It's been three months since I saw OSVR in person at CES. However, at that time we didn't get to see any gameplay running on the VR headset. This week at GDC, Razer showed off the device through multiple games, and I finally had the chance to see games running in OSVR.
I played through two demos in OSVR: a racing game which utilized an Xbox 360 controller and another game which included a Leap Motion sensor so I could use my hands in-game. The racing game was supposed to be fun, since I could look around inside the cockpit while speeding through the racetrack. Unfortunately, there were issues in setting up the game and placing OSVR on my head.
Comfort is a big issue in gaming, especially if you wear glasses like I do. The OSVR headset felt tight around my temples and it pushed my lenses closer to my face. The even bigger problem was the game itself. For some reason, the game screen wasn't centered in the headset and it always shifted to the left, so I found myself physically turning left and getting tangled up in OSVR's wiring. Overall, the errors made the experience very uncomfortable and detracted from my fully enjoying the game.
OSVR allows developers to utilize different devices to work alongside OSVR. In the case of the second game, a Leap Motion sensor was attached so that I could use my hands in the game. My left hand emitted water and my right hand sparked fire, and I had to destroy floating demons with the correct elements. While the headset was still uncomfortable, the game experience was slightly better. The screen was centered and there were no issues when I looked around in the virtual space. However, the sensor did not perform very well. It was difficult to locate my hands, and it didn't always follow my gestures even though I performed the correct movements. When it did detect my hands, there was a chance that my in-game hand didn't exactly follow my movements. For example, I could have my palm face up to prime the element, but my in-game hand would be clenched and bent in an odd direction. Nevertheless, I managed to reach the higher, difficult levels in the game.
The big thing that OSVR has going for it is that it has a lot of partners. I was only able to try two games at Razer's booth, but there's a lot more content available now and in the future. One of OSVR's recent grabs was Ubisoft, so we might see something from the major developer that uses OSVR as well. But even with all the content, more work still needs to be done on the actual headset to make it comfortable for users. The content itself might be great, but if the user experience for the head mounted display is the same as it is now, it won't be a comfortable experience in the future.