So Which Experiences Are Worth Your Time?
Aside from impressive hardware, the Vive is launching with an impressive suite of complementary software. There are dozens of games available now, and we're told another 100+ should be available soon. A majority are designed to take advantage of room-scale VR, too. And so far, every title that I’ve tried is worth checking out. If it uses hand controls and exploits the physical space you make available to it, the resulting experience is unlike anything else you've tried.
To be frank, the Rift left me scratching my head as to why I'd need virtual reality to enjoy some of its games. Meanwhile, all of the games designed for the Vive leave no question as to why they require hand controls. VR for games that work in 2D is neat, but it feels like a novelty after sampling the alternative. Room-scale games do not feel that way at all.
Shooters are incredible, first-person adventures and puzzles twist your mind in ways you couldn't have imagined previously and even third-person games aren't so disconnected when your hands can reach in and interact.
You Really Do Have To Try This
HTC and Valve came together and created something truly incredible. The experience that you get from room-scale VR with hand-tracked controllers is going to change your definition of what gaming can be. Rather than sitting in a chair, using a gamepad and imagining what it’d be like to vanquish your enemies with a sword, you can get up and swing it yourself. That sense of glory from winning a battle gets a lot more real.
The truth is, I’ve never in my life had this kind of experience, and I mean that. I can't compare it to anything I've ever done before. Playing games on one monitor is fun. A bigger, higher-resolution screen is incrementally cooler. And gaming across multiple displays seems like the most immersive window into that world possible the first time you sit down in front of three screens. But none of that compares even remotely to being inside the game.
The Rift almost gets there. And it'll likely deliver a similar experience when Touch arrives later this year. But without hands, today I still feel like a spectator. Intuitive controls and the ability to walk around are indescribable assets to a virtual reality experience. Really, you need to find a rich friend who bought the Vive, sight unseen, and try it out for yourself. That's the only way you're going to fully comprehend the magnitude of what VR can be. If you emerge on the other end and claim this is a gimmick at risk of a quick death, I'd be surprised.
At $800, the Vive is far from an affordable toy. But I insist the price is well worth paying. Don’t compare this to a mouse, keyboard or joystick. Don’t even compare it to a racing wheel. The Vive and Rift signal the beginning of a new era in gaming. When 4K displays first surfaced, they sold for thousands of dollars. New technology always commands a high price. And what you're paying for VR is actually quite reasonable in that context. You just can't quantify the level of entertainment the Vive delivers.
High prices will come down, and more enthusiasts will be able to afford the Vive months from now. If you have the money to buy in now, you won’t be disappointed. If you don't, make a friend who does. Or you could consider selling some teeth. And just imagine how slaying skeletons will help keep your mind off the pain!
MORE: The History of Virtual RealityMORE: The HTC Vive VR Launch Titles
MORE: SteamVR Performance Test: 16 GPUs Compared
MORE: Beta SteamVR Interface Is Easy To Navigate, Offers Customization
MORE: The Oculus Rift ReviewMORE:
AMD Liquid VR ExplainedMORE:
Nvidia GameWorks VR Explained
MORE: The Past, Present, And Future Of VR And AR: The Pioneers SpeakMORE:
The Key To Virtual Reality Immersion Is The Audio
Kevin Carbotte is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware, covering Graphics. Follow him on Twitter.
Guess if it annoys me enough, I could always do a ceiling mount.
The problem with a ceiling mount is the length of the cable isn't enoug for that.
you'd have to run the cable up the wall, which would require at least 7 feet, likely more, than across the ceiling to your play space - which would be around 5 feet from the wall or more.
You might have enough range to reach your head, but you definitly won't be walking around in a room-scale space like that.
The cable is somethign we're just going to have to live with for now. It's not going away for the first generation, so get used to it. We're looking at probably two years or more with the current hardware before any major iterations hit the market. I may be wrong about that, it could end up being like the cell phone market, but for now, this is what we have to work with.
It's really not as big of a concern as people think. Yes, you are aware of it always. No, it doesn't detract from the experience enough to brush it off due to a tether.
Yeah its teh latency added by the wifi. Until someone finds some work around, its going to be cabled. It doesnt matter so much with the Rift since you can only sit on your ass and play it, but with this being superior with its ability to actually move around, being tethered can cause issues. Having said that, most every vid i've seen of people using this, it really wasnt much of an issue.
You can filter the SteamVR store to show you what is available for Standing experiences. These games still use the hand controlls, but they don't required that you walk around.
A quick search on steam showed there are 54 titles that support standing configurations and don't need room scale.
Over 30 of those titles launched today and are true VR games designed from the ground up on Vive.
For smooth graphics in VR, the target is 11.11ms of latency. GPUs are just barely able to deliver that reliably over HDMI, adding a wireless signal in there will make it far higher, making it infeasible for the majority of people.
I'm sure there's a wireless version in some research lab somewhere, but we're likely going to have to wait a while for that to hit consumer markets.