The crescent bay demo was very good. The headset was light, latency was fantastic, the picture was solid and sharp taking very good advantage of low persistence, the content was beautifully rendered and very enjoyable. All told a very solid improvement over dk2.
The valve demo was better and it's hard to explain why. Their tracking was just as good, their latency and/or persistence was *slightly* worse, I *think* the headset was heavier ( I didn't have both at the same time to directly compare ), they had no hrtf audio - so it wasn't technically a win but still it was better for some reason... Why?
I think for a few reasons. One is that the walkable area is 5 times bigger than what oculus demoed increasing immersion immensely, second is they had perfectly tracked controllers which provided a way for you to interact with the virtual world in a very fun and personal way, and third ( and most important ) is that the content they showed was amazingly fun and really showed off the walkable area and controller interaction.
The first demo was a small controller introduction where you would press the right trigger and a balloon would blow up out of your hand and float away. It was physically simulated so that you could then interact with the balloon with the controllers. At one point I tried to catch the balloon by instinctively pressing it against myself, but it went right through me ( which was a very weird sensation ). this demo was so incredibly fun.
The second demo iirc was where I was on a bridge of a sunken ship under the ocean. Lots of creatures swam by including a giant whale. Very peaceful.
Next I think was the VR painting demo which showed a really cool 3d interface and some pretty awesome painting. Very beautiful and very fun!
Another demo of a tabletop game where miniature people were fighting each other. Pretty cool, but nothing to write home about there. Though I can see a cool game being made with this kind of setup.
There was a surgeon simulator demo which was pretty darn awesome :) you are in space with an alien on the table and another table with various tools on it. Your controllers turned into hands which you could open and close very similarly to a prosthetic hand. It was a little awkward, but I laughed and had a lot of fun doin surgery then taking alien organs and stuffing them into the aliens mouth. Lol
There was another demo where you would walk around and depending on where you walked the room would change to a different room. I think this game was there to show off a kind of transportation travel method. It was fun, but a bit confusing.
Last demo was an aperture science demo where they had you open drawers pull levers and try to fix a broken robot. Was lots of fun. Then finally the walls were torn away to find yourself in a shipping crate. A giant robot came by. The floor started to tear away. Was just fantastic.
That's the end of the demos and then something funny happened that I can't fully explain.
When the headset came off, I had a very primal need to get back into VR. I didn't *want* to get back into VR, I *needed* to. Something was compelling me. I noticed it right away as foreign and was a bit confused about how a VR experience can ilicit a drug like response.
I spend a lot of time in VR, so this is very unusual.
I think the primary cause is the content difference, but I can't be sure.
I have been told I am not the only one, and that is kinda cool and also kinda scary. It means awesome things if you are a VR dev as it means VR will spread like an unstoppable virus. They will not be able to make VR headsets fast enough to meet demand - not by a long shot.
The down side is that there are some possibly serious and negative societal side effects of VR. That is beyond what I already worried about before it was addictive. We may see some government regulation of VR.
All told though as a VR dev myself, I'm super excited and impressed that VR has come this far in such short a time. One thing is clear, the future is virtual.