Because I wanted to take games beyond where they have been stuck for so long, and allow people to feel as if they have actually stepped inside their games.
The Rift uses a wide field of view 3D image and low latency head tracking that creates a virtual world that reacts the same way as the real one, allowing the player to look around inside the game as if it were reality. Low latency head tracking is extremely important. Without it, your view lags behind your movements, and your brain knows that what it is looking at is not real.
In most games, players move through the environment without really checking out their surroundings. In a 3D VR headset like the Rift, people tend to take more time in examining their environments, checking out many small details. Combined with the fact that players can get very close to things, it becomes clear that higher resolution objects and textures are a priority in VR, as are techniques to make surfaces look less flat like bump mapping.
Absolutely. The more attention that players give to 3D models, the more fidelity needs to be given to them. This is especially true for things that will often be in the near field of the player, like player body models and weapons.
Virtual reality has been used in fields like medicine, emergency response training, education, and CAD design for years. The Rift takes technology that used to cost tens of thousands of dollars and makes it available for only hundreds, so all of those fields can pursue wider adoption of VR technology. It also opens it up to fields where it was never remotely feasible to use VR, like consumer telepresence and 3D movie watching. VR is unique in that it lets you simulate almost any medium imaginable, so the possibilities really are endless.
Check out the Oculus VR official website at http://www.oculusvr.com to find out more or to pre-order the Oculus Rift Development Kit and access the Oculus SDK.