Virtual reality has been around for two years now, and more and more people are buying VR glasses. But which headset should I buy and what do I need for VR? We’ll tell you everything you need to know to get started with VR.
In this article, you can read
- What is VR and what you need for it
- Which VR-Glasses are available
- What you should consider when buying a console or a PC for VR
- Which VR apps are particularly suitable for beginners
Virtual Reality has become an integral part of the entertainment industry. In addition, this technology, which is still very fresh, can be used in all conceivable areas of daily life: tourism, education, medicine, business-to-business applications and much more. Virtual reality has what it takes to change our world in the long term.
If you want to get started today, you can take advantage of a whole range of VR glasses. But that’s where the problems start: Those who do not regularly deal with VR will hardly know what to look out for and which VR headset is suitable for them. In our following beginner guide, we will give you a comprehensive overview of the VR market in 2018 and tell you everything you need to know about VR glasses and VR applications.
What is Virtual Reality and how good is immersion?
Virtual Reality is the simulation of a three-dimensional environment created with the help of VR glasses. Form and extent of the represented worlds are only subject to the limits of development: complete parallel worlds are theoretically possible and already exist in practice.
Fallout 4 VR tested: Not perfect, but great.
Fallout 4 VR brings us a complete post-apocalyptic game world with tons of content.
High-quality VR headsets use stereoscopic image reproduction to give the impression that we are actually in a different environment or world. More or less precise motion tracking transfers both head and controller movements from reality to the virtual world. In some cases, full-body tracking is even possible, for example via the Vive Trackers or haptic full-body suits. A suitable audio reproduction (3D sound) provides for the suitable sound scenery, which adapts perfectly to our position in the virtual environment.
Depending on the application, this leads to outstanding experiences that convey other worlds in an extremely credible way and, moreover, completely change everyday activities such as shopping or air travel. That still doesn’t convince you? No wonder, because you really have to experience VR yourself to understand the fascination behind it and its enormous potential. That’s why it makes sense to try out VR first.
Can I try VR anywhere?
We recommend every person interested in VR to try out some VR glasses before making a purchase if only to determine whether their VR is acceptable. Some players suffer from motion sickness in different forms. In our article on motion sickness, we explain what this is all about and how to deal with it.
Team spirit: HUXLEY is designed for two to eight players. © EXIT Adventures GmbH
The HUXLEY stationary VR experience in Berlin is the perfect way to try out VR for the first time.
Of course, it is best to try VR glasses with friends and acquaintances. You can also test VR glasses such as the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR at a MediaMarkt near you. VR arcades (amusement arcades), which are now available all over Germany, are also a good option.
Special stationary VR locations, such as HUXLEY in Berlin (Exit VR), combine the VR test with an impressive VR experience. In our detailed article, we tell you how you can test or rent VR headsets. Did you enjoy the induction session? Then you’re probably wondering what you need for virtual reality in your own four walls.
What do I need for VR?
First of all, you have to decide on VR-glasses. We will come to that in the next but one point of this article. First, you have to choose between a self-sufficient VR-glasses and a PC- or console-based headset. Self-sufficient VR glasses like the upcoming Oculus Go or Mirage Solo do not require a tracking system, so you do not need to install cameras or sensors. Moreover, self-sufficient VR glasses do not require an external computing unit: A cable – for example to a PC – is not necessary, since the necessary components are installed directly in the glasses.
However, some of these glasses have to accept significant reductions in performance and presentation, as the installed components are generally on the level of current smartphones.
There are smartphone-based VR glasses such as Gear VR or Daydream VR. These are VR glasses with a smaller form factor than, for example, the PC-based VR headsets, which get their presentation and performance from a suitable smartphone that is inserted into the glasses.
At present, only the PlayStation 4 can come up with suitable VR glasses for the consoles. The extremely successful PlayStation VR is currently the most cost-effective solution for high-quality virtual reality and it can also offer many high-quality VR productions.
PC-based virtual reality is offered with headsets like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or the Windows Mixed Reality series. Besides a powerful PC, we have to install a suitable tracking system for Vive and Rift and need – if we want to use room filling VR (Roomscale) – sufficient space.
Which VR headsets are available?
Which VR headsets are available?
The Pico Goblin is already available for smaller applications in a limited range. Also from Pico the Neo-Headset will be released this year, which offers a significantly higher resolution and a stronger processor. Lenovo launches the Mirage Solo, the first self-sufficient VR glasses for the Daydream platform.
Oculus also wants to release its own self-sufficient VR glasses this year: The Oculus Go will probably be released in May 2018 and all information about these and other self-sufficient VR headsets including their technical specifications and prices can be found in our detailed article on the topic.
Smartphone-based VR glasses
Probably the best-known VR glasses in this segment is the Gear VR from Samsung. Besides its own VR apps, it has access to the Oculus Store and its applications (if compatible). This VR headset requires a compatible smartphone, such as the Samsung S8 or S9, followed by Google’s Daydream VR, which is also compatible with Samsung’s top devices, but also with Google’s own pixel range.
There is currently no official VR solution for the iPhone. We have compiled matching VR glasses for iPhones in a separate article for you.
VR-Headsets for consoles
We had expected the new and powerful XBOX One X to come with VR support or even our own VR glasses. Finally, Microsoft offers suitable VR glasses with the Windows Mixed Reality series. But Microsoft remains the eternal runner-up when it comes to gaming: Sony is making a real hit with the PlayStation VR and has now sold well over two million devices.
As many households own a PlayStation 4, the financial hurdle for them is considerably lower than for PC-based VR headsets.
PC-based VR glasses
The Oculus Rift is owned by social media giant Facebook and comes with excellent touch controllers and the camera-based Constellation tracking system. The biggest competitor is HTC Vive, whose great advantage is the extremely accurate Lighthouse tracking system.
Meanwhile, Microsoft operates the Windows Mixed Reality platform, for which various manufacturers have released their own VR glasses. A special feature of these glasses is the inside-out tracking, i.e. no external tracking system is required. Our movements are tracked by cameras built directly into the headset, but this can affect accuracy in some situations.
Which VR-Glasses should I buy?
Now you know the most important VR glasses. But which one of them you should buy? If you only have one PlayStation 4, the decision will probably be fairly easy for you. The same applies if you just want to take a look at VR in between, then the smartphone-based solutions are probably your first choice.
However, in addition to the basic information above, other things also play an important role, such as the technical specifications. Therefore we have listed all information as well as advantages and disadvantages of the individual VR glasses for you in our extensive purchase consultation.
Is my PC VR-ready?
Have you opted for PC-based VR glasses? Then you should first test if your PC meets the minimum requirements. Below are the requirements for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality. In addition, under each table, you will find a link to an official tool that checks your computer for VR compatibility.
System requirements for HTC Vive
|CPU||Intel i5-4590 or AMD FX8350|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better|
|R.A.M.||4 GB or more|
|video output||HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2|
|USB port||1x USB 2.0|
|Operating system||from Windows 7 SP1|
About this SteamVR test tool, you learn whether your PC is fit for VR.
System requirements for Oculus Rift
|CPU||Intel i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or higher|
|GPU||NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti / AMD Radeon RX 470 or higher|
|R.A.M.||at least 8 GB|
|video output||HDMI 1.3|
|USB port||1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0|
|Operating system||from Windows 8.1|
With this tool you can test if your PC can run the Oculus Rift.
System requirements for Windows Mixed Reality
|Desktop PC / notebook (separate graphics card)||Desktop PC / notebook (integrated graphics card)|
|operating system||Windows 10 Case Creators Update||Windows 10 Case Creators Update|
|processor||Intel Core i5 series or AMD FX-4350 4.2 GHz||Intel Core i5 series|
|graphic card||NVidia GTX 965M or AMD RX 460 or better||Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 or better|
|random access memory||8GB DDR3||8GB DDR3|
|memory||10 gigabytes||10 gigabytes|
|video output||1 x HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2||1 x HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2|
|USB port||1 x USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C||1 x USB 3.0 Type-A or Type-C|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 4.0||Bluetooth 4.0|
With a software tool you can directly check if your PC tolerates Windows Mixed Reality.
Which are the requirements when buying a VR-PC?
Your PC ranks under the term “olle Möhre” (old carrot) and failed the requirement test all along the line? Then you have to reach deep into your pocket and buy a new computer or replace individual parts. In our detailed article, we will show you how to make your computer fit for VR. We will tell you exactly which components you need to pay particular attention to and also have a few good tips for complete systems.
Things to consider when buying a PlayStation 4 for VR?
Of course, you can use the VR glasses PlayStation VR with a normal PlayStation 4. However, there is the more powerful PlayStation 4 Pro, which we particularly recommend for VR applications. The advantages over the standard version of PlayStation are higher resolution and improved edge smoothing. Depending on the implementation of the respective game, you can enjoy further improvements such as more complex lighting and more stable frame rates.
Which VR apps or VR games should I start with?
Start quietly if you want to get started with VR. Relaxed VR experiences like TheBlu provide for acclimatization and at the same time a neat wow effect. This can be enhanced with musical experiences such as Fantasynth or Senza Peso. Valves VR game collection The Lab is perfect for getting your first VR gaming experience.
PSVR owners should definitely include the top title Moss in their collection of the first VR games. We have compiled an overview of recommended titles for the beginning with VR in a separate article for you.
Are there already VR movies I can watch?
Complete 3D films are currently still in short supply. Apart from Pearl, Invasion, Son of Jaguar or the excellent Dispatch, there are still not many films that have been realized in real 3D. And it will probably take quite a while until the first real VR blockbusters appear. The new VR film studio from Intel, for example, gives hope for future top productions.
Depending on the VR headset, there are different platforms that provide us with many 360-degree videos in the meantime. These include, for example, Jaunt VR or Within. We present eleven excellent VR films on our top list. You can find even more films in our film overview. And of course, we have a lot of information about VR films for adults.
Where can I find current VR news, reviews and guides at any time?
With us, of course. We at VR-World are committed to providing our readers with high-quality information on virtual reality. We attach great importance to the consumer’s and private user’s point of view and evaluate hardware and software for fun, user-friendliness, overall impression and price-performance ratio.
In addition, we keep you up to date daily with interesting news and provide you with detailed context on every topic. If you are interested in VR, then we are definitely the right place for all information about VR, as well as mixed and augmented reality. We look forward to welcoming you here regularly.v