Oculus doesn't recommend the optimal Rift experience to most users

Will the real VR demo please sit down

Standing up with the Oculus Rift is better, so why is it that the virtual reality headset's creators want you to keep your butt planted?

There's an obvious answer: "[W]ith VR, we're actually blindfolding you, convincing your perceptual system you're somewhere else, and then having you walk around. It's a common sense recipe for disaster," Oculus Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell told TechRadar.

Odd, then, that Oculus strapped the new Crescent Bay Rift prototype to journalists' heads at Oculus Connect 2014 this month and had us walk around a small, square room - and by extension, virtual space.

Mitchell explained that those demos, which included a shoot-out with a giant robot and a balancing act on a skyscraper peak, were meant to crank up the immersion as high as possible - but that standing up with Oculus Rift at home is not recommended.

Safety first

Oculus VR founder and Rift creator Palmer Luckey was less forthcoming than Mitchell about the stand-up demos shown to press. In fact, he seemed hesitant to discuss the demos at all.

"The Oculus Rift is a seated experience," he said during group interviews at Oculus Connect. "It's very dangerous to stand up. Nobody should ever do it while they're using the Rift, because they might hurt themselves, and we don't want to contribute to that."

Although that's all Luckey would say on the matter, Mitchell explained further. "What we are saying is CV1, the consumer version of the Rift that we're chasing, is going to be a seated experience," he said. "We're targeting a seated experience. We don't want people standing up, mostly for liability concerns but also because it's just not safe."

So why the stand-up demo? "To create the most powerful sense of presence, like why we think VR is going to change the world, we wanted to amplify it on all fronts," Mitchell said. "This demo, we wanted to show people just how powerful presence can be."

Being able to walk around in the virtual spaces that the Rift creates rather than using a control stick to move did drastically increase the feeling that you're actually in those worlds. Crescent Bay's integrated headphones are a part of increasing that sense of "presence" as well.

But both Mitchell and Luckey emphasized that being on your feet is not part of the recommended Oculus experience. "I would say it's more fair to call it purely conceptual," Mitchell said. "I mean, people can stand up at their homes. I hope they do not."