If you’re into gaming, you’ll surely have found your interest piqued by the growing trend towards VR gaming, and you might be wondering if you should track down the best VR headset and get started. We take a look at some of the questions you might be asking about this top gaming trend as well as looking at the top three hardware options you might want to add to your wishlist if you take the plunge.
Is VR New?
What started as a science fiction concept has been a reality for longer than you might think. The first wearable VR system was developed towards the end of the 60s, and by the 80s, early versions were already available for sale.
In 2010, an innovative teen would create a prototype that would eventually evolve into the Oculus Rift. Since then, plenty of other tech companies have developed their versions. This makes your options more numerous, but it also makes choosing the right VR headset a little more complicated.
What Hardware do You Need?
The most important place to start is obviously the VR headset itself. If you go for the top-of-the-range versions, they’ll need lots of processing power and will need to be connected to a compatible PC.
A few cheaper iterations run through a mobile phone but don’t offer the same quality of VR experience. Beyond the headset plus phone or PC, you’ll need some headphones.
Those are the basics, but there are also additional accessories that can be used to make the experience even more realistic. For example, hand controllers translate your gestures into game cues, but they’re not a must. Ordinary joypads will do the trick in most instances too.
Where do you Get Your Games?
As with your mobile phone, you’ll be making use of an app store to get your games – and each VR device has its own store. This will be an important element in your choice of device. Take a look at which games you’d like to play, and once you’ve decided that, your choice of VR devices becomes a lot easier to narrow down.
Should You Opt for the Oculus Rift?
Deciding whether you’ll opt for the Oculus Rift may not be as easy as it may seem on the surface. For many, the fact that this is the pioneering brand may make it seem like the best bet. But it’s not a cheap option – even as VR gaming goes.
Affordability will be influenced by your computer’s compatibility with the Oculus Rift. There is a drive to lower the bar somewhat here, but you certainly will have to check whether the machine you’re planning to use for VR gaming is going to be up to the required specs.
However, there’s a good variety of games you can play using the Oculus Rift and with Facebook’s money to back it up, it’s not going to be here-today-gone-tomorrow.
How About HTC and Sony?
If you’re looking for the most advanced piece of VR equipment, you’ll probably opt for the HTC Vive. It’s certainly the costliest, and it’s also harder to get set up. As with the Oculus, you’re looking at some pretty strong computing power to back it up, but unlike the Rift, it comes with hand gesture controllers as part of the kit and it has a base station with movement tracking that allows for a more natural-seeming VR experience.
You can even walk about within virtual spaces although the range is somewhat limited. Software-wise, there are plenty of devs at work creating new games and a good range that’s already available.
It’s no surprise that Sony’s PlayStation brand is also on the bandwagon. If you’re already a fan of PS4, this might be the best choice for you. As you’d expect, you will need a bunch of PlayStation gear to go with it including the PlayStation Camera, and though your PS4 joypad will work, the motion controllers will cost you extra if you choose to game using them.
As for gaming, this headset offers the greatest range of options and, even if you have to buy a PS4 to use it, the price tag is likely to be somewhat lower than the other options we’ve discussed so far.
Are There Lower Budget Options?
Having looked at the big three, you may be wondering if there’s a cheaper way to get into VR gaming. There are a couple of options, but so far, they don’t match up to the VR gaming capabilities you’ll find with Oculus, HTC, and PS4. For now, these are your top three options, and those likeliest to stand the test of time, although as with all technologies, will be dated sooner or later.
If you’re solely interested in gaming and already like PS4, choosing Sony is a no-brainer. However, if you want to explore VR outside of gaming only, HTC seems to offer the most advanced option, with Oculus as a strong contender.