Oculus Rift is the sleeper hit of SXSW

HBO

Oculus Rift rules at SXSW.

A star has been born at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. As an annual gathering point on the rubber chicken pilgrim trail of Hollywood execs and hipsters, SXSW is intended for showcasing music and film talent. This year, the talent is a bit irked, a scene-stealer is in their midst. A virtual reality headset named Oculus Rift -- starring in an HBO "Game of Thrones" exhibition -- is getting all of the attention.

Oculus Rift is famous in gamer circles, due in part to the large amount raised during its Kickstarter campaign. Blogger buzz has now pushed the device mainstream; and a growing fan base clamors for more.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers knew her before she was famous.

Filling in for our humble blogwatcher Richi Jennings, is a humbler Stephen Glasskeys.

 

Bryan Bishop does a reality check:

Last month in New York HBO launched the latest version of Game of Thrones: The Exhibition. It's a...tour that offers a glimpse at [things] used in the making of the show, and it featured the soft launch of an Oculus Rift-powered experience that takes viewers inside George R.R. Martin's mythical land of Westeros.

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An expanded version of the showcase is here at South By Southwest, and the unmistakeable highlight is the fully-realized version of the Oculus experience.  MORE

 

Virtually terrified and really disturbed, J.J. Colao screams:

As the FORBES team wandered [near the] HBO Game of Thrones exhibition at the South By Southwest...we heard a succession of blood- curdling screams. It was Maisie Williams, the 16 year-old British actress who plays Arya Stark on the series, reacting with real terror to a virtual reality experience designed by the creative agency Relevent.

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As Williams' reaction illustrates, the virtual reality presented by Oculus Rift can feel disturbingly real.  MORE

 

Of all the times to ask, Greg Kumparak decides to now:

[At] SXSW, two of the cofounders of Oculus...took the stage for a quick on-the-fly Q&A session about the future of their burgeoning virtual reality headset.

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They [touched] on a question that many have asked since the Oculus Rift started picking up steam: why now?   MORE

 

Like any true believer, Laura Hudson understands:

"We kicked around a couple ideas of how we could use the Oculus Rift, because it has unlimited potential," says Ian Cleary, VP of Innovation and Ideation at Relevent, which worked with HBO to create the experience.

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"What we're trying to do with all of this is trick your brain," says Cleary.

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And boy, did my brain believe it. ... [As] much as I understood, intellectually, that the simulation was entirely fabricated, every reaction in my body and my brain told me I was in real danger, and I had to act.  MORE

 

Gentle Doug Gross is a big, huge fan, of giants:

[The HBO exhibition] is built using Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality headset that has captured the imaginations of gamers since its $2.4 million debut on Kickstarter in 2012.

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Designed specifically for video gaming, the Rift provides a 360-degree field of vision, allowing wearers to view, and react to, their surroundings in a realistic manner.

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Oculus made at least one big fan with the exhibit: Actor Kristian Nairn, an avid gamer who also happens to play gentle giant Hodor on "Game of Thrones."  MORE

 

Hayden Dingman predicted this reaction, twice:

I've seen the future. Again. In a two-floor, marble-and-glass Vegas suite, an unassuming headset perches near a tiny computer tower.

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But that headset is actually the latest Oculus Rift virtual reality prototype, codenamed Crystal Cove. ... We're here to take yet another look at EVE: Valkyrie, the studio's built-for-VR space dogfighting game.  MORE

 

Meanwhile, Edward C. Baig makes Edward C. Baig do all the work:

I'm about to be "teleported" to outer space by having my entire body scanned.

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Shortly after, I don Oculus Rift. ... For 45 seconds, I watch the virtual alter ego I just created explore digital worlds.  MORE

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