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Games Technology

Valve's "Room Scale VR Survey" Finds a Lot of People Play In Their Bedrooms (itworld.com) 137

itwbennett writes: Earlier this week Valve published the results of a "Room Scale VR Survey" completed by 2008 members of its VR Community. The findings: 860 (~43%) of respondents said their gaming PC was in their bedroom and 1,393 (~69%) said they were not willing to move their PC to accommodate a VR experience. The average space respondents feel they can devote to VR is about 8.5'x 9'. Why does this matter? Well, last March, Valve and HTC debuted the HTV Vive virtual reality system consisting of a VR visor, a couple of custom controllers and a tracking system the allows the user to wander around a 15'x15' area. 'While the Vive system certainly sounds impressive I've had questions about how practical it'll be,' writes Peter Smith. 'How many people have a 15'x15' clear area in front of their PC? Turns out, not many.' 'According to this survey at least, using all of the 15'x15' space the system can track is going to leave most users frustrated,' adds Smith.
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Valve's "Room Scale VR Survey" Finds a Lot of People Play In Their Bedrooms

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  • Well, obviously (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @12:33AM (#50733123)

    When you live in your parents' basement, your gaming room is also your bedroom. And it's hard to get enough space for VR with that damn washer and dryer in the way.

    • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @02:00AM (#50733397) Homepage Journal

      When you live in your parents' basement, your gaming room is also your bedroom. And it's hard to get enough space for VR with that damn washer and dryer in the way.

      I live in my own house with my family and my gaming machine is still in our bedroom because it's a big ugly box that doesn't look good in the living room. That and I don't want people to see I'm running windows.

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        So you are one of the other 50%, BFD. Or you live in your basement, which might be preferable to admitting you are married and have your desktop computer in your bedroom.

        • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @02:17AM (#50733441) Homepage Journal

          might be preferable to admitting you are married and have your desktop computer in your bedroom.

          I hadn't considered there might be shame associated with being married and having a gaming machine in the bedroom. What other not-actually-shameful things should I be ashamed about? Is my TV is too small? Is my brand of skillet not elite enough?

          • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

            Well, you are the one who was ashamed of having it in your living room, so, sure, I guess who am I to judge...

      • machine is still in our bedroom because ... I don't want people to see I'm running windows.

        There's kinky and then there's just plain sick.

        • Kinky is using a feather, perverted is using the entire chicken. Running Windows is analogous to using an entire chicken!
      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        What is wrong with Windows? I show off mine and people laugh at my XP Pro SP3. :P

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by rioki ( 1328185 )

      Not everybody lives in US suburbia where space is plentiful and the houses are made of cardboard. (Yes, I know, wood beams and drywall.) I live in an apartment in a beautiful old building. The apartment is 90 m (968 sqft) but only three large room (plus bath and kitchen). Being a family of three you get my child's bedroom, the living room and bedroom. In out case the bedroom also doubles are office.

      Once you are over a certain age, social convention has it that you don't have a PC in the living room. Many ha

      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Actually, yes, that was the other angle: "if you live in a studio apartment, everywhere is your bedroom!".

        But given that was too close to the truth, I decided to make a joke about the typical /. meme instead. Not sure if I hit too close to the truth, or being too close to the top of the posts means I just attracted too many people with no sense of humor...

      • Regardless, the idea is silly to begin with. Regardless of what room, or how much space you can devote, inevitably there will be obstructions in the way; specifically furniture. And while I'm sure many will do the best they can to clear room, encroachment into something is bound to happen. Nothing like stubbing your toe on a chair leg to end the night.

        So far, the best solution seems to be the Virtuix Omni [virtuix.com], or a similar product like it.

      • Once you are over a certain age, social convention has it that you don't have a PC in the living room.

        That's why, in theory, devices like the Steam box as well as devices like the Shield console are so ideal for the "modern" gamer. You can have them in the living room. I'd argue the Shield is a better concept because of the pricing involved, but whichever one actually works better is the best and I haven't personally compared so this is not an advert.

    • Well, let me respond to that. As much as you're trying to be humorous, a 15'x15' of open space is rather large.

      In my case, my media room is in my basement.

      My TV/video game space is about 17' wide x 15' front to back. In that space, I have a sofa, a recliner, a loveseat, plus all of my stereo and TV gear. Pretty much around the perimeter walls.

      I can stand 6 feet from my TV, be 3 feet in front of my sofa, and have 6 feet on either side of me. When I put it together I thought "woo hoo, a big giant space".

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @12:48AM (#50733161) Homepage Journal

    vr is not going to smash into hardcore gaming.

    why? you're going to fail around like an idiot for 8 hours+? you might just as well go out and play some real football or enlist in the army.

    keyboard + mouse is a FINE control combo for vr headset gaming - you only change your monitor to be the display and you need LESS SPACE to play while enjoying the benefits of having a (potentially)360 degree display.

    basically, I gave up giving Valve credit as the premier company in 'getting it' when it comes to vr headset gameplay when they released the vr patch for TF2 and it had WORSE control scheme than the unofficial half life 2 patch. basically the unofficial hl2(and other games) hack just tied the head controls to mouselook and added stereoscopic 3d and that was much much better to play with than any of the tf2 modes, which all separated aiming from the view for some reason and that makes you less effective fps player and frankly sucks, because in fps games you quite often need to look up and down and if you always need to do that by tilting your head up and down you will get bored and get a sore neck - and if in order to shoot UP you need to both move the aim to UP and look physically UP then that sucks big time!

    so in essence, just use the display for display and KEEP THE FRIGGING MOUSELOOK on mouse!

    or a ps4/xbox controller.

    • Depends on the types of games we'll be playing in VR.

      Brianna Wu suggested that the best games for VR will be slower and more thoughtful games. So more Life is Strange than Team Fortress. Given what's been said about FPS and VR? I'm inclined to agree with that.

      Although the use in vehicular sims will be unparalleled. Looking around the cockpit of a car/tank/plane/giant robot doesn't break the immersion. You can look left and right and up and down and your viewpoint doesn't change much.

      • Second that on the sims : Elite : Dangerous is apparently one of the finer experiences you can have with your Oculus DK2.

        I've only gone as far as headlook with one of those homebrew controllers made of an Arduino and one of those accelerometer / magnetometer chips, and that's pretty immersive for sims, I wouldn't play them without it now.

        • I use a 3 point ir clip and a webcam to the same effect, I would be interested in the Arduino project with an accelerometer. Is it comaprible in accuracy?
          • It's very good ; the magnetometer counters the drift from the gyroscope in the accelerometer board.

            I think it's main advantage over the webcam is that it consumes minimal CPU and has virtually no lag.

            The downside is you have something with a wire on your head.

            It's an EDTracker (invented by Elite : Dangerous fans for their favourite game...)

            http://edtracker.org.uk/ [edtracker.org.uk]

    • This is exactly why full-screen head-mount VR is bullshit. It's going to be a minor fad, and no more than that. What is really wanted is look-through reality overlay VR, letting us composite creations into our world ala Roger Rabbit. The problem is that there's only two good ways to pull this off; with a really expensive set of equipment for pupil tracking and manual parallax correction, or with an eyetap. But all eyetaps are bulky, and none of them are actually on the market. You have to build your own if

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        no, it's actually pretty good for playing games while sitting at a desk or on a couch. the only problem with oculus devkit is the low resolution - if I had something with about 4x resolution, I would ditch monitors.

        but I would not be walking around with it. and with hardcore gaming what I meant was this: you can't binge play with room size VR. you're not going to be strapped on and dangling around the room for 4 hours straight. you will not.

        basically THAT is what valve should have quizzed about or just look

        • another use will of course be racing sims and such where it can replace the usual array of 3 monitors.. and be cheaper at that.

          When they finally get the resolution up, sure. I got a 1920x1200 gaming monitor and I won't go back, especially for racing or space sims... the places I most want a HMD

    • why? you're going to fail around like an idiot for 8 hours+? you might just as well go out and play some real football or enlist in the army.

      People like games because their ability to "win" is largely independent of their actual, physical skill. You're going to be much better, with much less effort, at a VR sport game than real sport.

      But VR is not going to be good for shooters or sports games. Games that involve you moving around a large physical space, ducking and bobbing your head and body. Too many non-visual stimuli contradicting the visual inputs, which is where nausea comes from. Not to mention the problems of latency and frame rate wh

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @12:53AM (#50733173) Homepage

    PC sales are not dead. You'd have to pry it from the dead nerds hands in his/her bedroom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2015 @12:55AM (#50733175)

    ...Tell me this isn't an afterthought. How can you get this deep into product development and suddenly realize so few people will be able to use it? It's been of my assumption that for the physical VR experience, you'd have to go to a wealthy friends' house.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      From the very start, Valve has been drilling into developers to develop with the constraints of two yoga mats pushed together. I remember this from a talk at the beginning of the year. As it turns out, this /is/ the amount of space commonly available in consumers homes.

      The Vive's lighthouse tech scales from a single base station sitting on a desk to being able to fit out an entire warehouse/building with them. Static objects (walls, couches, beds, cabinets etc) can be mapped out easily so you don't bump int

      • by rioki ( 1328185 )

        I personally think that Valve's tech would mesh quite well with modern laser tag arenas. Basically give everyone a VR headset, a "gun" and play it in an empty warehouse. The only real problem is the price or rather the danger of breaking one in the action.

        • You realize the cables that connect the headset to the computer are about 3 meters long?

          The tech just isn't there to transmit that sort of data 90fps at better than 1080p via wireless.

          That cable is going to seriously limit your movement, unless you carry the computer around on your back.

      • Our setup (and the latest SteamVR) only track 2 lighthouses, I haven't seen anything that promises tracking of objects yet either, either static or in movement, though the puck tech would allow for that.

  • So most video games are played by children or by adults who live in single-room apartments! Who would've thought!

    • by JanneM ( 7445 )

      ..Or by children and adults in a larger home where neither they nor their spouse want the common areas cluttered up with piles of gear.

      • ..Or by children and adults in a larger home where neither they nor their spouse want the common areas cluttered up with piles of gear.

        Bingo!

  • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @01:12AM (#50733233)

    I know I know metric but hey I can't think in ft....

    But anyway roughly 3m x 3m of clear space is still a big space. Especially in a bedroom that will contain a bed, a book case a desk and quite often a wardrobe (Which TFA comments on). My gaming PC is in a dedicated room and I don't have that amount of space behind me.

    So honestly I question their results as I don't believe that people really have that amount of space they could dedicate to VR. A more realistic figure would be 1.5m deep by 2m wide.

    • by JanneM ( 7445 )

      Yes; you don't just need the free area, but enough extra margin that you don't risk bumping into things or breaking something when you flail about. Especially since you can't see, are focused on a game and have little clue where you actually are in real life. 3x3m really means 1.5x1.5m of actual, safe space - or less.

    • Actually it's 4.5 x 4.5 m

      not many of us have that space dedicated to gaming.

      • I was working on the 8.5' x 9' measurement that it claimed most respondents would give to VR. Which is closer to 2.5m x 2.75m.

    • Apparently you can't convert or use Google either, its roughly 4.6 meters.

      And that would be a fairly large master bedroom outside of the 1%ers

      • I was working on the 8.5' x 9' measurement that it claimed most respondents would give to VR. Which is closer to 2.5m x 2.75m but I rounded it up.

  • Can't they build the PC into the goggles? And you might find a 15x15 space.... outside

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      You will still need a cable going all the way into your mum's basement.
      Or are you suggesting to wear a giant solar panel, or a big battery pack, in addition to the computer and the actual headpiece?

      • An iPad runs 3D graphics at a pretty respectable resolution with nice frame rates, and I don't see any reason whatsoever that there should be anything especially demanding when running VR - or at least, anything significantly more demanding that a regular 3D game. You'll get maybe five hours of battery out of an iPad, for instance, and I don't see why a VR headset couldn't be about the same.

        Add in a time-synchronised mesh network for ultra-reliable and low power communication between the devices, and it see

        • by fisted ( 2295862 )

          An iPad runs 3D graphics [...] and I don't see any reason whatsoever that there should be anything especially demanding when running VR [...]

          Uh. Take a look at the system requirements then.

    • Can't they build the PC into the goggles?

      In a word, no.

      In more words, they're not going to be able to deliver the depth of graphics the typical user will expect in a package that size. You could reasonably build an ultra-small PC with a fancy GPU and a whole bunch of battery and wear that in a backpack, and maybe get four hours out of it while doing balls-out graphics. That ought to be about enough for most purposes. Problem is, doing a lot of physics calculations and a lot of graphics computation at the same time just happens to consume a lot of

  • by Flentil ( 765056 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @01:20AM (#50733255)

    I'm very much looking forward to VR gaming, but have no intention of getting out of my seat. I want VR for the immersion, not flailing and jumping around in my livingroom. I wish Valve and the Rift people would stop focusing on this walking around VR they think everyone wants. If anything is going to kill VR before it can really take off, it's this. It's probably why everything is taking so long.

    • I'm very much looking forward to VR gaming, but have no intention of getting out of my seat.

      I don't understand what the debate's about; I'm pretty sure this product will eventually be targeted at those who do want to get up and out of there seat. For those of you that don't, I imagine we'll eventually see you cruising around in cyberspace on those little fat-people-scooters... ;)

  • ...I wonder what size living room the Kinect was designed for.

    • Annoyingly large. At least on the XBox 360.

      As I said in a post elsewhere in this thread, I have around 9 feet from the front of my TV to my sofa. When I calibrate my Kinect, it wants me to stand not much more than about 10" in front of my sofa.

      So I have a huge amount of dead space where I could (and should) be standing, but it stupidly assumed I have about 5-6 more feet. I could (and should) be able to stand 2-3 feet closer to the TV.

      I don't consider my TV space to be small, but if there's a way to overr

  • For whatever it's worth, I'm remodeling a guest bedroom with this exact purpose in mind. I'll get a folding wall bed, so it can still function as a (spartan) guest bedroom, but with the bed folded up there'll be just about 12X12 feet of open space.

    I'm thinking of the comment I read somewhere from somebody at Valve. . . I don't remember who, or the exact quote, but basically: "People already routinely set aside space in their houses for a home theater. If VR is compelling enough, they'll make room for it

    • people do not routinely set aside space for a home theater. The top 5% wealthy people do that.

      Everyone else doesn't have that kind of space.

      • by Zobeid ( 314469 )

        Thanks for reminding me that only the moneyed elites can afford a $350 flat screen TV from Wal-Mart and a sofa, or have any space in their hovel for such an extravagant rig. Because I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I forgot that the masses of ordinary people are living in cardboard boxes and subsisting on canned beans. I am ashame.

      • You know, it really depends on how you define "home theater".

        If you mean the sloped floor, 12 recliners, the commercial popcorn machine, the in-floor lighting, and the Han Solo in carbonite replica on the wall? Yeah, probably not so many people with those.

        If you mean "that reasonable sized TV in front of the sofa which might also have your video game, a Blu Ray player, and a couple of speakers", then I think a LOT of people have that these days. Most people call it "the living room". And the stuff requ

    • You know, what needs to happen is it doesn't have such a huge space requirement.

      Because, while people do set aside space for home theater, it usually has to be a multi-purpose space for most of us.

      So, yes, I've got the big screen and several recliners. But that's also where I keep the electronics, my DVD collection, a book shelf, lamps, and a few other things.

      VR is never going to be so compelling that people have a separate VR room from their media room. Even a modest size TV/media/games room needs to be

  • What took so long?

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @03:54AM (#50733747)
    Follow these easy steps:
    1. Get a plastic bucket and duct tape a smart phone to the inside of it.
    2. If you intend to buy a tethered VR headset then ensure to tie one end of a flex cable to the bucket handle and the other to your computer or something else expensive and fragile.
    3. Turn the lights off in your prepared area so it is as dark as possible
    4. Set your phone to watch some gameplay footage (e.g. Battlefield or Call of Duty) with the volume up high
    5. Place bucket on your head ensuring you cannot see or hear anything but the screen
    6. Charge around like a fucking lunatic, ensuring to spin, crouch etc. as much as possible ensuring you have no awareness of your surroundings.
    7. Count how long before you incur a serious injury by crashing into a wall, tripping or choking yourself with the flex.

    If you go 5 minutes without damaging yourself your room is officially "VR ready". Congratulations! Level 2 certification involves repeating this test with other humans, animals, ajar doors, hot beverages, and obstacles within the same area.

  • Problem solved...

    (Although having a harness hanging from the ceiling in the bedroom might be an issue...)
    • by abies ( 607076 )

      Harness hanging from the ceiling in the bedroom might be actually a selling point of that entire contraption to your significant other. Just make sure it is multi-purpose.

  • by PineGreen ( 446635 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @04:52AM (#50733903) Homepage

    I pay $2000 per month in rent and with a lot of sacrifice I could do 0.5'x1', maybe 0.7'x1'...

  • Thats is the median age f gamers.
  • I only care about the VR 2 feet in front of my face.
    Let me sit down and give me helicopter foot pedals to spin the view around me.

  • Install your VR setup up in your garage, plenty of space when the car isn't in it. Apartment dwellers: yeah, you're probably screwed.
    • Most garages are filled up with junk other than a car. Boxes and boxes of old crap that isn't getting used, due to the season, only occasional need, or just not depreciated enough to toss.

      Space is a vacuum. Having a large open area just for VR games is quite the waste for most. So unless your life revolves around your gaming, or you have more money than sense, carving out a 15'x15' space is a huge commitment to play some games. Most folks with kids are lucky to get a few hours a week to play games.

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