With upcoming headset releases from Oculus in the form of the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S, and fresh competition—yes, of course I’m talking about the Valve Index—the state of VR hardware is as vibrant as ever. Since the Oculus Rift came out for consumers 3 years ago, VR headsets and controllers, as well as GPUs have all improved. While the latest hardware is not necessarily leaps and bounds better, it is certainly better: 2K or not quite 2K panels are now pretty much standard, we're starting to move away from requiring base stations and we have virtual fingers!
There have been significant quality of life improvements as well. We have better lenses, faster refresh rates, a larger FOV and, eventually, eye tracking, all of which bring clarity to the virtual world.
While the hardware improvements are great, and needed, VR is still not mainstream. Nor have we obtained the crystal clear promise of truly immersive VR, even the best VR headsets have flaws.
I’m skeptical that, even if we had the VR hardware, our current GPUs would be able to muster the processing oomph to power them. Additionally, next-gen headsets will require a much greater leap in components. I want 4K panels for each eye. I want a refresh rate as fast as a top-of-the-line gaming monitor and a variable one to boot. I want eye tracking software that selectively processes pixels depending on where you look on the screen and perfect hand tracking. Clearly, I’m a needy person.
While the pinnacle of VR hardware may still be a bit of a ways off, the industry is still at pace for healthy growth and development. Games may be lacking (where’s my Half Life 3?), but the state of VR is good, and given its infancy, possibly even great.
And that brings us to this week’s Community Questions: What do you think of the state of VR? Have you bought in yet, or are you still in wait-and-see mode? Why? Let us know in the forums.