A beginners guide into Virtual Reality
How to decide what headset to use | warp.industries
In 2013 Oculus has kicked off the new dawn of virtual reality. Since then many new headsets have been released on the market. At first there where developer edition headsets made available by Companies like Oculus, HTC and Samsung. After years of further development these headsets have become more mature.
Next to being the CTO of Warp Industries, I am also a big VR enthusiast. So basically I am playing 24/7 with different headsets (at work & at home). I understand that for new virtual reality consumers it can be difficult to decide how to get started with VR. Here’s a consumers quick guide from my personal perspective that helps you take your first steps in the magical world of VR.
Your phone is a gateway into VR
The good thing is that getting started with VR is easy. Anyone with a smartphone can experience VR. The newer the smartphone the better, however phones from the year 2015 can be used for virtual reality. If you search for ‘Virtual Reality’ in the Google Play and Apple Store you can find many apps to try out.
Once you downloaded your first virtual reality app you will need to view it on a virtual reality headset. If you go to your local multimedia store or browse online you can find VR headsets ranging from 2 euro cardboard headsets to 130 euro’s Carl Zeiss headsets. I really like the goggles from Homido.
Samsung GearVR & Google DayDream
If you are the owner of a recent Samsung smartphone(Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edge) then you are in for a treat! You can buy the Samsung GearVR for your phone. Samsung has made this headset together with Oculus. The advantage of this is that both hardware and software work seamlessly together. The GearVR also introduces a touchpad on the side of the headset that allows you to interact in VR using tap and swipe motions.
Google has most recently taken a step into the VR headset market with their Google Daydream headset. This is however only for the newest phone on the market (see the complete list here). In time however all Android phones will become ‘Daydream Ready’. The Daydream also introduces a controller that allows you to interact in VR. This controller is still experimental and offsets quickly. Also the DayDream store still needs to fill up.
When choosing between the GearVR and the Google Daydream I strongly recommend choosing for the GearVR. This headset is much more mature and has a lot more to offer in the app store.
PC & Gameconsole powered Virtual Reality
There are also virtual reality headsets that can be connected to a PC. At the moment these only work for Windows powered PCs. To experience VR with a PC you really need a top notch one with a very good graphics card inside. Get ready to invest because these computers start at around a 1000 euro’s.
If it comes to choosing between de Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive it is a matter of taste. Both offer the possibility for room scale VR and the possibility to see your hands. The Oculus rift is cheaper (€708) vs de HTC vive (€899) but offers the same quality experience. There are some differences between VR titles that are accessible in the stores (for commercial reasons Oculus produced apps are sometimes not in the Steam Store and vice versa).
There is also an alternative called the Playstation VR. The Playstation VR also offers you the possibility to see your hands in VR. If it comes to pricing the Playstation VR, with head & handtrackers costs in total around €830. This is a lot cheaper compared to the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. However the Playstation VR is more focussed on a sitting or standing experience and less focussed on roomscale VR.
Conclusion: How to decide what headset to use
If you are at the beginning of your VR journey it might be difficult to decide where to start and where to stop. A big factor could be the amount of money you will need to invest and the quality you get for this. For instance if you have a smartphone you can get started at 2 euros. However to get the real sense of immersion the GearVR is a necessity.
Here you can find an overview of the current different headsets and their pricing:
MobileVR is a good way to experience (interactive) cinematic VR content. These video’s can be both for entertainment and for serious purposes. If you are into gaming then interactivity is key. The PC & PlaystationVR are a must have in this field.
Whatever your choice any one is a good one. Virtual Reality is an awesome new technology that offers a whole new way of experiencing content and games. Good luck with your first steps into VR!
In the past years I have been using many headsets for developing VR applications. At Warp Industries we have made the choice to use Mobile VR for training purposes. In my next blog I will explain the different headsets from a business perspective.