As technology expands, so do the possibilities. In the 90s, multiplayer games required you to be in the same room. Now, you don’t even have to be in the same country. And even more recently, with virtual reality — or VR technology — you don’t even have to be in the same country as your console.
VR technology can transport users into different places, different times, and different worlds. VR replaces reality with something, or someplace, else. The ability to transport users and to make something completely different is perfect for gaming, and over the last year, VR technology has taken the gaming world by storm.
How it Works
Virtual reality essentially tricks your brain. Today’s VR is done primarily through headset devices known as HMDs, or head mounted displays. These devices block out your surroundings, forcing your brain to focus on only what it’s seeing and allowing you to feel transported to somewhere else. Most of today’s devices rely on smartphones to provide some of the necessary technology.
In most cases, the smartphone connects with the headset to project the image in front of you. Some project on one lens per eye, while others project the image over a lens for both eyes. Head tracking, shifting the picture when you move your head, increases the VR technology experience. Headphones can also help the experience feel more real.
The quality of a virtual reality experience varies from device to device. For example, some devices are faster than others, which helps trick our brains into perceiving our experience as real.
A range of VR technology devices exist. There are extremely affordable options, such as Google Cardboard, or extremely expensive devices such as the $800 HTC Vive.
Inexpensive devices like Google Cardboard (as low as $14) allow users to experience virtual reality, but the experience may not be seamless. After a few minutes of use, inexpensive options tend to lose their tracking ability, causing discomfort and disorientation. However, for a few minutes of use, devices like Google Cardboard are definitely a steal.
More expensive options like HTC Vive provide an insane virtual reality experience. These devices are extremely fast and have insane resolution, meaning your experience is more life-like. On the other hand, VR technology is rapidly developing, so spending $800 on a device that will likely be out of a date in a year may not be worth it.
All in all, VR technology is an interesting development that’s changing the gaming world. Consider affordable virtual reality options for your gamer (or yourself).