If you have tried the Google Cardboard before or the Samsung Gear VR, you are probably familiar with the 360 degrees rotational tracking. Meaning as you turn your head, your view in the screen turns with you. This is not room scale VR!
With the more powerful devices that has to be connected to a PC or gaming console like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PS VR, OSVR, they come with depth tracking or positional tracking. This means that where you move your head, your screen will change to reflect that. Up, down, left, right, forward and backward and tilting also in any direction will be shown accurately on the screen. This add increase immersiveness and the virtual world will feel more natural.
This works through the use of sensor(s) on the headset itself and tracker(s) place in the room. Different devices uses different technology so there are different limitations like the responsiveness and more importantly the range or how far can you move before your movement is unable to track it.
Room Scale VR is a term that is highly associated with HTC Vive HMD as it is the vision of the company to develop games and software that uses this feature. This means that gameplay on the Vive will involve a lot of moving around a space. Comparatively, Oculus Rift unlike the the notion that it cannot do room scale, in fact CAN do so as well, but believes that it is not practical as you need a open empty space for it and does not want to focus particularly on this feature like HTC Vive has does.
EVE: Valkyrie on the Oculus Rift where cockpit gameplay is seen at its best. You look around to see where you are going and use your game controller to pilot your vehicle. This is shipped with the pre-order of the Oculus Rift so it will be the first hit game that Oculus is betting will jump start VR Gaming.
Tilt Brush by Google is an application where you can draw and paint in 3D by moving around and using hand controllers also by HTC Vive. Check out reviews of Valve’s SteamVR showcase to see more examples of roomscale VR content
We have to wait and see which kind of content catches on with the mainstream users. Will it be limited usage of positional tracking while the user is sitting down or will the users like moving around in a room space to experience VR?
(Featured photo from HTC Vive Press Kit)