Are VR Headsets Worth the Hype?

Gaming consoles are coming out every year with more intense graphics, better technology, and faster capabilities, but alongside the console upgrades, a new experience is taking place: virtual reality (VR). What was once a gimmick in movies like the Matrix and Avatar is now available in your very own living rooms…to an extent. We aren’t quite to the point of superimposing ourselves into external avatars yet!

These expensive accessories beg the question of whether or not the technology has come far enough to be worth the price. I’m here to tell you that it has!

There are two main VR experiences on the market for mass consumption right now: PlayStation VR and Oculus. These machines recreate a 360-degree digital environment we can manipulate using gyroscopic sensors, magnetometers, and accelerators. That’s all fancy terminology for…you move, your avatar moves. You can duck, jump, swipe, spin, lean, and grab items within the virtual world.

Now, I’m going to be honest. I’ve only gotten to experience the PS VR, but after using it daily for months, I can attest that it’s impressive. The original price tag of $399 seemed steep, but it’s taken my gaming capabilities and experience to the next level. For those who haven’t tried it, let me explain how it works from a non-techie perspective.

Once the system is installed, the headset is put on, and two motion wands are held (there is also an option for a shooting apparatus or a regular game controller, depending on what you’re playing). The PS VR is a bit finicky in its placement, which you won’t be able to gauge without wearing the equipment. The sensors above the console must be at the perfect angle and pointed directly at the player. If you’re far away, it won’t register your movements. Too close, and it makes you a bit dizzy. We use a mat on the living room floor to keep us within the optimal bounds of use.

Once everything is set up, you can choose your game. Thankfully, there are tons of games available that make it worthwhile, with more coming out every month. If you prefer first-person shooters, they exist. If you want fantasy adventure, it’s there. If you want to break a sweat and look phenomenally ridiculous while dancing, that’s one click away.

Personally, my favorite part of the whole experience is watching people experience it for the first time. It’s a lot more realistic than you’d expect, and many of my friends and family have struggled to remain within the bounds of the game while having fun. You lose all sense of the outer world, including sound, due to the headphones accompanying the headset.

So, is it worth it? YES! It’s fun, interactive, and feels incredibly futuristic. If you can get your hands on one of these VR accessories, you should!