Virtual Reality; Becoming a Reality?

When Oculus first began funding their Rift VR headset in 2012, it didn’t seem to the world that in four years they would be competing with large companies like Valve in a rush to show the world what VR can do. But with the release of both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive this year, it seems as though virtual reality is becoming a reality.

The concept of virtual reality, or VR, is that your eyes are shown small screens that are warped by lenses to make them seem large. These screens show what your eyes would see if they were in a virtual world. The angle of the cameras in the virtual world also turns when the person wearing the headset turns their head. This gives the user the feeling of reality, as if what they are seeing is real.

However, Oculus is not the only company to produce this sort of headset. Valve, a major company in the video game industry, has worked with HTC to create a headset called the HTC Vive. This, although costing two hundred USD more than the Rift, has some bonus features. Instead of being limited to sitting down use without moving around, the Vive allows users to define a play space in their home, so that they can not only see the games in virtual reality, but play them. The Vive comes with two handheld controllers whose movements are tracked as well as the headset. This means that the user can move around in the virtual world, and interact with things with their hands, which is much more interactive than Oculus’ headset.

However, before a user can use one of these headsets, they must have a powerful PC in order to give the headset the best performance. In order to put together a PC which can be used for them, one would need upwards of seven or eight hundred USD. This means that, because the headsets themselves cost six and eight hundred dollars, for the Rift and Vive respectively, one would have to spend at least thirteen hundred USD to have a high end virtual reality experience.

However, there are more than two contestants in this race for virtual reality. Samsung, Sony, and Google have all created VR headsets of their own. Samsung’s requires a Galaxy smartphone, while Sony’s requires a PlayStation. Google’s headset requires a smartphone, but shares an extremely limited variety of applications that work with it with Samsung’s.

For more information on the virtual reality race, keep up to date with the GFS Corner.