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Prices have come down and the range of games and experiences available is rapidly expanding.
The hype around virtual reality (VR) has existed for some time now, but high-priced headsets and a lack of consumer knowledge has hindered mainstream take-up. Well, things are changing.
What is VR?
VR lets you experience a world that doesn’t actually exist. Just put on a VR headset to travel into space or visit fantastical lands wherever you are. You’ll also get accompanying sound through integrated headphones. And if you add touch controllers to the mix, you can interact with your virtual environment via your hands too.
How do I get set up?
There are three main ways to experience VR at the moment: PC and console-based VR, where the headset and controllers are powered by a computer; stand-alone headsets, which don’t need to be hooked up to a computer or mobile; and mobile-based VR, where a high-performing mobile sits in a holder and the phone’s display and hardware provide the VR visuals.
VR headsets are better and cheaper than they’ve ever been. A high-resolution screen will give you a staggeringly immersive experience. PC and console-based VR offer the richest experience, but stand-alone headsets and mobile-based VR will still blow you away.
There’s a great range of VR games to experiment with. In first-person shooter Robo Recall you’ll act as an agent tasked with recalling rogue robots. In action-adventure L.A. Noire you’ll play a detective hunting down clues to gory crimes. For many, the technological marvel of VR is enough, and there are hundreds of cool experiences to keep you entertained. Explore the depths of the sea with Ocean Rift, where you’ll run into dolphins, turtles and sharks. Travel the world without leaving your living room through Google Earth VR: search for specific locations or soar around the globe dropping in on sights like the Empire State Building and the Pyramids of Giza. There are more than 1,000 apps and games available for Samsung Gear VR in the Oculus Store. VR Canvas is a really fun way to create amazing virtual reality art and animation. Or download Star Coaster VR to ride a rollercoaster in space.
The best for mobile VR
Pop an S9 or S9+ into the Gear VR with Controller and the enormous Infinity Display instantly creates a totally immersive experience.
A decent VR headset, complete with hand-tracking controls, will now cost you £500 at most (that’s half of what you’d have forked out when they were first introduced), and as little as £200.
Mobile-based VR is a great entry-level way to experience VR. If you’re the owner of a compatible Samsung smartphone, you can try the Gear VR headset plus controller for just £119.99.
What’s the future for VR?
If you’re still unsure whether VR is worth the investment just yet, you’ll be interested to hear VR sales aren’t faltering. In fact, the VR market is expected to grow by 50% each year over the next four years (IDC, 2018) thanks to the technology becoming more affordable, greater choice of headsets, and smartphone headset sales. The technology will continue to improve, and you can expect to see more games and greater experimentation.
VR has vast potential. Right now, the technology is only scratching the surface of what’s possible. From gaming to education to travel, the future of VR is worth getting excited about – so don’t get left behind.
Did you know?
You can find lots of 360-degree videos to explore with the Samsung Gear VR on the YouTube VR app or here.