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The Reality of Virtual Reality

When virtual reality (VR) first made its way into the gaming industry, I wondered if it ultimately would become the future of gaming or just be remembered as a technology fad. As the industry shifts toward the creation of more VR headset options and software backed by tech giants like Facebook (Oculus), HTC, Google, and Sony, VR seems poised to be the next “big thing”. As competition increases and the availability of low-cost alternatives continue to rise, the barriers to the consumer are becoming less every day. Whether you are looking to add VR capability to your PC, smartphone, gaming console, or as a standalone unit, there are now options available to fit any budget or need.

VR Headset Options

Virtual reality headsets deliver content through a personal computer (i.e. Oculus Rift or HTC Vive), integrated with a mobile device (i.e. Gear VR or Daydream View), or as a standalone unit (Oculus Go or Vive Focus (to be released in the US in Fall 2018) ). Each delivery method presents the user with different costs and availability of software/games. For example, personal computer-based headsets provide the highest performing experience but are also the most expensive to purchase, ranging anywhere from $400-$800. Mobile VR applications are the most cost-effective if you already own the device, but the overall experience is far less than either of the other content applications. Comparatively, standalone headsets land somewhere in the middle for both price and experience but do not serve multiple functions.

Every iteration of headset advancement provides the user a higher quality experience. These advancements, coupled with competitive pricing, seem like a winning combination for VR to stay relevant for the foreseeable future. Where it goes from here, only time will tell. I recently read an article about Walmart acquiring a VR shop to “transform its shopping experience”. The applications of VR in the retail sector seem to be endless.

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