Rising Virtual Reality Technology

Entertainment changing right before your eyes

Elliot Johnson, Cactus Staff Writer

The next level of entertainment is coming. Being immersed in a total virtual reality environment seems like something out of Star Trek, but many companies are looking toward releasing their own type of virtual reality headset to accompany their various entertainment platforms. Virtual reality, or VR, simulates an immersive, interactive environment around the person wearing the headset. Here are the top 3 VR headsets that are almost ready to be released in the coming months.

Facebook is releasing the first wave of the Oculus Rift later in March to the people that preordered it at the beginning of the year. Right out of the box, at $599, the Oculus Rift will come with the VR headset, the sensor for the headset, a special Oculus Remote used to navigate the device, an Xbox One controller for the exclusive games set to be compatible with the Oculus Rift, and needed cables to connect to a PC. To use the Oculus Rift, the company has released a checklist of the minimum computer hardware requirements to operate the VR headset to its fullest capabilities. Along with preorders of the headset, they also offered Oculus Ready PCs bundled with the VR equipment. All of the PCs being offered in a bundle are made by top computer companies such as Dell, Asus, and Alienware. The bundles of Oculus Rift and Oculus Ready PCs start at $1499 and go up depending on the PC specs.

The HTC Vive is being developed by partners HTC, one of the top mobile device developers, and Steam, one of the biggest PC gaming platforms in recent years, to create the next level of gaming. The HTC Vive can connect to any compatible PC or Steam Machine, which is Steam’s console/PC hybrid. One of the features that makes this VR machine so attractive is that it will have two sensor boxes included with the core bundle. These two sensors are meant to be hung on the walls of the room the HTC Vive will be played in to track the player’s movements and environment with 360 degrees of motion tracking.

The HTC Vive also has a built in camera on the front of the headset to incorporate the surrounding environment into virtual reality and to see through the headset without taking it off. The VR headset will come with two wireless motion controllers that have precise motion control and haptic feedback. This VR headset has one of the most expensive price tags at $799. Preorders for the device opened in February and the first wave is set to be released early April.

Sony is also planning on releasing the PlayStation VR, which will work with Sony’s PlayStation 4. The core system of PlayStation VR will include the VR headset, VR cables, Stereo headphones, and a PlayStation VR demo disk. To use the PlayStation VR, PlayStation 4 owners will also need to have the PlayStation Camera and at least two PlayStation Move controllers. Preorders for the PlayStation VR bundle will start on March 22. The bundles will include everything needed for PlayStation 4 owners to experience PlayStation VR: the core PlayStation VR system, a PlayStation Camera, two PlayStation Move controllers, and the PlayStation VR World game disk. The complete bundle is selling for $499. As of now, only the bundle has been announced for preorder. That means if someone has the required camera and move controllers already, they will have to wait until the October release date to get just the core PlayStation VR system.