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Cross Talk: Easy Guide to Choosing VR Options

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Last week Sony finally came forth with the announcement of the release date and price of the Playstation VR (formerly Morpheus).  Most of the important details are in place to make the “which VR option should you choose” article and predictably that’s just what most sites did.  I did that six months ago after getting all that info at PAX Prime 2015, it’s right here.  Here’s the problem: almost nothing I read is realistic.  All of the articles break down the experience, technical specs, and personal opinion of the writer, but not the reality of the consumer – that’s us – actually buying anything.  Why?  Because if you work for a media outlet it will be in your office, you will be able to play it, and frankly most of games press staff will not be personally purchasing these devices.  To be fair, my experience has proven that many of these staffers live in big cities with high cost of living and relatively low income.  As a result, I figured I would break down the actual decision-making process of the upcoming VR, what you can expect, and why this decision is less in your control and more locked into your current hardware setup.  If you’re not interested in VR, and many aren’t, that’s fine too.  Skip this article and aside from specific games coverage and impressions once hardware releases on whatever some of us buy, there will be no further VR articles.

If you are still asking yourself, do I need VR?  The answer is most likely “no.”  This first run will be early adopters, which as we’ve seen in the past are the ones to get the hardware first at a much higher price.  Also early adopters tend to not get the best hardware and a revision surfaces at a cheaper price within 24 months.  In addition the games aren’t nearly as impressive – most of us refer to the games initially released as “launch titles” and it implies that these are the rough early stages of developing for new hardware.  You only need VR if you want the new shiny first and to show it off to your friends.  In the case of VR you may also be wondering what the experience I and others have described from firsthand accounts are referring to, well you’ll need to try it for yourself.  A good basic way to do this is via Google Cardboard and chances are you’ll pay next to nothing for it and your phone is already prepared to support it.  It’s an extremely passive experience but it’s a great sneak peek at what VR has to offer.  The next step is Gear VR by Oculus, which is a $100 headset that only supports a handful of Samsung phones currently, but it gives you a bigger hint at what games and interactive experiences can be.  It should be noted that neither is really the true VR experience, most of the things you’ll do are quite gimmicky, and you can expect to see all they have to offer in a few short days.  This is why the following information pushes the additional things you’ll need to run proper VR, because otherwise you’re really just buying a super expensive version of the Gear VR.  You will also want to buy where there’s a good return policy because VR brings up all kinds of things about your physical head you may have never been aware of like fogging the inside of the glasses, how big your cranial circumference is, and even how far apart your eyes are from one another.  These all affect VR and your enjoyment of it.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 22, 2016 at 11:00 am