But the competition is closer than ever. Vive is also excellent (and still offers the best room scale), while the Sony PlayStation VR is a big seller thanks to its significantly lower price and the ubiquity of PlayStation 4 consoles ready to run it. There are now better standalone VR headsets too if you want a hassle-free route to the immersive realms. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Cover-Mobile-Phone-Case-For-Coolpad-Note-5-Lite-5-0-inch-Frosted-Matte-Design-Hard/32826926530.html
Many PlayStation VR games work with the DualShock 4, so you don't even need motion controls. However, those motion controls are where the PlayStation VR lags behind; the headset still uses the PlayStation Move wands from the PlayStation 3 era, and they aren't nearly as capable or comfortable as the Oculus Touch controllers. They're also expensive, and not always included in PlayStation VR bundles. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32793397293.html
Google and Samsung still offer phone-based VR headsets in the form of the Daydream View and the Gear VR, and even Nintendo has gotten into the game with its Labo VR Kit for the Nintendo Switch. However, these shell-like headsets, which require a phone or some other device physically inserted into them, feel like novelties next to more powerful headsets that can provide more immersive experiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAzHtLXxQsM&t=1s
HTC has branched out beyond tethered headsets with the standalone Vive Focus series. Originally launched only in China, the Vive Focus came to North America late last year, and its 6DOF follow-up, the Vive Focus Plus, will see worldwide release later this year. Both are completely self-contained VR headsets similar to the Lenovo Mirage Solo, capable of full motion tracking and room mapping. The Vive Focus headsets are currently being aimed at the enterprise market rather than consumers, emphasizing their ability to offer virtual training and conferencing in a business context. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Anker-SoundCore-Dual-Driver-Portable-Wireless-Bluetooth-Speaker-with-24-Hour-Playtime-66-Foot-Bluetooth-Range/32718503055.html
Convincing Virtual Reality applications require more than just graphics. Both hearing and vision are central to a person’s sense of space. In fact, human beings react more quickly to audio cues than to visual cues. In order to create truly immersive Virtual Reality experiences, accurate environmental sounds and spatial characteristics are a must. These lend a powerful sense of presence to a virtual world. To experience the binaural audio details that go into a Virtual Reality experience, put on some headphones and tinker with this audio infographic published by The Verge. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/YI-Handheld-Gimbal-3-Axis-Handheld-Stabilizer-for-Action-Camera/32820539529.html
By 1994, Sega released the Sega VR-1 motion simulator arcade attraction, in SegaWorld amusement arcades. It was able to track head movement and featured 3D polygon graphics in stereoscopic 3D, powered by the Sega Model 1 arcade system board. Apple released QuickTime VR, which, despite using the term "VR", was unable to represent virtual reality, and instead displayed 360 photographic panoramas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huROjodx9Lk&t=1s
^ Bukhari, Hatim; Andreatta, Pamela; Goldiez, Brian; Rabelo, Luis (2017-01-01). "A Framework for Determining the Return on Investment of Simulation-Based Training in Health Care". INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing. 54: 0046958016687176. doi:10.1177/0046958016687176. ISSN 0046-9580. PMC 5798742. PMID 28133988. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/YI-360-VR-Camera-Dual-Lens-5-7K-HI-Resolution-Panoramic-Camera-with-Electronic-Image-Stabilization/32853610445.html
Fast Five and Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin put together this short film for Google's Spotlight Story program in 2016, and it's still one of the more ambitious live action VR shorts out there. Lin opts to use 360 cameras to put you in what feels like a big budget blockbuster, with an alien hellbent on chasing you through the subway. It's absolutely thrilling.
But the competition is closer than ever. Vive is also excellent (and still offers the best room scale), while the Sony PlayStation VR is a big seller thanks to its significantly lower price and the ubiquity of PlayStation 4 consoles ready to run it. There are now better standalone VR headsets too if you want a hassle-free route to the immersive realms.
When it comes to moving your feet, most peripherals are stuck in traditional gaming mode: You jump with 'A' or use a joystick to walk, ignoring immersive motion from the waist down. Believing VR should have some more mobility options, the folks at 3DRudder created a VR footpad that allows the user to control all movement – horizontal, vertical and turning – using only their feet. (No word on realistically jerky jumping as of yet, though.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Scd9baRjf8&t=1s
There remains a significant amount of confusion about the differences between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. (Check out our exhaustive primers on Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality for an in-depth look at the differences.) The public seems to think that AR is a phone experience, while only VR requires an HMD. Mixed Reality devices like the Microsoft Hololens use a headset to overlay 3D imagery on top of the real world. Very cool, but not Virtual Reality.
For those who aren’t hip on the trends and changes of technology, 360° video or VR (Virtual Reality) is video content that is operated much like that of Google Maps; you can look in any direction (hence 360°) at any given time. Except, unlike Google Maps, which is a 360° photo, this is video, constantly happening around you. It crosses over into being considered virtual reality — when you view these videos on a headset/goggles (or a phone in goggles most commonly) so that as you move your head and body, it changes what you’re looking at and operates in a ‘realistic’ way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhIRvex35V0&t=1s
So far, Apple has been very cool on VR, but that's slowly starting to change, at least from a software development side. OS X High Sierra enables VR development on three major VR software platforms: Steam, Unity, and Unreal. It also uses Apple's Metal 2 framework, which the company says provides the performance necessary for VR. No plans for any Apple-branded VR headset have been announced—we'll much more likely see Rift or Vive compatibility added to Macs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71JUbb7QT1w&t=1s