If someone for the first time heard about virtual reality, they would think it to be something out of a movie. But finally virtual reality is here and 2016 is the year when the likes of Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive take the medium mainstream.
For those who dont know;
“Virtual Reality is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.”
How does VR actually work?
thats an explanation for another day.
For the uninitiated, VR is an immersive experience in which your head movements are tracked in a three-dimensional world, making it ideally suited to games and even movies. While VR was a non-starter back in the 90s, developers are now creating mind-blowing experiences that look set to revolutionise gaming and entertainment.
Below are some of the best VR’s on the market;
- HTC Vive
The HTC Vive, is the Steam VR headset made in collaboration with Valve, the makers of legendary gaming series Half Life.
The HTC Vive plugs into PCs and work with Valve’s mammoth gaming ecosystem. It packs in 70 sensors to offer 360 degree head-tracking as well as a 90Hz refresh rate; the stat that’s key to keeping down latency, which is the technical term for the effect that causes motion sickness. Thankfully, that wasn’t an issue in our review time.
However, the key to the HTC Vive’s success is the Lighthouse room tracking that enables you to move around with the headset on. It means mounting some sensors in your home, but the effect is next level.
2. Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift is the headset that started the current hysteria. Developed by Palmer Luckey, funded via Kickstarter and snapped up by Facebook for a cool $2 billion, the Rift plugs into your computer’s DVI and USB ports and tracks your head movements to provide 3D imagery on its stereo screens.
The consumer edition Rift uses a 2160 x 1200 resolution, working at 233 million pixels per second, with a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s high tech stuff, which matches the HTC Vive for refresh rate, but lags behind PlayStation VR. However, given its access to the power of latest PCs, it will be pushing a lot more pixels than Sony’s headset.
3. Samsung Gear VR
The Samsung Gear VR is actually Oculus Rift lite, given that the two companies collaborated for the technology.
The Gear VR is simply a case that uses a Samsung Galaxy smartphone as its processor and display. The handset simply slots in front of the lenses, into a Micro USB dock, and uses its Super AMOLED display as your screen. Slot in the phone, stick on the headset and you’re into your virtual reality experience. The only catch is that you must use a Samsung handset.
4. Sony PlayStation VR
A new version was announced at GDC 2015 and gone is the 5-inch LCD display of the original prototype; in its place a 5.7-inch OLED one which enables low persistence, which should mean less motion blur. The display’s refresh rate has also been ramped up to 120Hz, making 120fps gaming a real possibility.