Virtual Reality
Gaming Guest Post Tech

A Guide to VR in 2019

Hey, I’m Cali, and now is a better time than ever to talk about VR! 2019 is the year we’re finally seeing promising growth in the consumer industry, in my Guide to VR in 2019 I’ll tell you what you need to know. 

Virtual, and a reality.

Virtual reality has made a new and improved debut into the entertainment business. 

A guide to VR in 2019
A guide to VR in 2019

VR is something we tech enthusiasts have sort of been keeping an eye on. Before, it was never really big within the consumer industry. It was bulky, unfinished, imperfect, and expensive. Though finally in 2019, virtual reality in the market is definitely on track. It’s something to be excited about, and we’re seeing options pop up for everyone. This is the start of something that goes way beyond the basic phone based VR that we have today. 

As the year has progressed, we’ve seen reveals like the upcoming Oculus Quest, as well as new releases like Valve’s new standalone headset: Index, which shows that VR is beginning to separate itself into tiers. A tiered system means that there will be more things for everyone. Before, our options were niche. The companies HTC and Oculus focused their products for developers and nerds like me, who crave escapism. PSVR: Sony’s platform for the Playstation was and still is a great consumer option, but until now it was more or less the only option. Windows Mixed Reality was an option for those on a budget, but my friends that have used it tell me they were better off saving up for an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Things are changing for the better.

Oculus Quest VR & PSVR set the baseline.

With all these exciting new toys on the way, VR is going to find its way into the mainstream of entertainment. So it’s good to understand what you’re in for. 

Oculus VR 2019
Oculus VR 2019

I’ve already thrown some names out there, and if you’re astute, you may have recognized some or all of them. The company Oculus and their new headset, the Quest is set to come this spring. With it, they plan to make VR on a large scale, akin to that of the Vive and Rift experience, widely available to the every-day individual. 

My take? The Quest will become the real baseline consumer headset come 2020. In a perfect world, VR media like games, movies, and events on a headset without the need of a powerful computer is ideal- and this is what Oculus aims to do exactly. Their price plan currently is $399 – $499 USD, which is a perfect price for the mix of power and utility that comes in one package. I would recommend you check out the full specs here if you’re interested. There are other candidates as well, however.

Playstation’s PSVR is something I want to touch on. Though not exactly new, their model has shown stability and strength throughout the ever changing industry of Virtual Reality. It’s important to bring up because currently on the market it is simply one of the best for general VR gaming. It also has the most accessible library for exclusives. I have found the PSVR system sold on its own for as low as $200. Something important to keep in mind, is that with the added price of a PS4, which is needed to play, you will be running a similar price to the Quest

What about the big fish in the water?

Now, I know what some of you might be thinking: $400 is a bit steep, but hear me out. Compared to what VR costs in total right now, this is a major markdown. But, if you’re not satisfied by the Quest, here’s what the high end spectrum looks like.

Man wearing a VR headsdet
Man wearing a VR headsdet

When I got into the scene, our choices were HTC’s Vive and the Oculus Rift. These are the headsets alone, not to mention you need a pretty high end PC to even use them. The Vive ran me $500 at the time, and I already owned a several thousand dollar PC on top of that, which allowed me to use the Vive in the first place.

HTC hasn’t been killed off by Oculus yet though, as HTC is setting their sights for something higher. Working with Valve, a new and shiny new toy has arisen called the Index. Much like HTC’s Vive and Vive pro headsets, the Index is meant for developers and die hard virtual reality fans. On release, the headset cost about $1000 USD. Again, you need a high end rig to do anything useful with it. 

There is no reason to fret, because these are the big leagues. If you’re looking for a VR fix, the less expensive options will definitely provide hours of value. Though, if you get sucked into the wonderful world of Virtual Reality, don’t say I didn’t warn you. These higher end options, though out of reach for many, will provide the most immersive experience so far.

The takeaway

With the Oculus Quest and Sony PSVR becoming available for the general consumer market, the Virtual Reality industry has broken into tiers. HTC and Valve now own the high end of the market, yet many people will no longer have to worry about never getting to experience VR due to budget restrictions. It’s truly a defining moment for the industry. I definitely think it’s worth a try if you have the financial ability. This is the next big thing in media entertainment, and there’s never been a better opportunity to dive into it.

Thanks to Mike for letting me indulge myself in my Virtual Reality enthusiasms and post my Guide to VR in 2019 here! I talk about niche, forgotten, old, and indie games over at The Plug ‘N Place. If you’re interested, check it out! Otherwise, I hope you dear reader, have a wonderful day here in our not-so-virtual reality!

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