The VR Dilemma

I am not a trendsetting techventurer. I do not have the scars to prove that I live on the edge. I am not exactly a vanilla homebody either, but finances are tight. I believe in the potential of Virtual Reality gaming, but I have yet to test that faith. Do I go all-in? Do I stay all-out? It’s a dilemma I imagine many of us are going to have to face very soon.

It all started with the Kinect, Microsoft’s Hail Mary that ended in a Safety. I never once played with a Kinect, but I really wanted to. When they first announced it, I was excited and engaged, but the software was not there to lure me in. All of my friends were naysayers and each was ultimately proven correct, but I still have a notion that in the vast multiverse there exists a universe where Kinect is a household word and the Xbox One was not being phased out in favor of a pseudio replacement named after an astrological sign.

Kinect may not have worked, but I do not think the technology was really there yet. Something more needed to go along with the tracking. Something like a headset strapped to one’s forehead. Something like Virtual Reality devices like the Playstation VR, Vive, and Oculus Rift. Even if the thought instantly conjures up red-and-black migraines from a bygone era (and a mostly bygone hardware company), there’s something alluring about placing ourselves fully in the games we want to play.

I have yet to try VR. I keep my eyes peeled for any opportunity, but I have not seen one yet here in north Florida. I want to be convinced. I want to fall in love. For the longest time, I have supported the notion that first person is the best view for immersion. I miss the days of playing EverQuest, staring up at mountains, statues, and giants, and feeling like Norrath itself were hovering above me.

VR can do much more than just first person games. The possibilities are endless and traditional gaming does not need to be sacrificed to fit a new way of seeing those games. I am more excited for first person immersion, but my mind waxes with wanderlust. Where can I go? What will I see? Who can I become? What can I do?

Hopeless idealism aside, the world of dreams must always be filtered through the drain pipes of reality. And they lead to green money. Virtual Reality is an expensive prospect. Worse, its an early adopter gambit with no guarantees it will pay off. Like so many Wii U, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 launch owners, I could easily feel abandoned in a couple of years with some newer, later, and greater hardware takes over.

And as much as I can hope and dream about the games that are possible, rarely do developers follow suit with likeminded visions. I had dreams of the Kinect, but no connections were ever made. It was a shovelware platform, not unlike the Wii outside of Nintendo’s products. How soon will VR become the same?

If I do take the leap, from which cliff do I hurl myself? Do I go with the Oculus Rift, older and more established, but also expensive and controller-less? Do I go with the Vive, an expensive prospect in its own right, which will likely also beg me to upgrade my computer? Do I stick with my Playstation 4, get a Playstation VR, and risk Sony dropping yet another hardware push?

I do not know and I hate that so much.


11 thoughts on “The VR Dilemma”

  1. I agree with a lot of this! I also don’t know which to buy, if I even decide to buy… So much is still up in the air, and frankly the technology doesn’t impress me that much yet. I’ve tried VR twice at conventions and while kinda interesting, it doesn’t feel like that big a deal to me yet. Nothing has stood out. It’s kind of just wearing slightly uncomfortable headgear. I know I might in the minority, as I’ve heard other people who tried it say, “You just don’t understand how awesome it is until you try it!” but whatever. I’m holding out for now until an impressive game comes along or things are a little more stable with the options, etc… As you say though, it is a very cool concept and I do like the idea of VR. I guess I just want a holodeck or something!

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  2. Same boat here. Really if I could just use a VR headset as a monitor replacent I’d be happy. Being able to play games in a reclining chair or comfortable couch, not having to worry about distance from your monitor or other ergonomic issues that come from sitting at a desk – that’s when a VR headset will earn my $$ (Avegant Glyph is close…). The screen quality is just not there yet (and neither is actual VR gaming imo) but man, future looks good.

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    1. That’d be cool. I either need monitor replacement or some sort of mobile option. I think what we have now is a bit too clunky. Once we can get better screen quality and wireless at an affordable price, then I may really be on board.


  3. I have the Samsung Gear VR and it’s honestly quite something. I’m too cheap and nervous to invest in any of the games yet, but the free stuff I’ve experienced is pretty remarkable. And it’s fun watching YouTube 360 videos on it. I can certainly see myself playing games once I decide to make that leap.

    Though, while the act of being in VR is very immersive, it’s incredibly isolating, because you are in another “literal” space all by yourself. It’s a strange feeling; hard to put into words. But it’s mainly because of that, over motion sickness, that I can’t use the device for long periods of time. It’s just…weird. I remain interested in seeing what comes of true gaming VR, but after playing around with the Gear VR, I don’t think it’s for me.


  4. It’s definitely difficult to decide what to do about VR at the moment. It looks interesting, but it’s hard to tell where it’s going and even if it’s going in a fun direction. That said, I’m planning on sitting these early days of VR out. I want to where they’re going with this before jumping onboard.

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