Only a few years ago, game makers were still haunted by the grim specter of Nintendo’s massive failure, the Virtual Boy. But in 2012, the launch of the Oculus Rift Kickstarter threw the development of games into a frenzy—every major tech company scrambled to build their own VR headset in order to stomp out the competition.
by Gabrielle Montoute
Whether you like it or not, VR is the next big trend in gaming, and tech companies are flooding the market with headsets of all shapes, sizes, and tech specs. Everyone is raring to jump on the VR bandwagon by buying their first headset, but first you should know what you’re getting into.
With a price point of $800, the Vive is the most expensive VR experience on the market. The headset is packed with two controllers as well as the Vive’s patented infrared sensors which allow you to move safely around your living room without walking into walls or hitting your knee on the coffee table.
Along with Vive’s partnership with Valve, there has been speculation that the system will support the long-rumored Half-Life 3, so if you’re desperate to continue the adventures Gordon Freeman, the Vive may be worth the steep price.
Oculus Rift was the Kickstarter heard round the world, rocketing 18-year-old tech guru, Palmer Luckey, to stardom in a matter of days. So, if you’re looking for a tried and tested product with name recognition, the Oculus may be the system for you. The headset, with free Xbox One controller included, will run you about $600, but if you want the Oculus Touch controllers (to be released later this year) you’ll have to pay extra.
That’s in addition to the upgrades you will probably need to make to your PC: the suggested specs for the rift include an incredibly powerful (and expensive) graphics card and processor, as well as at least 8GB of RAM. Mounting hype over a four year period also means the waitlist is long, so you may have to be content with your regular old PC for several months before your order arrives.
Oculus’ partnership with Facebook may make you a little uneasy, but if you’re looking for a powerful machine that will stay relevant and stable for years to come, Oculus is the right choice.
If you’re a dedicated Playstation gamer, then you can’t lose with the Playstation VR, to be released October 2016. Although the headset has a lower screen resolution than some of its counterparts, it also boasts a record 120 Hz refresh rate meaning lower latency, virtually eliminating motion sickness.
PSVR also has some of the best exclusives on the market—Star Wars: Battlefront, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, and a new Pyschonauts standalone will be only on Playstation VR. Having a VR headset as an accessory to a console means lower cost and most importantly no spending extra time and money upgrading your system.
Being an early adopter can be exciting, especially when what was once the stuff of sci-fi movies is being actualized by tech companies all over the world. VR is the next big step in the gaming industry and the tech will only get better as more and more companies develop and release their products. If the meteoric rise of VR continues, virtual reality systems will soon become a console standard, so it’s time to get in on the ground floor.