Virtual Reality has been a dream for gamers since since the 1980’s, and the idea has permeated science fiction in various forms even before that. The technology has existed in multiple iterations, ranging from the Virtual Boy, Atari game stations, and various arcade devices. VR itself has been a part of society even though it was never quite the most ideal way to play.
Fast forward to 2018 and the tech is booming far beyond what we’ve previously seen. Several large companies are advancing the tech. Among them are Sony, HTC and Oculus. There are more games than ever before being developed with VR in mind, and even big games like Final Fantasy and The Elder Scrolls have games dedicated to its usage.
If you’re in the market to get in some virtual reality gaming for yourself, there’s quite a number of choices to choose from. Today we’re going to go over a number of factors that you should consider before picking one out for yourself.
Which VR Headset is in my Price Range?
Before you get too deep you should be aware that the general price range for a VR headset is roughly $199 at the entry level and $799 at the high end for consumers. This price only includes the headset itself, minus any accessories you might need to get a full experience. There are also some caveats to this pricing depending on what equipment you already have on hand.
For the PC gaming enthusiast who already has invested a bit in their gaming rig, there are more options available ranging from Oculus Rift to HTC Vive. Console gamers are restricted to the Playstation 4 as they’re currently the only console manufacturer with a stake in the VR race. That should give you an idea of what you can expect to spend just on the hardware before you buy the headset itself.
A Playstation 4 will cost you between $300 or $400 depending on whether you opt for the regular or the PS4 Pro. While you can take full advantage of the Playstation VR with a regular console, you will find textures and performance very much diminished versus what you can expect on the Pro. As the headset retails itself for $299 (you can find it alone for $199 online), with the need for additional accessories like controllers and PS Move, you are looking at a higher initial cost. Outside of a bundle, you can expect to get entry into PS VR for around $500 at bare minimum.
At the higher end of consumer VR headsets, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are two of the most accessible and powerful headsets on the market. Vive Pro retails for $799 standalone, not to mention you’ll need at least GTX 1060 or 1070 to really get the most out of it, which are $300-500 graphics cards on their own (depending on models and market prices).
That is what you would use for traditional VR gaming, but cheaper options exist. For instance, the Utopia 360 allows for one to plugin their smartphone into the headset and utilize it as a VR device. While these games pale in comparison to what you can expect from PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, or HTC Vive, the entry price of $19.99 is a much more accessible option.
Which VR Headset has the most games?
Arguably, what people want most from their VR headsets are games, so the library is important. With the only main choices being between PlayStation VR on console and having a VR-ready PC, you’ll want to think just where you’ll be doing your gaming and how comfortable you are with managing complicated tech.
Oculus Rift and Vive/Vive Pro both have a wide selection of games, but each has their own exclusives just like the console manufacturers themselves. HTC Vive can access Steam games which gives an extensive library of games that range from indie to full budget titles. With VR still being a newer technology, indie developers will have an easier time getting their games played on Vive thanks to Valve’s integration. Oculus Rift however does have a feature to allow for Xbox games to be streamed to the device from Windows 10 PC’s. With game selection in mind, it becomes a matter of personal preference of whether to go with Oculus Rift or Vive on PC.
With Playstation VR, the support is very different. Publishers are revamping their games for VR for the device, and smaller dedicated titles from independent teams have found new life on the system. While lesser in quantity, the quality difference is up for debate. Some consumers may appreciate having more of their favorite games with VR features available to them and are happy with that. However, it’s important to bear in mind that you will always have more games available to you on PC than you will on just the Playstation console by itself.
Which VR Headset is the most future-proof?
Arguably, the device with the most to offer is also the one that demands the highest cost. HTC Vive at $499 and Vive Pro at $799 both deliver a lot more performance and capabilities than the other headsets on the market. They also bear a steeper setup process and bit of a learning curve.
It can take a bit of adjusting to your first VR headset. You may have to get up to speed with the concept of surrounding your head and being completely immersed in a game world from a visual and auditory perspective. There have been reports of individuals being unable to cope initially.
Developers are still adjusting their software to accommodate the experience, and whatever you choose, PC will always have more to offer. If you’re willing to setup a solid gaming rig and are okay with the costs attached to doing that, you’ll probably be more comfortable with VR gaming with the HTC Vive on PC for years to come.
While the Virtual Reality niche is still growing and changing, there’s a lot of fun things to do with the tech that gamers will definitely enjoy. Finding out which VR headset fits your play style, budget and equipment is something you’ll need to think about.
Do you have a VR headset or are thinking of getting one anytime soon? If so, which one? We’d love to hear about which games you’re eyeing as well. Leave a comment below and have a chat with us!