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VR vs. Browsing

In a week of relative quiet, a small but persistant little annoyance when it comes to VR shopping.

Astonishingly I really don’t have much to discuss this week.  Well, on a first look anyway. This last week as a whole has been relatively quiet; apart from yesterday morning’s Oculus Rift news written by yours truly, of course. (Whichever bright spark had the idea to announce that when they did needs a boot up the backside by the way.) But other than that the relative quiet was not entirely unexpected. The post E3 time period is usually one that is drier than a desert that’s been involved in some kind of accident with a lorry full of anti-perspirant.  In fact, it’s a testimony to virtual reality’s (VR’s) growth and diversity that we’ve still had a lot to discuss in features and the like, and enough for the team to fill day after day with stories from around the world.

Oculus Rift

Not all of what VR produces is a gem, naturally.

As is the same with any creative medium; film, art, television, music, animation, literature – anything. There are some items out there that look like little presents full of joy, to be cherished and opened with exquisite care. There are experiences that grab you by the lapels, backhand you across the face then scream themselves hoarse at you with their intensity.  You can put on a headset and have it whisper in your ear secrets and lies, half-truths or it can set you down in the harsh reality of the world. Happy, sad, intrigued, confused, scared, brave, VR can show you it all and let you feel it all; but for every hidden gem or masterpiece there is still a masterfully crafted mess. For everything that looks like Moss there’s something that looks like Your Journey Home.

Yes, YouTube commenters, I actually agree with you. Just… Just what the heck were we looking at there?

The point is there is already a lot of VR related videogames, apps, 360 degree videos and so forth all over the place, and that number is only going to increase. (Hoorah!) As a VR user however, the likes of you and I need to be able to sift through that to find what we want.  So, with this in mind can someone please explain just why the online Oculus Store still doesn’t have an actual search function?

This may seem like a small and pretty petty annoyance but it’s a persistent one. And as someone who’s had to write and edit a lot of articles about shopping and retail in the last month or so it’s baffling why an online store has no ability to actually search what’s there. No the Oculus Store doesn’t have the variety of, say, Steam. But even a bog-standard online retail website has product search.

As things stand if you’re after something specific you can, as mentioned, use Google. Which seems a pretty odd concept to have to do. Go outside the store to find what’s in the store. There’s the store front, so yes, you can see what’s there. But it’s still the equivalent of going into a supermarket and choosing what you’re going to get by squinting down the aisle from the very beginning of it.

If that’s not helpful you have to open up every section on said store front in the hopes of finding what you’re looking for – and that’s if you know what you’re looking for.  For a newcomer or someone just looking to browse a subject matter it makes things notably awkward, and as a shopper if I can’t find what I’m looking for there I’m going to go elsewhere. What is shopping without browsing, after all? It’s been months and months and months yet nothing has been done about this. Something relatively simple that can make things so much easier. Sadly sometimes big, good, complicated things can be derailed by small basic things.

In a way though, that does feel very… Oculus.


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