Virtual Reality is a Thing and Its already Here!

Profile photo of Yacub Elmi
By
11 April 2016

For those of you who’s head in been the sand this past year, you might not have noticed that  Samsung has released Samsung galaxy edge 7. A phone that has been specifically designed to catapult Samsung as the market leader for virtual reality on phones.

Samsung’s Gear VR is what virtual reality tastes like, but it’s just a small plate of the type of stuff Facebook’s Oculus VR and HTC are cooking up and dishing out next year. The hungry hordes of VR adopters have already gobbled up the first batch of Gear VR, doing so for a reason that speaks to the mobile platform’s edge against the others.

 

Gear VR virtually flew off of the shelves of Amazon and Best Buy. It's a good sign for Samsung and a great one for VR in general. (Photo : Samsung
Gear VR virtually flew off of the shelves of Amazon and Best Buy. It’s a good sign for Samsung and a great one for VR in general.
Source:  Samsung

The head-mounted smartphone holder that is Gear VR will be outclassed when the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive arrive in Q1 2016, but there’s a lot to love about Samsung’s mobile solution in bringing VR to the masses.Though it isn’t delivering graphical fidelity at par with what’s to come from the heavyweights next year, it’s cheaper than the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and Sony’s Morpheus. Pricing is still unconfirmed for the three aforementioned headsets, but they’re not going this low: $99 a pop.

 

Samsung began fulfilling orders of Gear VR on Thursday and expanding its international preorders for the VR headset. However, two of Gear VR’s outlets, Amazon, and Best Buy, have already sold out of their initial stock of Samsung’s VR headset just a day later.

 

CONSOLE SCENE

Future  technologies such as Playstation are looking to incorporate virtual reality to their game console. Don’t worry your console is perfectly fine. Thier looking into adding an extra device to make your gaming more immersive.

Sony is positioned to make Project Morpheus happen in ways that could humble even Valve and Oculus, and the updated specs of the latest Project Morpheus prototype prove that they’re taking the hardware seriously.

It’s  possible that Sony is the company that makes virtual reality happen in a mainstream way to anyone else, due to the following advantages:

YOU WON’T NEED TO UPGRADE YOUR PS4

Virtual reality games are taxing on hardware, especially since Sony is aiming for either 60 or 120 frames-per-second standards on Project Morpheus. That difference between virtual reality devices on the PC and on consoles is that developers know exactly what the PlayStation 4 can do, and they can aim for that platform.

The ability to optimize for one platform is why so many games and demos run and look great on the Gear VR, a virtual reality platform powered by a phone. Developers can aim for a targeted platform, make sure it runs well in their offices, and then they know for a fact it will run well for players.

There is no “target platform” for the PC, and even today Oculus Rift demos may work on many systems or they could require the most powerful graphics cards on the planet. Players could get a headset, bring it home, and be frustrated that they have to upgrade some aspect of their system, or they’ll have to spend significant amounts of time tweaking the settings to get a smooth experience.

The PlayStation 4 may not be as powerful as a $1,500 gaming PC, but it doesn’t matter. Developers can squeeze every inch of power out of it and work around those limitations to provide a good virtual reality experience, and when they’re satisfied they know that anyone can go out, buy Project Morpheus and it will look great when it’s plugged into the PlayStation 4. Virtual reality on a console is user-friendly, which is something no one can say about the existing, or even future, virtual reality solutions for the PC.

THEY AlREADY KNOW HOW THE HAVE THE CONTROL SYSTEM  WILL WORK

Virtual reality controls are an ongoing concern, and a standard console-style controller isn’t always the best way to play a game in virtual reality. This is a problem everyone in the VR space will have to tackle, and its likely developers will have to support a variety of control mechanisms, but as of this writing, Sony is the only company with a complete, existing solution.

The headphones are designed to work with VR headsets without built-in earphones (pictured), so gamers can hear bursts of sound coming from all around them
The headphones are designed to work with VR headsets without built-in earphones (pictured), so gamers can hear bursts of sound coming from all around them Source: Kickstarter

Sony delivered a responsive, 3D control solution that allowed me to reach out, grab two objects, reload a gun by slamming a clip in, and aim in a way that felt real enough to be satisfying. That’s something that’s rare in virtual reality, and they provided that experience using off-the-shelf control solutions that you can buy today. They don’t have a head start, they have a finished race while everyone else is trying to figure out how to begin.

SONY CAN BRING THE DEVELOPERS

Sony has always had great relationships with indie developers, and indie developers always seem to love Sony. It’s important to get big name

Sony Playstation Virtual Reality
Sony Playstation Virtual Reality. Source: Sony

s to support Project Morpheus, but the really interesting content in virtual reality has always come from a passionate and creative indie community. That’s going to be Valve’s strength in the virtual reality arms race, but Sony isn’t that far behind.

 

Sony knows how to speak to indie devs, they know how to create a hospitable ecosystem for smaller developers and with Oculus still sitting on its hands when it comes to giving us a release date, Sony has the chance to raid the Oculus community for its best talent and games that are close to completion.

Do you have a promising, high-quality virtual reality game and want to bring it to a console with a great online store, a functional control solution, and a great virtual reality headset? Sony would probably love to speak with you, and they know how to promote their platform and your game.

Images Courtesy of Polygon.

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MSc Computer Scientist Student. Game Enthusiast. Part-Time Self-Prolcamed Rockstar-GEEK!!

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