2016 believe it or not is vastly approaching. It will be the year of VR. With what looks to be a plethora of choice available when it comes to Virtual Reality who exactly is likely to the company drawing the most success from this technological advance? Oculus? No, Sony. Whilst devices like Oculus Rift are more matured and more widely available at this present time, the entry fee to be able to use the VR device is going to be the biggest off putting part about it. If you are like the majority of gamer’s out there, you have likely picked a console as your main staple of play and allowed your desktop to idly sit by playing entry level games with enough horsepower for basic video editing. To make the jump to VR on PC requires monetary investment in not only the hardware itself, but upgrading your machine to a level that Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive will play on it.
The recommended settings for using the Oculus Rift are as follows:
NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
2x USB 3.0 ports
Windows 7 SP1 or newer
Devices such as Google Cardboard and the Samsung Gear VR are cool, but are never going to give the type of VR experience that gamers crave for, so you can rule out these releases making a huge impact, or at least an impact that hardcore video game players will be looking at. We will be picking up one of these devices over the next week to give them a real try, but at the moment the App support for them appears nothing more than a novelty at the moment.
So it is then, Sony are sitting in a perfect spot at present. The hype surrounding Playstation VR is ramping up considerably, a very small number of people have had the chance to play it at events and even Sony are making these by appointment only. With no direct console competitor, Sony can start to take a lead on this space with Microsoft remaining silent at present over it’s VR situation. Sure, we have the Hololens but already the device is potentially alienating potential developers for it by making the SDK a very expensive $3000. And one could argue that whilst HoloLens is showing off some interesting AR mechanics for it’s VR/AR hybrid device, it’s a device that is best served for the enterprise market than consumers themselves. We already hold our concerns for it with it’s field of view under current specifications not being big enough to cover the natural viewing space of the human eye.
As it stands Sony are in cruise control and with 25,000,000 Playstation 4 units sold, even with a 50% adoption rate they can sell 12.5 million Playstation VR units, a figure that will certainly get third party developers licking their lips.
We feel Microsoft are biding their time, their loose relationship with Oculus VR does make us wonder when they will announce an official partnership to bring the Rift to Xbox One, but at the moment the channels are completely quiet on that happening. Microsoft could be waiting to see if VR adoption does take place and then pounce, something we feel could be all too late. It’s a technology that many are biting at the chomp for, but in an affordable way and personally I will be going for the device that hits the marketplace first.
What are your thoughts on the situation? Are Microsoft dragging their heels? Let us know in the comments section.