The concept of virtual reality isn’t new, as we seen plenty of sci-fi motion pictures depicting it. As someone who has been tracking VR for Gaming, I can tell you that inventors and innovators have been trying to replicate the experience projected on movies ever since the inception of Smartphones. Gaming is a huge segment, with a lot of money floating around it.
If we talk about numbers, Dota2 championship raised the prize pool of 18.5 million US dollars (approximately 124 crore Indian rupees) last year. To comprehend it for an average Indian, total prize money of WT20 2016 is about 67 crores. Sony has sold over 35 million units of PS4 worldwide. Valve (creator of Counter-Strike and Dota) raked 3.5 Billion US$ revenue from Steam sales in 2015.
As far as VR Headsets are concerned, there are a few smartphone-ridden gadgets in the market, but a Gaming VR Headset is yet to come. Sony, Oculus, and HTC have already announced their respective VR devices. Will it be successful or not, only time will tell. Hopes are already high, with teaser videos and first looks.
Competitors in The Fray
Founded in 2012, Oculus VR was acquired by Facebook in March 2014. Oculus rift is head-mounted VR device, which has 1080p(resolution per eye) 90Hz OLED display with 110° viewing angle. Integrated headphones provide the 3D audio effect, rotational and positional tracking is done by Constellation, which is motion sensor kept on user’s desk. The bundle is up for pre-order in 20 countries for 599USD. Almost 200 games have been confirmed with VR support.
HTC Vive is the brainchild of both HTC and Valve. The hardware HTC Vive runs on Steam VR (game engine by Valve). In terms of technical specifications, the device has FHD OLED display with a refresh rate of 90Hz and viewing angle of 110°. Vive has over 70 sensors like MEMS gyroscope, accelerometer and tracking device Lighthouse, which tracks your rotational and positional movement by the precision of 1mm. The whole bundle, which costs 799USD includes Vive headset, two wireless controllers, two base station, link box, earbuds and Vive accessories. Steam has promised over 100 VR games by the time HTC starts shipping the Device (around May).
PlayStation VR is a 5.7” head-mounted display by Sony corp., designed to play PlayStation games. The VR headset is intended for multiplayer gameplay. So basically, it involves other players in your VR gameplay. PlayStation VR has 1080p OLED display with 100° of viewing angle and refresh rate of 90Hz.
6 depths of field (DOF) tracking, 3D audio from a headphone jack, and cinematic mode are a few features of the device. Pre-orders for PlayStation VR opened this week for 549 USD with expected shipping from October 2016.
Sadly, none of the VR headsets mentioned above will be available in India before 2017. That’s simply because customers who are willing to spend so much, that too for an accessory are very less. Which comes to my next point, yes, all the headsets require a console to play the game on. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive need high-end gaming PCs whereas PlayStation VR requires PlayStation 4 to get it going.
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