Virtual reality is a closed market. If you’re looking to get into the new wave of content, your options are extremely limited. Though a decent amount of VR headsets have been popping up that technically work for these type of experiences, the content is essentially not supported by any developers outside of its own development circle. If you want to play any VR games, you’re essentially locked down to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR, or Google Cardboard.
These headsets are great and all, but they all have extremely similar features. Since they were all released around the same time, they only feature differences present in these HMDs are the spacial movement and hand controllers in the HTC Vive, which will be partially replicated once the Oculus Touch launches in October. Since it has been quite a while since these headsets launched, there are new options starting to appear in the market, and the Fove 0 is here looking to enable eye tracking for virtual reality experiences.
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This feature has been talked about for quite a while now, as it could mean quite a bit of extra functionality for virtual reality experiences. Eye tracking could enhance use cases such as more natural group hangout sessions, making human avatars feel much more real. While the small twitches and movements of people are generally unnoticed in everyday life, they are the things that make human interaction the way they are. There is quite a lot of research that has gone into these micro body language movements, and enabling this moves us one step closer to a realistic Matrix experience.
Body language isn’t the only thing that can be enhanced with something like eye tracking. There are a lot of game experiences that could add features based on these minute differences in vision. An example of this could be an NPC noticing you looking at them and deciding to confront you about it. The more we allow computers to understand the way humans work, the more natural these games and experiences can become.
Though the Fove 0 has this great feature and an even higher resolution screen than the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the software support is going to be the primary problem getting the headset off the ground. The HMD doesn’t support Valve’s Open VR standard, and thus cannot use Steam and its library to get people to purchase the device. Lack of proper marketing and consumer hype will likely stunt development for the HMD, and no users essentially means no development. There will likely be some experimental experiences taking advantage of the eye tracking in the headset, but bringing this headset to a high grade of market share will likely be something that won’t happen at all after a couple of months.
What are your thoughts on the headset? Hopefully Valve and Oculus will take note of these new features and implement them into the next iterations of their own headsets.
You can get your Fove 0 here.