After following the VR stuffs for the past few years, I finally grabbed a Vive last week. I haven't spent as much time as I'd like with it, due to general life busyness, but I figured I'd talk about my personal initial impressions. First off, the burning question: Does it work? Does it really make you feel like you're in another place? Short answer: Yes. Within seconds of putting it on, you're somewhere else. It's not just the sensation of 3D space and depth, like from a 3D movie or a 3DS or something. It's actually real. And your brain just sorta accepts it. The tracking on everything is incredibly precise (when it's working correctly), so the positions of your head and controllers feel exactly 1:1 in the game world. You totally forget about the restricted FOV and the visible pixels on the screen and the weight of the headset; it all just melts away. The dream and fantasy of being "inside" of a game world is perfectly delivered. With some games, you almost feel like a kid again, acting out an imaginary role in a totally different world. There's a digital barrier to keep you from walking/reaching too far and hitting furniture/walls, but it's surprising how often you ignore it, especially when you're lost in another world. Nearly every person I've demoed it to has bopped a wall or chair, and many times a ceiling fan. It's just mind-blowing how easily you forget about the real-world and put yourself in another. What have you played so far? I've had a lot of fun so far with The Lab, Valve own minigame/experience collection. While some of the content is just one-off demos, the games in the lab are pretty fun to play, even after a few hours. In particular, I'm trying pretty hard to get better at the longbow game, and have been using it as a morning workout. The table full of toys is pretty fun to jump in and play with, too. Space Pirate Trainer is another favorite at the moment. There's a lot of fast-paced aiming, blocking, twisting, turning, and ducking that make a whole lot of traditional games feel a lot slower by comparison. Another fun one is Out of Ammo, an RTS where you build up defenses from high above, then shrink down onto the ground to help fight off attackers. Crouching behind sandbags and trying to quickly reload your rifle with a bunch of bad guys running up to you is indescribably tense, and I've punched a wall pretty hard while trying to grab a grenade in a panic. I've also touched Holopoint, Audioshield, Light Repair Team #4, Tilt Brush, Job Simulator, Minecraft (via the Vivecraft mod) and a few other tiny demos and experiences. I'm hoping to spend more time with them, and try more stuff, in the future. So far, most of the games are pretty simplistic, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's a lot of stuff that looks totally mediocre when you watch someone else do it in VR, but is surprisingly fun when you try it out for yourself. Still, I'm eager for a more substantial experience to try out, something I can get lost for hours in. More on that later. I use theBlu and The Lab to demo the Vive to other people, who have all been absolutely stricken with amazement. VR is really something you have to show to people - unless you're an avid follower of VR news and developments, there's no other way to get a real grasp of what it's capable of. This wonderful device of the gods sounds like 12 kinds of awesome. Surely there are no issues or shortcomings whatsoever. Well, there are. Quite a few, in fact. As I mentioned, many games are fairly simple at the moment, and while they're very fun to engage with, you'll still be done with many titles after, at most, a few hours each. There are a handful with significant lasting appeal: Wave-shooter-like games like SPT and Out of Ammo come to mind. I'm still looking forward to a meatier game, although I'm glad developers are taking their time with smaller experiments to figure things out. That said, developers are still not quite sure what they're doing, and it's obvious in many cases. Teleporting is a popular form of locomotion in VR, but it controls a little differently in each game. In one game, you touch the trackpad and aim; in another, you pull the trigger and aim; in another, you just pull the trigger, etc. It's like if one FPS had WASD controls, another had ESDF, and another had RDFG. Things like weapon mechanics, item switching, environment interaction, etc. also tend to vary from game to game. Some games seem to take better advantage of the room-scale movement and interaction than others, and a few experiences don't even do much at all with positional tracking. VR menus are really neat, though, and it's been cool to see all the different ways devs have been implementing them. Things look somewhat blurry at long distances, although you can use supersampling to help that issue if you have a beefy graphics card. I've noticed some devs are getting around the issue by using smaller environments. The hardware tracking gets fiddly occasionally, especially if you wear bulky headphones and block one of the base stations with your body, so that the lasers can't see the headset. I've heard it also totally freaks out if you have something very reflective in your room, like a large mirror. I haven't had motion sickness as bad as I thought I'd have it, even in games with artificial locomotion, but I also can't use the Vive yet for more than ~2-3 hours at a time without getting a bit of headache. The FOV doesn't really bother me, since I wear glasses and am used to a slightly lower FOV in real life anyway. Speaking of, glasses fit OK in the Vive, but don't leave much clearance between the glasses lenses and the headset lenses (about 8mm). I'm always adjusting my glasses because I'm self-conscious about scratching the lenses. Was it over-hyped? Under-hyped? Having followed VR since the first Oculus kickstarter, I felt I had a pretty good idea of what the Vive was and wasn't capable of going in. Those expectations were just about spot-on when I tried the Vive, but I was still quite blown away by it. Especially in the first few hours playing with it, it almost felt surreal. There's a lot of hype around VR at the moment, and it can be difficult to understand if you're not following VR too closely, but I personally think the hype is well-deserved, at least for people who have been looking forward to this technology for some time. Final Thoughts At the moment, I'm still having a great time with it, and I'm hoping I can find more time to play with it, and toy around with developing a game for it. For what it's worth, I haven't played a non-VR game since I got it. I've also been interested in game development for a long time, and I'm personally fascinated with the whole scramble to make new sorts of games for a medium nobody's really made games for before. It's also a good exercise machine with the right games, so there's that. I think VR's gonna be big, especially once the technology improves. It's still quite expensive and prohibitive for a lot of people, but if you've dreamed of being inside a video game since you were a kid, and the $800 price tag doesn't immediately scare you away, you should take a look if you can. Definitely try to get a demo, if possible; there's so much about VR that's hard to convey in words, although here I am doing my best to try.