Updated: Aug 18
Have you tried VR before and were unimpressed? Join the club! HOWEVER, you might be surprised to learn what is in store for the future of this technology!
When VR started to become a household product, I was so excited and ready to try it out. Every Sci-fi movie that featured anything close to a virtual reality always got me riled up (I, myself, am a fencer; so, the thought of being able to do so from my house with anyone is the world was absolutely thrilling). But the technology wasn’t quite there yet. It started off as a little better than a gimmick. The graphics weren’t that accurate and game producers were not creating content to make them worthwhile. Most producers saw #VR as ‘add on’ content, not the center piece.
When combined with the fact that you needed either a console or an extremely powerful PC to run the games, there wasn’t enough support to justify the cost for the amount of enjoyment you would get in return.
It had only been a couple of years since I last tried VR, how much could have changed? EVERYTHING!
But the more it was seen in the public eye the more it was called on to become a larger part of the consumer market. Museums, video game, and media producers started to realize how much more could be done and as a result, the technology rapidly advanced. What started grabbing my attention was when people around me started to invest more in them. “So and so has one for his PlayStation,” “my buddy’s friend has a room set up,” etc. That was when I realized it was really advancing.
The first VR headset I got, came to me second hand circa 2018. However, you needed a computer that was a monster to help “power” this space age piece of equipment, three sensors mounted in various locations, and a long cable reaching from the PC to your #headset. But, once it was all set up, everything was placed, and you popped the headset on… it wasn’t bad. The games at the time were pretty okay, but they were nothing I wanted to play for extended periods of time. My kids gave it a shot and enjoyed it, but it was a fragile piece of equipment, so it required supervision. That was the original Oculus, but I had similar experiences with the PlayStation VR. They were cool but not worth the investment. Neat but not worth a ton of time and effort. And after a while the cable wore out on the headset and an earpiece broke and it went into storage.
Then the Quest and Quest 2 came out and each were more reasonably priced. It had been a couple of years since the other headset, and I remembered it fondly, so I thought I might give this one a shot. It had only been a couple of years since I last tried VR, how much could have changed? EVERYTHING! The newest Quest didn’t need cords or a computer; the whole system was built into the headset without external sensors or cables. There was also a built-in store and the option (with some finagling) to connect to your PC and play those VR games too.
If you were on the fence, I get it. I get it completely. But you shouldn’t be. This is amazing tech that’s relatively approachable.
The games on the headset felt so much better. Responsive and intuitive. Swordplay, gunplay, movement the works. But the one that got me was ping pong (Eleven). Its super close to actual. Its feels just as rewarding slamming a shot back across the table as in real life. The variety of games was staggering. Not to mention the utility apps: set up a virtual office, visit a planetarium, watch a movie, the list goes on!
Look, if you were on the fence, I get it. I get it completely. But you shouldn’t be. This is amazing tech that’s relatively approachable. Don’t get me wrong it’s a young technology and there will be changes and things you are not going to like. But the experience is there. You do have to dig for it a little bit. Trying to find the right game that really sits well with you and makes it fun. This tends to be more internal. Trust ya gut. I have not found a fencing game but it’s only a matter of time. And in the meantime I can play one of the plethora of other games that are good and enjoyable.