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Virtual Reality is Real: A Look at Some VR Options Coming Out in 2016

Posted by cirvine on April 25, 2016

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2016 is being called the year of virtual reality. This year, virtual reality headsets have and will continue to come out and be sold in the mainstream marketplace. There has been a buzz around VR for the past few years, beginning mainly with the Kickstarter project for the (now Facebook-owned) Oculus Rift, but with other VR forerunners coming into play, you actually have options. That, my friends, is super exciting.  Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones.

HTC Vive

 

The HTC Vive is the Steam VR headset made in collaboration with Valve (the makers of the legendary gaming series Half Life, Portal and DOTA2) and is already being sold. The Vive plugs into PCs and requires a couple sensors to be installed in your gaming space, as well as some space to actually play. Although perhaps a little more labor-intensive, the sensors actually add another level to the VR that other headsets lack, by making an entire room your playing field and creating a more immersive experience. With sharp visuals and great motions controls, the HTC Vive has been getting rave reviews and has been widely critiqued as the best VR headset yet. Only problem? It’s about $1150 CAD, plus shipping. My poor wallet.

Wanna see just how real the HTC Vive can feel? Check out this video of a woman completely freaking out while playing The Brookhaven Experiments (a zombie FPS game). It’s pretty hilarious.

Oculus Rift

 

The Oculus Rift is kind of what started the whole VR hysteria. The Rift pairs up with either your PC (but make sure you have the required hardware to back it up) or your Xbox, and already boasts a plethora of compatible games. At around $760 CAD, it’s significantly cheaper than the HTC Vive and matches its refresh rate of 90Hz (the higher the refresh rate, the fewer latency problems you have), but you lose the immersive qualities of the room-sensors. 

Have one or are thinking of buying? Check out this list of the best Oculus Rift games.

Sony PlayStation VR

 

With a launch date of October 2016, the Playstation VR headset is almost here and ready to take the world by storm. It boasts a higher refresh rate than the Rift or the Vive (120Hz), and a less expensive option (about $550 CAD), but because it hooks up to a PS4 and not your computer, you lose out on pixels. This is a good option for people that already have a PS4 but who don’t have the required specs on their PC for another option.

Mobility VR & Samsung Gear VR

 

If you don’t want to spring for a real virtual reality headset but still want to try out the experience, you can start with mobility virtual reality. That means using your phone as the processor/display instead of a computer or other device. This experience primarily started with Google Cardboard, which at around $20, is a cost-effective way to get your VR fix. That being said, it’s literally cardboard, and may not completely satisfy your dreams of what VR could be.

For a little bit more, it’s worthwhile to spring for the Samsung Gear VR, which is really just an Oculus Rift lite, as the two companies combined to make the Rift in the first place. The design of the  headset is more like a real VR headset, and creates a more realistic and immersive experience, despite the phone still being the processor.

If our past blog posts on hoverboards and delivery drones haven’t convinced you that we’re living in the future, maybe this post will get you second-guessing. The ability to live in a new virtual dimension is basically upon us. It’s both exciting and scary (anyone else worried about their eyesight?), but what’s cooler to think about is where this technology could take us. Imagine Skyping with a friend and pretty much being in the same room as them. Or what about using VR for emergency training like firefighting or high-stress surgical procedures? Something as simple as furniture shopping could be done all through a VR headset! The possibilities are indeed endless, and I for one am super excited that I’m alive to see where virtual reality leads the human race!

 

Sources:

http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/virtual-reality-headsets-promise-895-million-sales-in-2016-report-308451.html

http://www.wareable.com/headgear/the-best-ar-and-vr-headsets