epending on your age or simply your knowledge on the subject Virtual Reality may or may not be a very new technological advancement. To others it may be something they have waited for or are waiting to become a true reality. We are talking about full fledge virtual engagement in everything modern. Movies, sports, destinations, cartoons, and most appealing, adrenaline packed video games of all stripes. Can you imagine not being amazed with just a 4k HDTV anymore, but instead immersing yourself within a realm, world, or arena of your choice. With VR every emotion you felt before using a useless panel television is now multiplied by a factor of your brain might explode level of amazement . Imagine the possibilities.
The survival instincts of fight or flight in first person shooters become crazy real, possibly too real too quickly. Action adventure games in open worlds provide a three-dimensional 360-degree world with nearly endless virtual space to navigate and explore. Fighting games give you the feeling and power to go toe to toe with the likes of a boxing or MMA champion. Movies you watch will empower you to become ever closer to the main characters or even the main character them self. Visiting far off destinations such as French museums or touring the Coliseum in Rome will no longer involve stepping on an airplane. One could even visit a music festival, concert, or play/musical without the hassle or expense of finding great seats on Stub Hub. The possibilities are basically endless, simply book any of these experiences from the comfort of your own home.
Please take note that some of the specifications especially the resolution display are merely rumored, subject to change because they are based on the features from the most recent developer models. Just like the speed of the frames per second in these devices relay an altered realty these specifications could change in a blink of an eye before release. Play Station’s Morpheus is launching last, so this may offer them the chance to leap frog the rest quickly. Before you decide to buy one keep an eye on the most important spec of all, the frames per second, which ultimately allows for the best experience when all is said and done.
Sony’s Project Morpheus is due for release in early 2016 and is described by Sony on the Project Morpheus website as, “ A radical new dimension in virtual reality gaming”. This visor style headset with multi player capability allows players to simultaneously utilize both the VR gear and television in each unique display during game play. So what exactly do you get from a product that offers a space age design, OLED display, accurate tracking, high frames per second refresh rate, and an amazingly low latency? Well this is what you get!
The Morpheus is out of this world futuristic and symmetrical with ergonomically smooth edges for comfort in a flawless design. Sony will be packing this futuristic VR face gear with a 5.7inch 1920xRGBX1080 resolution OLED display and a whopping 120 frames per second. Sony explains the intensions of these innovative tweaks as a means to solving motion blur while increasing the player visual peripherals.
Tracking technology on the Morpheus is supported with nine LEDS and an accelerometer and gyroscope providing 360 degree tracking. The refresh rate, or frames per second (tops out at 120fps) is a leader in this department and while paired with incredible gaming power of the PS4 will provide for very smooth visual transitions and movements. The latency, which was a huge obstacle in all VR development is solved with less than 18ms, half of the level of previous models. Compatible controls include the PS4 Duel Shock or the Play Station Move controllers equip with safety strap.
Although PC gamers might scream peasant, this Sony VR optical accessory will have a leading position in my view as the Play Station platform provides it with an automatic advantage over other competitors. Sony already has an estimated 40 games that are compatible with the device with more to be announced in droves at future gaming conventions. Project Morpheus will be most popular for three big reasons and they include. The PS4 has already sold millions of consoles, the competition will be targeting the more expensive gamer PC market, so affordability in both the device and set up, and Play Station already has the titles lined up. The top VR games expected for release on PS4 with Project Morpheus are Discover Rigs, Battle Zone, The Deep, , Paranormal Activity, Kitchen, and EVE Valkyrie.
Just as the Play Station 4 has outpaced the Microsoft’s XBOX in sales, every product at least until newer generations get released succumb to advancing competition. This is good because competition begets better products as competition intensifies. Of course the recent collaboration between XBOX and Oculus Rift will tip the balance eventually and drive these increases in technology ever higher. Fortunately for Sony it will be the last on this list to release its VR technology, so last minute tweaking of specs could allow it to drastically improve the product offering.
The product caught attention through a $2.5 million dollar kick-starter campaign and resulted in a $2 billion dollar acquisition by Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg foresaw the opportunity in the world of social media and now sees the importance of the virtual world too. Whether he incorporates the two in an integrated social media plus gaming product will be worth waiting for.
Coming in early 2016 the Oculus Rift stands out as a serious contender in the realm of VR because of the scale of platform compatibility. Upon release the Oculus Rift is said to be available for use with Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, and the very popular XBOX One. The windows model will arguably have the fastest and best results with Windows 10 and Directx 12 combined.
One XBOX controller is included with purchase for users of both Windows and XBOX games. If you prefer not to use the XBOX controller the Oculus has a secondary custom solution. A pair of cordless individually held motion-detecting controls with safety wrist straps called the Oculus Touch. These allow for greater dexterity during game play and will be preferable in certain genres. The Oculus Rift, will also be released with a constellation sensor that tracks between IR LEDS on the headgear and the wearer’s movements within VR. The sensor allows the user to sit or stand while it tracks movements.
Like Sony Project Morpheus, the Oculus Rift will be extremely capable with tremendous potential and specs that will produce a satisfying experience for end users. After working out the kinks, the fifth generation has a soft removable breathable lined all black casing with built in yet detachable headset for 3D spatial sound effects. The device is also lightweight with contoured foam edges for reduced face, head, and neck strain. The Oculus website does not include the details of frames per second, latency, or resolution, but I expect these specifications to be on a similar playing field as the Project Morpheus and the Vive. Although, the Oculus Rift is rumored to have 30 fewer frames per second at 90 fps, which could result in slightly less quality than the Morpheus, the resolution is said to be 2160x1200 display. Some of the games that are catching attention for the Rift include Edge of Nowhere, Paranormal Activity, Time Machine, and EVE Valkyrie.
HTC and the Valve Corporation came together to create an optical VR device that instantly brings to mind one of the optical gadgets used in one of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell games, at least aesthetically it resembles this. The device is called Vive and is compatible for use with PC. Considering Valve’s participation in development users will have an extensive library of stream-worthy media and games through Steam as well as other sources.
The Vive will be a very capable device and will be the first VR product to market expected in November 2015. It is rumored the price will start high and drop later as other products come to market by mid 2016. It should do especially well with the PC crowd, a segment of gamers who use Valve Corp’s. Steam database/gaming digital platform. Steam users are very savvy consumers and buy downloadable games usually at steep discounts compared to what are sold for consoles or in prepackaged format. The Vive will most likely be equipped with 1080x1200 pixels per eye display or the same as the Oculus Rift (2160x1200), 90 fps, 360-degree vision, and a base station (like the Oculus) allowing 15ft x 15ft free room roam, so players are able to sit or stand during VR experiences. The device is said to do a great job of preventing ‘jitters” and has “photorealistic imagery”. The pre-existing games and media available, but not necessarily always VR include the nearly endless cache of games etc found on Steam and some newer options on SteamVR.
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The quality of everything from video games to movies has exponentially improved over the last twenty-five years. This compliments the compatibility of virtual reality even more. These advancements are especially evident in the virtual reality gear available now. Just think of the 1980 BattleZone with 3D vector graphics, the 1989 Power Glove, or the 1994 Sega VR-1. Basically, the only word that comes to mind with previous gen devices is that they were cute, right? But credit is well deserved, lets not forget these originals devices set in motion the reality of what’s available today. By this I mean, a virtual reality that actually looks like reality, which of course is the point. These new virtual reality gear makers have reached a pinnacle point with this technology. This list will provide some of the best players in the space and delve into the designs, specs, platforms, and video games available. It’s an exciting time to be alive, right?
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