Published on February 9th, 2017 | by Rob Kwong1
Why VR hasn’t reached its potential and may never
Virtual reality has been around for just over a year. The first real taste of the new generation of virtual reality coming from the Samsung Gear VR, and now coming full swing into PC by the ways of Oculus, HTC Vive and to consoles for Playstation (sorry Xbox, hopefully soon?). Although they are readily available, the ticket for entry is a little high. To be fair we’re only counting actual virtual reality units, not boxes or head gear that you “slide” a phone into, I mean yes there are cheap card board attachments but it’s really not going to give you a solid marketplace that will give you high quality VR content.
To start off the Gear VR by Oculus for Samsung phones are only $100, but the main part that runs the VR system is the phone itself. The cheapest phone that can run the Gear VR from Samsung will be the Galaxy S6, which you can purchase it from a reputable company for about $450. Altogether the cost of the phone and system being $550 before taxes, and that’s not including a phone service if you want to purchase the phone to use on a regular monthly basis. One nice thing about the Gear VR, is the Oculus marketplace. With paid offerings such as Minecraft VR, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and free offerings such as Fox Sports VR, Shooting Showdown, and even Netflix. One sad thing is that the controller to play some of these games costs a bit more, about $50 which brings the grand total to $600 before taxes. Not the greatest, but it’s not bad since you’re getting a VR system that you can travel with.
Next up on the block is the Vive and Oculus. Both units are currently available, the Oculus a little more readily available since you are able to purchase them at a Best Buy. Unfortunately the Vive is only available through the HTC Vive website for the time being. For the first generation of PC virtual reality, the look and feel of both the Oculus and Vive are great. Tracking of course can be an issue if not set up properly, but once set up the only thing you’ll need to worry about is either running into objects or swinging and knocking things over. Currently, with all the controllers and sensors both VR systems are $800 a piece, but the only thing is that in order to run these systems is going to be a pretty hardcore computer, which in the lowest cost possible will be around $800 as well not including monitor. Total costs sans monitor $1600 before taxes, but that’s not to say that the Oculus doesn’t have bundle options, one of which costs about $1200, not bad for a savings of $400.
Last up is the Playstation VR. The first for the big consoles, Virtual Boy you don’t count you sad vision destroying console, seems to be a great add on for the Playstation 4. Whether you’re running the PS4, PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro the VR will work with all versions so no need to worry about what if’s. One benefit of having the Pro over all the other is the faster processor, more powerful video processor, and the ability to download games a lot faster. The PS4 VR looks like something out of Tron, lot of glowing lights, and with the combination of move controls you’re ready for any rave. The design may not be amazing but it works, the video fidelity of course no where near as clear as what the Vive or Oculus will be but for what it has it looks good. With the price of the original PS4 currently at $300 and the VR being $400 the total costs of the PS VR system rounds out to $700 before taxes.
It’s quite a bit of money to drop to get into VR currently, whether it be mobile, console, or PC, but the experiences to be had with any of them can be amazing. Whether you wanna get your grandma to wet her knickers from riding the virtual roller coaster, to being Batman and throwing batarangs for the time being it seems that you may have to be Bruce Wayne to afford a VR system. Is it worth it? Maybe. Is the experience amazing? Everyone has their own experience, it’s like saying sailing is fun. Not everyone likes water and not everyone is immune to being sea sick. Until you try it out yourself I really wont be the judge for you, but I highly suggest trying it to find out if it’s worth it in the long run.