ViRZoom VR Bicycle Now Shipping, Combines Gaming And Exercise

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This just looks like your typical cheap $100 to $150 exercise bike, with a game controller integrated into the handlebars that somehow inflates the price to $400. Going by the FAQ on their site, it also sounds like the retail release might cost even more. It seems like a bit of a missed opportunity not adding more VR-geared features to it at this price.

At the very least, rather than having a cheap tension-control knob, I'd much rather have the tension controlled digitally. That would allow games to change the resistance themselves as a form of force feedback. Riding a bike up a hill in VR, increase the tension, and when heading downhill, decrease it. The same could be done for different surfaces, so that riding through sand or across a grassy field would be harder than traveling down a road, and (virtual) gears could be shifted using the triggers, or other buttons. It could also be possible to have a game like Crazy Taxi where you ride a rickshaw, and are able to pick up multiple passengers or make deliveries of varying loads, increasing or decreasing the tension accordingly.

And on the topic of force feedback, some "rumble" could be nice as well, giving you feedback about the surface you are riding on, or for non-biking games, providing a jolt for weapon impacts and so on, further improving the level of immersion. And how about having a fan attached to the front that games can control to make it feel more like you're actually moving? Not only would it help to improve realism, but would also help keep the rider cool, which is probably even more of an issue when you have a foam-cushioned VR headset and headphones strapped to your face.

I just checked their FAQ, and they actually suggest that higher-end models might be coming with "game controllable resistance and fan", so I guess they already thought of these features as well. No doubt they will be on even higher priced models though. I like the idea of using exercise equipment in VR, but much like the rest of this current generation of consumer VR, early-adopter pricing in effect, and everything costs almost double what it probably should.
 
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