Virtual reality: it’s a technology that sci-fi dreamed about for decades – since at least the 1960s
. Early efforts in the 90s popped up as (really cheesy) games at amusement parks and the like. That same decade, Nintendo even tried to glom onto the idea with its ill-fated Virtual Boy head-mounted console.
Fast forward 25 years or so, and virtual reality has made some massive strides forward thanks to the significant advances in consumer technology. Today, many people have had at least limited interaction with virtual reality (VR) through their phones. (Remember Pokémon Go
With the advances in technology, we’re finally seeing the advent of consumer VR gaming headsets. The top company in this space is Oculus. Curious to learn more about Oculus and what its VR headsets can do? Read on.
What Is Oculus?
is a company focused on one thing: producing cutting-edge personal virtual reality (VR) gaming experiences. Founded in 2012, the company produces head-mounted displays packed with positioning sensors and paired with hand-grip controllers, allowing users to interact with games in a more dynamic and intimate way than ever before.
In 2016, Oculus released its first consumer model, the Oculus Rift CV1. The year prior, Oculus partnered with Samsung to help develop Samsung Gear VR. (Remember when people were sticking their phones into cardboard glasses for a simple VR experience?)
What Is VR Gaming?
VR gaming asks you, the player, to interact much more deeply with the game environment. To look around the game world, you must physically move your head up, down, and around. Want to swing your sword? Then you need to physically swing your arm in that sort of motion. Yes, there are limited button controls as well. But the big things setting apart VR gaming are movement control and the way the environment responds to that movement.
There’s wide appeal here. VR can be a refreshing and, in a way, more natural experience compared to PlayStation and Xbox gamepads. The Wii showed us that swinging your arms can sometimes be more natural than just smashing complex button combos, and that’s even more true when you feel immersed in the environment.
Is VR Gaming for Everyone?
That’s a great question, and we’d have to say no. While VR gaming can be an immersive, mind-blowing experience, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. First, some casual gamers won’t enjoy the complexity. If your ideal video gaming experience is a one-handed smartphone game like Candy Crush, the VR experience may be a bit much.
There’s also the issue of motion sickness. Since you’re physically moving around while immersed in a screen, those prone to motion sickness might not fare too well. Oculus recommends you start slow
, with simpler, calmer games before jumping into high-movement, high-action titles. That’s certainly smart, but the truth is, some folks just won’t handle the motion well.
It’s also worth noting that most games require some degree of physical mobility and freedom of movement. Those with motor impairments or other physical limitations should investigate this aspect closely before purchasing.
The Latest Units from Oculus
Oculus has released a handful of models over the past four years. Many of the earlier models have been discontinued as is common in the tech world. The two flagship systems available right now are the Oculus Quest 2 and the Oculus Rift S. We’ll walk you through the differences below.
Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2
is an all-in-one VR gaming system that can run any title in the Oculus Quest Store all on its own. The headset and controllers are wireless, and the headset itself tracks both head and body movement, translating them into perfect VR precision. 3D positional audio helps your ears make sense of your environment – no matter where you’re facing.
The Quest 2 can optionally be connected to your gaming PC, and in this mode it gains access to the Rift catalog as well.
The Quest 2 is the better choice for most VR gamers. If you find yourself missing the more advanced titles and you own a capable PC, you can still access the Rift catalog using a Link cable.
Oculus Rift S
Those who want the ultimate in VR gaming will need a capable computer to bolster their Oculus and should opt for an Oculus Rift S
. Designed for longer, more intense gaming sessions, the Rift S is built for the serious VR gamer. The device is powered by your PC, and as a result it can play higher-powered titles in the Oculus Rift store, as well as those on Steam.
The Rift S is more expensive and can play more games, but it can’t do anything without a capable PC powering it.
VR Gaming Is Risky. Protect Your Investment Today!
Are you bringing home a new Oculus anytime soon? Before you go swinging wildly around the room wearing your expensive new Oculus, it’s best to get protected. Upsie offers extended warranties on VR headsets
as well as all other consoles. With Upsie, you get accidental damage protection from things like drops, as well as extended protection against defect or failure. And you’ll pay less with Upsie than with those big box stores!
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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.