A 'Virtual' Holiday Dream Come True
While the term “virtual reality” has been loosely thrown around over the years, the virtual technology we've often seen in science fiction movies is now going mainstream. A number of VR headsets on the market enable anyone to immerse themselves in virtual games or travel to faraway places, all from the comfort of their living room. The 2016 holiday season is expected to be one that propels the VR industry forward.
Here are four devices that will help your favorite gamer literally get their head in the game.
Oculus Rift, $599
In development since 2012, the Oculus Rift was officially released to the public in March 2016. Rift uses state-of-the-art optics with a high refresh rate display to keep images in sync with where the user is looking. Rift's technology and low-latency constellation tracking system heightens the sensation of presence.
There are also a variety of accessories available including a remote, an integrated VR audio device and controllers. As with other high-end VR headsets, users will need a powerful desktop to optimally run many virtual reality games.
HTC Vive, $799
Vive enables users to move, walk and explore virtual worlds in 360-degree motion with what it calls “realistic room experiences.” Vive's laser tracking system follows the movement of 32 sensors on the headset and 24 sensors on each of the hand-held wireless controllers to replicate the user in the digital world. Vive features a 110-degree field of view with a 2160x1200 pixel combined resolution and a 90 Hz refresh rate.
The Chaperone guidance system keeps players safely within the boundaries of their designated play areas so they don't bump into furniture or walls. A forward facing camera on the front exterior also allows Vive to blend virtual experiences with the real environment
Sony PlayStation VR, $499
The Sony PlayStation VR brings a virtual experience to a top-selling gaming platform. The headset is created exclusively for use with the PlayStation 4 in a “plug and play” design that makes entering a VR experience easier than ever. Current game titles include Star Wars Battlefront, VR Worlds, Golem and RIGS Mechanized Combat League. The headset features a 5.7 inch panel with a resolution of 1080p per eye and a 100-degree field of view. The user's movements are tracked via LED lights through the headset and two PlayStation Move handheld controllers.
Samsung Gear VR, $65
Powered by Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR offers a budget option to get a taste of virtual reality. Simply snap a Galaxy smartphone into the wireless headset to experience a world of 360-degree experiences. A 3D view and head-tracking motion makes the device quickly respond to tilting movements of the head. There are nearly 50 available games, along with content that includes everything from virtual roller coasters and skydiving to travel to exotic destinations. With no need for a computer, the VR can be used anywhere.