This is going to be a little bit of a departure from how we would normally approach covering specific technology. Instead of addressing the state of hardware based on what we have actually worked with, we are going to look at VR from the standpoint of a consumer looking to buy for the first time. There are a couple of reasons to do this; the first is that we do not have either an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or any other PC based VR technology. We do have the Oculus powered Gear VR, but that is in a category all on its own which we will cover in some detail below. So with the preface out of the way, let’s get started
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum and that is certainly true. Something will come along to fill the void if we let nature take its course. Unfortunately this law is a little mutated in the consumer electronics market and especially in the PC component world. Here is reads; the market cannot stand not having an “It” technology, so we much create one. It seems that the last few years we have been watching this happen.
Yesterday we talked about the possibility that AMD will launch a Dual-GPU R9 Fury X card geared for 4k and VR. This is certainly welcome news for most AMD fans and for fans of virtual reality. It was no coincidence that the first time we are seeing this in operation was at a big VR event in LA or that the launch is rumored to coincide with the launch of Oculus and HTC’s Vive headsets. This move would be a very high-end AMD card on the market around April/May of this year.
Virtual reality is one of the new “buzz” words in the industry these days and it seems that everyone wants to have a headset of their very own. So far in this round of VR (there have been companies doing VR before) we have seen the rise of Oculus as the leader despite not actually having a product on the market in any real form. Other players that have officially announced their intent are Sony, Google and Samsung.
If there was ever an indication that virtual reality might make it in the mainstream market it is when the web browsers start to support it. So far we have heard rumblings that Microsoft, Google and even Mozilla will be throwing their lot in with the VR gang. One of the big reasons for this is that Facebook has already pushed into that territory with their purchase of Oculus VR. After buying the virtual reality headset maker there have been multiple rumors of Facebook making a VR social world as an extension of their existing social network.
Despite many claims that touch is the next way we will interact with our devices there are those that think (quite rightly) that this is not actually the case. The problem with touch interaction is that they are not very accurate and also tend to block your field of view (nothing like having your finer over your target). Because of this touch is not really suited for continued usage and is best as an intermediary input form. Now before someone points out that touchpads have accuracy down to 1mm we will clarify what we are saying here, touch screens are not suited for most computing and with the exception of a certain vertical are terrible for gaming.
For a very long time the gaming industry has struggled with finding a way to bring the gamer deeper into the gaming world. The problem has been that most of the push behind this has involved graphics. This particular gaming war started when we had multiple players in the game like Matrox, S3, nVidia, Diamond, and of course 3dfx. These companies all fought to bring the visual elements in our games to life. Unfortunately, there were casualties of this war and not just the companies that did not make it to the present. These casualties include audio, story line, AI, and other less recognizable items that all go to make up the games we play.