Oculus Rift room-scale

One of the great joys found in using the HTC Vive is the ability to take a step in the real world and have that step translated into the virtual world, and while HTC has made this the default in their Vive headset that doesn't mean it's the only headset to support it. We know Sony's PlayStation VR will support the concept to some degree, and Oculus has already made it clear that Rift with Oculus Touch controllers will allow you to move around quite a bit.

It's not clear yet exactly how either of these systems will work, but the folks at MiddleVR have a room-scale demo showing just how possible this is on the Oculus Rift.

Eagle-eyed readers will see this video and recognize there's a lot more going on here than just an Oculus Rift and the Touch controllers. For starters, there are at least two Oculus Rift camera pedestals. One on either side of the room means there's multiple points of awareness for your position in the room, similar in concept to how the HTC Vive works. You'll also notice there's a much longer cable on that Oculus Rift, most likely due to USB and HDMI extension cables on the rig itself.

The big question now is would Oculus bother?

HTC and Oculus built their headsets to function quite differently, where HTC's sensors project light for the headset to receive and Oculus built the headset to project while the pedestal receives. This difference is significant for room-scale as it requires two sensors to be able to build a total image of the room and set up boundaries. The Vive Chaperone system keeps you from walking into walls, and Oculus has no such system baked in. The end of this video shows a Chaperone-esque system being tested by MiddleVR, which would make it possible for Vive and Rift headsets to function in nearly identical ways.

From this demonstration it's clear a lot of work and extra hardware would be required for Oculus to offer all the same room-scale goodness at HTC. The big question now is would the company bother? Recent statistics from Valve suggests only 52% of Vive owners are using a 2.5m x 2m space for room-scale, and only 3% are using a 4m x 3m space. While almost all of the current Vive games support Standing Room Only mode, there are several games that have been released with hard limits for room size when playing. If a single Oculus sensor can support the same experience that more than half of the Vive owners currently experience, it may not matter when it comes to games being released to both platforms.