The Oculus Rift can be purchased for $399 and is a worthwhile investment if you want access to VR content that you can get fit with and is compatible with special exercise equipment you can order today. Oculus is also going through a huge change with the anticipated arrival of the Oculus Go, which has huge potential to change how fit gamers get in shape. Oculus is doing right by their active members but they could also stand to improve from a fitness perspective.
What Oculus Is Doing For Fitness
The Oculus Rift has thousands of AAA to indie VR gaming titles that are available for download through the Oculus Store or through the Steam VR platform, respectively. VR games that are targeted for fitness, like BOX VR and Sprint Vector, are examples of what Oculus is doing right for their fit-focused members.
Oculus could have stuck to first-person shooters, combat games, puzzle rooms, and casual experiences, but they’ve shown that they are listening to their members by making partnerships with studios that have games with dynamic movement and thus higher intensity levels. Having a diverse catalog of active VR games for their members like cardio-heavy Soundboxing will elevate the heart rate and when played consistently can yield real fitness results like David Scott’s impressive 10-pound weight loss.
Health-focused individuals and gyms that have invested in Oculus swear by companies like Icaros and VirZOOM for VR compatible fitness equipment. Gyms like the Minneapolis YMCA are using the Icaros planking machine and flight simulator to attract gym members to new cutting-edge fitness options. The stationary bicycle empire known as Life Fitness has partnered with VirZOOM, bringing virtual reality fitness games to gyms and their members. The VirZOOM bike has even helped one gamer lose 50 pounds.
Room-Scale and Guardian System
The Oculus Rift has increased the mobility of their users by extending room scale with their stand up sensors. One reader set up 4 sensors in a 3m x 3m space and played active VR games like Gorn and The Thrill of the Fight to stay fit in his room scale setup. This is a larger space than some people have room for, but Oculus could extend it’s room scale tracking so it can be used with larger location-based or VR arcade experiences.
No one likes to feel vulnerable to running into a PC monitor, flat screen TV, or wall. That’s why Oculus created their Guardian System (go to 6:00 at the video for more info). To any VR newbie, this boundary setup can quickly become a hurdle to overcome; but to a VR pro, this is a piece of cake. Setting up a room scale VR space to exercise in increases mobility, so you’ll have tons of room to torch calories and fat like a VR warrior.
What Oculus Could Improve On
The Oculus Go is wireless and standalone VR headset that is expected to be released this year in 2018. The tetherless design removes itself from the quality that comes from PC computing, but increases the range of motion for its users. As a standalone, the Oculus Go will get Gear VR store access, making it a headset that has access to over a thousand games and experiences. However, we must tell you that while there are thousands of these games and experiences, there aren’t many fitness games in the Gear VR Store as it is now.
TPCAST is a pricey wireless device ($349) that transforms the Oculus Rift into a wireless headset with its combo RX Module and PC TX Module. This wireless device that attaches to the top of the headset and into a PC is helpful in getting rid of pesky wires that get in the way or pull on the headset, making fit gaming more immersive and enjoyable. What would improve the future designs of the Oculus Rift (if there are any plans) is actually integrating TPCAST into the headset itself and removing the external plastic that adds extra weight onto gamers heads and necks.
Gear VR is wireless (a major mobility plus) and has games that promote activity like Jogger, that use actual jogging in place to move inside a “Frogger”-like VR game. When you look at the Gear VR store you’ll notice that their VR experiences are ones you can gaze at to interact with or point and click games. These types of VR games are not effective for exercise. Seeing Oculus/Samsung develop or build partnerships with studios that create games like Jogger and putting them in the Gear VR store could improve their user’s overall experience and could make the headset a valuable asset to fitness.
The Oculus Store just got a search bar which is helpful for navigating their store online but could stand to include a Fitness section. They have a Sports section but no Fitness one? Surely there are Oculus headset owners who could benefit from easily finding games with fitness value. If you’re an Oculus owner visit our VR Game Reviews and Games sections for more Oculus releases that will keep you strong and lean.