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Interview: Valve's Chet Faliszek On The HTC Vive Pre

We sat down with Chet Faliszek, games writer, self-proclaimed Mr. Awesome, and the public face of Valve’s SteamVR efforts at CES. He was at the show to help demonstrate the latest iteration of HTC's and Valve's VR hardware, the Vive Pre (which we liked enough to make one of our Top Picks for CES 2016), and after we got a chance to try out the Pre, Chet was kind enough to answer some of our questions.

Tom’s Hardware: So, about the Mura correction: We assume it’s combination of hardware and software. and obviously you can’t disclose any details, but is there any involvement with the GPU vendors in the technology, or is it strictly something HTC and Valve worked on?

Chet Faliszek: We’re only really talking about the result of it then, not the technique and what we’re doing. And the result is just that we want to have richer and more vibrant colors. [Since this interview, we discovered this interesting Reddit thread that speculates what the Mura correction is, and if it is correct, it has to do with calibrating the OLED displays to fix “subpixels having non-uniform brightness,” and this is something Oculus is already likely doing on the Rift]

TH: Because prior to what you showed today, people were speculating that HDR was the “breakthrough” feature. I know AMD has been talking about HDR in its next generation GPUs -- what’s your opinion on HDR being part of the VR imaging stack?

CF: Well, that’s just one piece. It’s got to be all the pieces of it, right? And I think if you look at our visual system now, it’s brighter, and if you do it comparatively, how much brighter it is and how much that adds to it, I think the logical conclusion is that down the road it will keep getting brighter.

Look at it this way: We’re in this weird place where we actually started super high-end, and then we’ve kind of brought other people on, but if you look at how VR has been progressing, it’s gotten all these other things… We keep adding things to it, and it’s coming to a place where...room-scale VR is going to be the standard in three years. And it’s going to be brighter – we’re not going to get darker, right? We’re just going to get brighter. If you look at all these things, they have a trajectory to them, and one of them I would say would be brightness, yeah.

TH: Valve’s Source was the first graphics engine to introduce HDR, so it’s interesting that HDR may become part of VR, given your history with it.

About the Chaperone: From what I understood, when I first tried the Vive at MWC, the cameras were there, and with HTC’s experience with camera technology, I always thought that they were there for that reason, for the very reason we’re seeing here, and do I remember seeing in the setup guide that there was some mention of the detecting foreign objects?

CF: No, we’ve always known…like, we’ve been working and thinking about room-scale from the very beginning. This is always what we wanted to do, so we always knew we were going to have this and how it was going to work. We had separated it out, by greater degree of experimentation [and] flexibility, to see what we really needed. We had a bunch of speculation, but until you start using it and seeing “What can you really do? And what can actually work?,” you don’t know. And so we disengaged the camera iteration from the headset iteration.

TH: When I first tried to explain the new Chaperone system to people after I tried it, they didn’t seem to get how revolutionary it is. But when I thought of playing Elite: Dangerous, and the fact that it will enable you to get out of, walk around, then return to your virtual cockpit (your desk chair in real life) without taking off the HMD and breaking presence,  I realized how significant an innovation it is.

CF: So if it’s the first time you’re playing Elite: Dangerous, it says [to] sit down in your chair. Okay, and now stand behind it, and now [the Vive knows where you are]. In the same way that it took everyone to see VR the first time to get how special it was, I think it’s the same way with this. Because it’s so obvious, you miss how obvious it is.

TH: Being from Valve, you are working closely with developers -- any inkling of what developers have said that they’ve seen from the new tech of the Vive Pre?

CF: So there are some developers that already have it and have been getting ready for CES and the upcoming Valve Content Showcase in Seattle, but not everybody has had a unit where the camera has been working, so it’s going to be interesting to see what they do with the camera when they get a Pre.

So that’s one of the reasons why we’re going to have 7,000 dev kits go out. The idea is that every developer will get a new kit, [and] we’ll expand that group out, and the idea is to make sure that they can play with it, and to see [what] comes from it, right?

TH: What about the new Chaperone system and multi-headset usage? Can you think of a way that the new Chaperone can help in that environment?

CF: Well, I think that most people are going to have multi-player be in separate instances, and people will still need to attach [the HMD] to a separate computer.

Like at work, we work in squares, so you have two and two. And two base stations which can track up to eight people. The way we work now [at Valve], our desks are setup near these squares, and you can be seated working in VR, then just stand up and walk over to experience room-scale VR. With the new Chaperone system, instead of having to check if someone else is in the space by announcing your intentions [or removing the HMD], you can just double-click into the Chaperone to see if the space is in use. And we are going to keep progressing with improving the functionality of that.

TH: One thing I’ve been interested in is how you get people to communicate with you from the outside world without breaking presence. If something important happens and you need to interrupt them, do you tap someone on the shoulder when they’re in VR when they don’t know you’re there…

CF: It would scare the shit out of them, yeah. 

TH: With the new Chaperone system, you could have a pop-up notification that says someone needs your attention. You simply double-click on the button to enter the new Chaperone mode, and you can have a conversation with them without taking the headset off.

CF: All of this -- if you take a step back -- all of this is about presence. So we [Valve] had, back in 2013, room-scale VR, but if you were by yourself doing it, you were doing this all the time [makes motion of lifting up HMD] and checking for walls. You had no Chaperone system. The first thing we thought was that “We need something to keep us safe.” And the first thing everyone says is, “That’s going to break me out of presence -- that’s going to make me feel [outside of VR],” but no, it’s giving you that safety net. 

So you think, “I can do anything, because if I see anything come up, I can see that, and I can feel safe.” And now, you can do the thing where you use the control [to activate the new Chaperone] and see, “Oh that’s my desk down there, I can do this, and I’m safe,” and it lets you feel safe, because your brain can only juggle so many things at a time.

TH: Yeah, subconsciously [your brain] feels free…

CF: Yeah, until you start using it for a while, you just don’t understand how much it frees your brain to just be in the moment and not worry about these other things. And we don’t like to do VR this way [the way the demos were set up at CES], not because we don’t think you can’t do it in an open room, it’s that we think having your time alone [in an enclosed space] lets you not have to think “Am I leaving my mouth open and is someone taking my picture? Am I looking weird?”

You do that [demo in a closed space] because you want to limit the things that people are worrying about and thinking about.

TH: Does Valve think VR enthusiasts are going to have to buy a new HMD every year? Is that going to be what you need to do [to keep up with the tech]?

CF: We didn’t ship today, even though we have these new systems, because we want to make sure that you have the complete solution. Because what we dreamed up back in 2013, of you being in real VR, in the sense of what we saw on the Holodeck, that you’re in a volume, and its contents are all around you and you’re interacting with it...

All of that was our dream of virtual reality, and people talk about the competition -- our competition is not delivering that. So we’ve been waiting to deliver that [vision]. This April, people are going to be able to get that, and it’s going to be the full thing that we’ve been shooting for: It’s a full system, [and] they’re going to have everything they need. Nothing they have to add on to that, nothing they need to replace.

The crazy thing is that our original “negative one” prototype HMD is compatible with the current Vive systems [controls, content]. That the old hardware is still relevant is important to us.

TH: How did you go from Old Man Murray, to writing some of Valve’s most iconic games, including one of the funniest and popular games of all time [Portal], to being such a passionate evangelist for VR?

CF: I don’t know about the other stuff, I got lucky! [laughs] I used to give someone a ride home from work that worked on the [Valve] VR team. I gave them crap for working on VR because I thought VR – I didn’t think it was stupid, but I thought where we were just wasn’t there yet.

And they were [like], “Hey, we got this demo loop down," (this is end of 2013), "why don’t you come down and see it,” and in the third room, you go in the demo, there’s these white spires. Programmer art. Ugly. Bad. And I just stopped. And I’m like, “This is it.”

I wanted to create worlds like this, and bring people to these worlds, because I am in this bad program art world more than I’ve been in any game world I’ve ever been in in my life. I am here in a way I’ve never been anywhere else anytime in my life.

TH: The first time I tried Aperture Science [Vive demo] at MWC, I cried, because I’m a longtime gamer, and the very moment I stepped into that space, I was there. I could have never imagined that, even ten years ago, that could ever happen to me.

CF: You are the second who's -- two people who have cried. Two!

TH: Tears in my eyes. I was blown away.

CF: [After the first demo], I joined the team then, it’s just been incredible. To work with all these different developers and see all this content...we have this upcoming Content Showcase [at Valve], and I can’t wait to start sharing some of that, because when I go home, that’s what I play.

TH: It’s so exciting for developers now. The games industry was stagnating, [but] with VR, they’ve been freed to explore new things.

CF: And the really great thing was the community around that, right? They all talk, they all interact. Like, if someone is working in locomotion, you can send them to Denny [Unger] from Cloudhead Games, and he’ll talk with them and tell them everything he’s learned. And they’ll go, “Oh, I tried doing this here,” and they’ll have feedback, and they’ll work together. It’s really great that way.

TH: I’m part of the Toronto VR community. There’s a bunch of developers down there, and I know a lot of people, it’s like we’re all part of a VR “happening.”

CF: I think it is! I think it’s that crazy thing of -- like I said, I was first dismissing this round of VR, [and] then you have that experience…the crazy thing is, if you go back to two years ago, to the SteamDev days (next week would be the anniversary), if you look back at everyone that got a demo during those first few days, it was the first time we showed a lot of people room-scale VR demos. You can trace those people...they’ve started the VR club, they’ve started the VR evangelists in their company, or they’ve started a VR company.

Or, like, Denny [Unger from Cloudhead] got it, and Kim [Dr. Kimberly Voll] from Radial Games -- all these people went off and had that same experience I had.

It’s just incredible, and it’s fun to see with developers I’ve known for years, I see more excitement right now than I’ve ever seen. It’s partially like that dream I’ve had in my head, where I’m taking someone to this place, and there’s no hand waving [makes gesture that indicates that the place isn’t as real as promised], and now, I’m taking you to that place. I’m putting your ass in the middle of it.

Alex Davies is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware and Tom's IT Pro, covering Smartphones, Tablets, and Virtual Reality. You can follow him on Twitter. Follow Tom's Hardware on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

  • Bloob
    *sigh* Valve / HTC adds a useless camera / room roaming capabilities, and Oculus adds useless headphones and bundled stuff (like remote and controller). I know they are all trying to make VR the best they possibly can, but it would seem much more logical to me to get the core experience of being a 3D HMD for sitting users right first. That's what it will be used for at first for the most part anyway, and the simpler tech would be a cheaper product, which in turn would mean a wider adoption rate.

    P.S. I know the features these companies are adding are not useless, but neither do I feel they need to be part of the core experience right now. Nor do I feel that Oculus needs to cover the audio-part when there are a host of great companies dedicated for delivering those experiences, I'd rather they set a specification for VR audio and work together with 3rd parties for that.
    Reply
  • sicom
    Room scale VR the standard in 3 years. Do these wackjobs actually believe such drivel? How many people's homes have an entire room they can set aside for VR?

    Vive is cool, but it's also doomed to fail. Its cost will be too high for such an incredibly niche product. Oculus is aiming for the high-end sector much more intelligently.
    Reply
  • Felixander
    I think room-scale is the way to go, and we need to go it as soon as possible, so the Vive supporting it from the get-go is the right approach. When the ordinary person hears "VR", they think about Star Trek's holodeck, they think about movies like The Matrix and ExistenZ.
    Yes, they are blown away when they actually experience a 360° environment for the first time, but the very next instinct is for them to get up and around, and try to grab stuff and interact with this world in a natural manner, just like they've seen on TV, no matter how unrealistic that is. Giving them a gamepad and telling them to sit down and play a game just like they are used to, with only the added bonus of being able to turn your head to look around (which they aren't even required in a "forward facing experience"), will wear them out quickly, and they end up questioning why they spent hundreds of dollars for a headset.
    To achieve widespread acceptance, there needs to be more, we gotta bring them as close to their fantasy as possible, or else they grow tired, rather leave the HMD off and just play their games with better graphics, still looking forward onto a monitor, and when room-scale VR finally hits they already wrote VR off as a waste of money. They have to experience the full promise of VR from the start to hook them, to make them follow VR like we do, and to keep supporting this technology.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    *sigh* Valve / HTC adds a useless camera / room roaming capabilities, and Oculus adds useless headphones and bundled stuff (like remote and controller). I know they are all trying to make VR the best they possibly can, but it would seem much more logical to me to get the core experience of being a 3D HMD for sitting users right first. That's what it will be used for at first for the most part anyway, and the simpler tech would be a cheaper product, which in turn would mean a wider adoption rate.

    P.S. I know the features these companies are adding are not useless, but neither do I feel they need to be part of the core experience right now. Nor do I feel that Oculus needs to cover the audio-part when there are a host of great companies dedicated for delivering those experiences, I'd rather they set a specification for VR audio and work together with 3rd parties for that.

    You don't feel like these things are necessary, but the people building them definitely feel like these additions are necessary, and there's good reason.

    HTC isn't "adding" room roamiing capability. That was the play all along. Room scale tracking was announced the day that Vive was first revealed to the world. The camera wasn't a new addition either. It was always planned, but the early dev kits didn't include the camera. Interanally they have been testing the camera system since day one.

    Oculus added its own headphones with built-in DAC for good reason too. Spacial audio is very important, and most people don't have headphones ready for that kind of environment. By including them, it ensures that everyone has a superior audio experience. Sound is half of the experience, so Oculus took this part seriously.

    You say that should be focusing on the sitting experience, well I would argue that HTC and Valve are considering that with the front facing camera. It actually helps identify objects in front of you, such as your controllers, or racing wheel, or joystick setup. Keyboard and mouse isn't a great experience in VR, but with the Vive you can at least see them without taking the headset off.

    As for the Xbox One controller, what do you expect to use for VR? Games are being programed for navigation with the Xbox controller layout. Another controller style could work, but its easier on developers to have a specific controller in mind.

    Getting people excited for the day they can afford something spectacular will do way more for adoption than a half-assed product that many people can afford right off the hop. A limited VR experience will render people bored with VR, which will doom the medium in the long run.


    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    Room scale VR the standard in 3 years. Do these wackjobs actually believe such drivel? How many people's homes have an entire room they can set aside for VR?

    Vive is cool, but it's also doomed to fail. Its cost will be too high for such an incredibly niche product. Oculus is aiming for the high-end sector much more intelligently.


    You don't need an entire room for room scale. That's the whole point of the chaperone system.
    Move your coffee table to the side, the headset will map out the open area and you can play within that space.

    Many people don't realize that the Vive doesn't require 15-feet by 15-feet. It can use UP TO that much space. It scales all the way down to seated experiences, but the tracking still has benefits when seated, such as the ability to follow your hands properly and the chaperone system can identify the objects on the desk in front of you, such as your peripherals.

    In situation that you only have a seated location, you can still use room scale tracking for a racing game where you enter the car by sitting in your chair, as an example.
    Reply
  • alidan
    Room scale VR the standard in 3 years. Do these wackjobs actually believe such drivel? How many people's homes have an entire room they can set aside for VR?

    Vive is cool, but it's also doomed to fail. Its cost will be too high for such an incredibly niche product. Oculus is aiming for the high-end sector much more intelligently.


    You don't need an entire room for room scale. That's the whole point of the chaperone system.
    Move your coffee table to the side, the headset will map out the open area and you can play within that space.

    Many people don't realize that the Vive doesn't require 15-feet by 15-feet. It can use UP TO that much space. It scales all the way down to seated experiences, but the tracking still has benefits when seated, such as the ability to follow your hands properly and the chaperone system can identify the objects on the desk in front of you, such as your peripherals.

    In situation that you only have a seated location, you can still use room scale tracking for a racing game where you enter the car by sitting in your chair, as an example.

    it doesnt matter, roomscale vr will die the moment the first person dies or breaks a bone because they are an idiot, than other people will not do room vr because of it too.

    room vr will work great with augmented reality, but not virtual reality.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    You don't feel like these things are necessary, but the people building them definitely feel like these additions are necessary, and there's good reason.

    HTC isn't "adding" room roamiing capability. That was the play all along. Room scale tracking was announced the day that Vive was first revealed to the world. The camera wasn't a new addition either. It was always planned, but the early dev kits didn't include the camera. Interanally they have been testing the camera system since day one.

    Oculus added its own headphones with built-in DAC for good reason too. Spacial audio is very important, and most people don't have headphones ready for that kind of environment. By including them, it ensures that everyone has a superior audio experience. Sound is half of the experience, so Oculus took this part seriously.

    You say that should be focusing on the sitting experience, well I would argue that HTC and Valve are considering that with the front facing camera. It actually helps identify objects in front of you, such as your controllers, or racing wheel, or joystick setup. Keyboard and mouse isn't a great experience in VR, but with the Vive you can at least see them without taking the headset off.

    As for the Xbox One controller, what do you expect to use for VR? Games are being programed for navigation with the Xbox controller layout. Another controller style could work, but its easier on developers to have a specific controller in mind.

    Getting people excited for the day they can afford something spectacular will do way more for adoption than a half-assed product that many people can afford right off the hop. A limited VR experience will render people bored with VR, which will doom the medium in the long run.

    The developers feel like the features are necessary, but different developers feel that for different features. Kind of makes their feelings pointless. :)

    I already provided a solution for the audio, and a "Use XBox One controller for recommended experience" -sticker would have been enough for the controller. I would expect quite a lot of people interested in VR already owning a controller (whether XBox one or one that is similar, but can use the same mappings).

    The camera on Vive may be a decent addition, to see your controller, but I doubt it is something that makes or breaks the first wave of VR. Especially with dedicated controllers coming soon.

    I doubt the omission of the features I mentioned would make the first VR (home) experiences more limited, since most of the first wave experiences are likely to be adaptations of existing products / dual releases for regular displays.

    And while we are talking about necessary features for a great VR experience, both headsets lack a high (enough) resolution display and eye tracking.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    17355052 said:
    You don't feel like these things are necessary, but the people building them definitely feel like these additions are necessary, and there's good reason.

    HTC isn't "adding" room roamiing capability. That was the play all along. Room scale tracking was announced the day that Vive was first revealed to the world. The camera wasn't a new addition either. It was always planned, but the early dev kits didn't include the camera. Interanally they have been testing the camera system since day one.

    Oculus added its own headphones with built-in DAC for good reason too. Spacial audio is very important, and most people don't have headphones ready for that kind of environment. By including them, it ensures that everyone has a superior audio experience. Sound is half of the experience, so Oculus took this part seriously.

    You say that should be focusing on the sitting experience, well I would argue that HTC and Valve are considering that with the front facing camera. It actually helps identify objects in front of you, such as your controllers, or racing wheel, or joystick setup. Keyboard and mouse isn't a great experience in VR, but with the Vive you can at least see them without taking the headset off.

    As for the Xbox One controller, what do you expect to use for VR? Games are being programed for navigation with the Xbox controller layout. Another controller style could work, but its easier on developers to have a specific controller in mind.

    Getting people excited for the day they can afford something spectacular will do way more for adoption than a half-assed product that many people can afford right off the hop. A limited VR experience will render people bored with VR, which will doom the medium in the long run.

    The developers feel like the features are necessary, but different developers feel that for different features. Kind of makes their feelings pointless. :)

    I already provided a solution for the audio, and a "Use XBox One controller for recommended experience" -sticker would have been enough for the controller. I would expect quite a lot of people interested in VR already owning a controller (whether XBox one or one that is similar, but can use the same mappings).

    The camera on Vive may be a decent addition, to see your controller, but I doubt it is something that makes or breaks the first wave of VR. Especially with dedicated controllers coming soon.

    I doubt the omission of the features I mentioned would make the first VR (home) experiences more limited, since most of the first wave experiences are likely to be adaptations of existing products / dual releases for regular displays.

    And while we are talking about necessary features for a great VR experience, both headsets lack a high (enough) resolution display and eye tracking.

    Microsoft partnered with Oculus a year ago for this. The controller that is being included doesn't add any meaningful cost to the package. Even if they are paying the cost a retailer would for the controller (which they likely aren't), the cost is at most $45-50. If people still need to have the controller to play with the Rift, then the cost savings are moot. That's like selling a console without a gamepad. It's an incomplete package. People don't like having to buy extras if it's a required item to use the thing.

    The camera in the Vive is a massive addition to VR. You'll see when you get to try it eventually. Those dedicated controllers you mentioned, they're not visible to you while the headset is on withought Vive's chaperone system. It doesn't require the camera for that, but it's a huge advantage over what Oculus has provided for finding your controllers while in VR (read: nothing).

    Your assumption about the games is way off too. There are very few games announced that are being released in VR and for regular screens. The way games need to be created for VR is very different, so no one is putting in that effort.
    The only exceptions that I know of are a handfull of simulation games, such as Project Cars, Elite:Dangerous and Star Citizen.
    Vive games are certainly not being developed for regular screens. Many of them won't even be offered on other VR platforms.

    You seem to be contradicting yourself though. What do you want? A basic VR headset that is cheaper, or a super advanced headset that costs even more?
    The reason the resolution isn't as high as you believe it needs to be, is because the technology isn't there yet. You can't have a 4K screen in a VR headset, even if the displays were available. Graphics cards can't produce that kind of resolution at the frame rates you need for smoothe, motion-sickess-free VR.
    Also, eye tracking is just begining to be a thing in the PC market. It's cutting edge technology that isn't yet supported by game developers very much, and would add even more cost to a VR headset.
    Eye tracking will be a benefit, but its a long way from a make or break feature.

    Oculus and HTC are taking on the problems that they can solve right now. The other features that you think are so necessarry would raise the cost far higher than anything they are including for the first round, including the front facing camera and room scale trackers that HTC and Valve are working on.
    Reply
  • DrakeFS
    *sigh* Valve / HTC adds a useless camera / room roaming capabilities, and Oculus adds useless headphones and bundled stuff (like remote and controller). I know they are all trying to make VR the best they possibly can, but it would seem much more logical to me to get the core experience of being a 3D HMD for sitting users right first. That's what it will be used for at first for the most part anyway, and the simpler tech would be a cheaper product, which in turn would mean a wider adoption rate.

    Except VR is not just about the image presentation. VR is about immersion, which requires more than your eyes to be fooled. What you are describing is basically Gear VR. Its just not same, immersion wise.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    Microsoft partnered with Oculus a year ago for this. The controller that is being included doesn't add any meaningful cost to the package. Even if they are paying the cost a retailer would for the controller (which they likely aren't), the cost is at most $45-50. If people still need to have the controller to play with the Rift, then the cost savings are moot. That's like selling a console without a gamepad. It's an incomplete package. People don't like having to buy extras if it's a required item to use the thing.

    The camera in the Vive is a massive addition to VR. You'll see when you get to try it eventually. Those dedicated controllers you mentioned, they're not visible to you while the headset is on withought Vive's chaperone system. It doesn't require the camera for that, but it's a huge advantage over what Oculus has provided for finding your controllers while in VR (read: nothing).

    Your assumption about the games is way off too. There are very few games announced that are being released in VR and for regular screens. The way games need to be created for VR is very different, so no one is putting in that effort.
    The only exceptions that I know of are a handfull of simulation games, such as Project Cars, Elite:Dangerous and Star Citizen.
    Vive games are certainly not being developed for regular screens. Many of them won't even be offered on other VR platforms.

    You seem to be contradicting yourself though. What do you want? A basic VR headset that is cheaper, or a super advanced headset that costs even more?
    The reason the resolution isn't as high as you believe it needs to be, is because the technology isn't there yet. You can't have a 4K screen in a VR headset, even if the displays were available. Graphics cards can't produce that kind of resolution at the frame rates you need for smoothe, motion-sickess-free VR.
    Also, eye tracking is just begining to be a thing in the PC market. It's cutting edge technology that isn't yet supported by game developers very much, and would add even more cost to a VR headset.
    Eye tracking will be a benefit, but its a long way from a make or break feature.

    Oculus and HTC are taking on the problems that they can solve right now. The other features that you think are so necessarry would raise the cost far higher than anything they are including for the first round, including the front facing camera and room scale trackers that HTC and Valve are working on.

    You most certainly can have 4K on VR, IF you have eye tracking so you can limit the area (ie. you would only need to render at 4K-like density in 1/8th of the screen). Had Oculus and Rift focused on eye tracking from the get-go, as much as they did on other features, we would have it.

    As for contradicting myself, regarding pricing, I just stated my preferred area of focus for VR. As in, if they are focusing features instead of price point, eye tracking and the 4K resolution allowed by it, would be my preference. I guess we will have to agree to disagree on our preferred features.

    17355777 said:
    Except VR is not just about the image presentation. VR is about immersion, which requires more than your eyes to be fooled. What you are describing is basically Gear VR. Its just not same, immersion wise.

    Yes, VR requires more than your eyes to be fooled, but with 1/4-1/3 of our brain dedicated to vision, our eyes are the first ones needing to be fooled. Gear VR also has issues with low resolution, high latency sensors (relatively), power, input options and high price (if you don't own a compatible phone). Oculus did not need to provide the audio experience themselves (which does not mean that the audio experience would not need to be there (AFAIK, it's not there in the Vive), and I fail to see how Vive's camera is likely to increase immersion (except a few scenarios involving racing-sim controllers or similar, it might still be a good additional feature, as pointed by kcarbotte above, but I don't feel like it needs to be a first-gen feature).
    Reply