give those in better shape a competitive edge over others. It could also remove a few of the less immersive functions from future controllers, such as sprint and crouch buttons. Because if there is one thing that gamers hate more than exercise, it’s holding down the run key for an eternity – just ask any DayZ player.
With the ROVR you also get a pair of ‘special shoes’, now they’re not designer but they do have a purpose; they allow you to slide around the slippery surface, allowing you to move your legs very easily and simulate walking without having to move from the spot. The platform is slightly concave to allow you to walk more naturally than if it was flat. It also contains a microphone inside it and picks up the vibrations from your movements so it can tell where you were want to go.
The ROVR is currently compatible with Half-Life2, Team Fortress2, Minecraft (the VR version) and some upcoming titles. Out of all the VR hardware currently circulating this is what I am most excited to get my hands on. However, the price – as you have probably guessed – is pretty high as it’s currently priced at £399/$569 but it is expected due to the technology being some of the first of its kind.
The most exciting part of the ROVR is its potential to change the world’s perception (and reality) of gaming, from something that is often a direct cause of health problems and chronic couch potato-ism, to a ‘real’ alternative to classic exercise and an acceptable way to socialise. They are also sighting physical rehab, exploring architecture, and military training as potential uses. Truly exciting times are upon us.
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