So, is Virtual Reality getting to be worth it yet?

I’ve long been interested in it (like, since the 80’s), and it seems in recent years it’s improved greatly, though the price was on the high side for me, and my computer a bit too anemic to get the most from it. Now it seems AMD is cranking up the CPU horsepower at reasonable prices, and Intel will have to rise to the occasion or be left behind. I was considering a new machine in the next 6 months or so, and with my new, super-fast machine on the horizon, I figured I’d dip my toes back into the VR scene and see what’s up.

How is VR shaking out? I understand there was a bit of a chicken-egg situation with the software, is that getting any better? Now that folks have been working with the Vive and Rift for awhile, is it proving to be something with staying power, or more along the lines of the 3d movie fads that keep coming and going over the years?

I don’t get to get out as much as I’d like, so anything that might bring more of the world, or of a simulated world, to me has an appeal.

I picked up a Vive last year, and honestly so far I have to say it’s pretty neat. There’s enough cool software available now to be pretty absorbing for an admittedly casual gamer like myself, and I think the technology has finally reached a point where it’s immersive enough to seem “real” in a meaningful way. It’ll be a lot better with higher resolution per eye (like at least 4K), but as it stands the state of the art is now quite impressive. I suppose it remains to be seen if the new platforms see much love from the triple-A publishers, but I remain cautiously optimistic.

I love my Oculus Rift and use it very regularly. There isn’t a huge library of great games but there’s certainly enough of a core to have a lot of fun. Robo Recall, Thumper, Raw Data, Elite Dangerous and Gorn are all games I play very regularly and they are all better for being in VR. It is expensive and so I think the question isn’t so much “Is VR any good?” but rather “Is VR worth the price?” That, of course, is going to be much more subjective, but I’m happy with it based on the price I paid; however, there’s no question that between getting a computer that can run VR and the VR device itself, it is expensive. Finally, if you decide on the Rift get the extra sensor for room scale. Don’t believe anything you read about it “Doesn’t work that well” or “Is hard to setup.” That’s a bunch of bull. It has worked flawlessly for me and took maybe 30 minutes to setup the first time. The second time, when I moved my Rift to a large play space, it took maybe 5 minutes. It really isn’t that hard at all. At the moment, right now, the Rift is the better choice in my opinion due to better game selection. However, with Skyrim and Fallout VR coming out and possibly being Vive exclusive, if you want those games… well… I would suggest to wait and see if they are playable on the Rift. I hope Skyrim VR will be playable on the Rift, but if not, for me at least, whatever, I have plenty of other games to play.

I’ve never been much into gaming, but I got a Vive because I was intrigued by the technology. It’s a lot of fun. There are sophisticated games out, but I enjoy the casual games like Virtual Pong (which is more like virtual racquetball), Fruit Ninja, etc. It’s a very physical experience, and a real physical workout.

The technology is definitely immersive. It’s actually very disorienting to take it off and find myself back in my living room. But I agree with Stealth Potato, higher resolution would open up more possibilities. Currently, the resolution feels adequate when things are moving around (or when you are moving around in the virtual world), but seems fuzzy when looking at text.

The CPU requirements aren’t particularly high. You just need good video cards, capable of driving two displays (one for each eye) at 1200x1080 at 90 Hz. I have a GTX-1070 which is perfectly sufficient.

Microsoft’s own VR system will be coming out later this year, so at this point it might be prudent to wait for it rather than buying a Vive or Rift. Actually it’s Windows support for VR that’s coming out - Microsoft won’t be making the headsets, but several companies (HP, Acer, Lenovo etc) have already announced compatible headsets. The big difference is that these don’t require external sensors or references to be installed in your room. Instead, passive cameras in the headset detect your movement. Initial reviews seem to indicate this works pretty well.

I’ve used an occulus. The thing that ruined immersion for me wasn’t so much the visuals, but the very limited amount of space you’re allowed to move around in. Something that allowed more movement or simulation of more movement would be great.

I’ve kind followed the evolution of VR but never could get motivated enough to take the plunge because of the perceived bulk/clunkiness of the headsets. What’s the opinions of our users who are frequently using various systems?

I’m sure it depends on the user. The Vive feels comfortable to me, and I quickly forget I’m even wearing anything on my face. If anything, the cable is much more bothersome than the headset itself. I keep stepping on it and almost tripping over it. A few times I’ve kicked it and disconnected it from the computer.

The Rift feels fine to me. Sure a lighter would always be better, but once I’m in the virtual space I don’t even notice it anymore.

I got a several meter extension cable. I very rarely get entangled in the cable anymore.

I’m short on time right now, but I’ll be back late tonight to post more. Thanks for all the replies. I was figuring on waiting six months or so, maybe a bit more if there’s news that a new generation of VR was on the way. I haven’t been reading about it for close to a year, so I was wondering if it was catching on, fading, if the drivers/software were maturing, etc.

How would you characterize it: As a growing niche market, stagnant, robust, anemic, etc? Has either the Vive or Rift taken the lead in popularity? I’ll keep an eye out for info on the upcoming Microsoft VR offerings.

I’d heard there were things in development like VR movies, and virtual museum tours, etc. I love games, but I’m intrigued by the other areas as well. There are many places I’d love to visit, and never will. If someone could put together reasonable virtual tours, I’d love that.

Oh, and will one mid-to-high-end video card do the job, or should I make crossfire plans?

I got an Occulus viewer free when I preordered a Samsung S8 phone. To me it’s just a novelty. I’m have not yet been willing to spend money on any software, just using what is available for free. It’s certainly realistic enough to give the feeling of movement, but control still feels a bit clunky to me. Some of the games require so much rapid, extreme head movement that I can’t play long without getting a headache.

Overall, it’s something I am glad to have gotten for free but would not have paid for it. I’m waiting for the full VR/augmented reality with body sensors and the like!

I would call it “growing niche”. It certainly isn’t robust and since new games are being added, including some upcoming big titles, it certainly isn’t anemic or stagnant. The cost of the system and the VR device will probably keep it from becoming mainstream though.

Pity. How many people simultaneously own computers, pricey smart phones, tablets, xboxes & Playstations, etc? If you think of it like that, another platform that adds something unique, it might be worth it. Maybe that will happen, eventually - it will just need time to prove itself and enough people showing other people.