We all can agree that 2016 was the Year of the VR. Three major competitors - Oculus, HTC and Sony - released their respective headsets last year, proving once and for all that Virtual Reality is not just another fad. It is here to stay. However, the recent Consumer Electronics Show, traditionally held in Las Vegas, Nevada, proved once again that the market is subject to constant change. Countless different companies jumped into the picture. Recent trend - wireless, not tethered. With the second gen of VR devices being all the rage, let's look at what 2017 has to offer.
HTC Vive 2? Not so fast
All the rumors surrounding the possible launch of Vive 2 – codenamed ‘Oasis’ – in January were debunked at CES 2017. HTC representatives announced that they will, at least for now, focus on the peripherals for last year’s HTC Vive instead. The company is planning to build and expand upon an “ecosystem”, that would allow Vive users to experience higher levels of immersion. The new Vive motion tracker presented at this year’s CES proves that they mean business. The tracker can turn any object – from a toy gun to a golf club – into an interactive device. However, it is only January and there is still hope to get at least a glimpse of the lighter, cheaper, wireless and 4k equipped redesigned HTC Vive by the end of 2017.
Despite the obvious absence of Oculus developers at CES 2017, we finally got what we were promised back in March 2016 – a set of revolutionary game controllers. Oculus Touch was finally released in all its glory in December. With its "crescent moon" design, the controller comfortably wraps around your hand and the position of the triggers, face buttons and analog sticks make the experience intuitive and, well, simply fun! Now you can even give a ‘thumbs up’ in VR! With a streak of games fully embracing, the Touch soon to be released for the headset, Oculus users should be more than happy. Even though the developers remain tight-lipped about the future of the platform – especially the long-awaited Oculus Santa Cruz – they hint that 2017 is going to be “mind-blowing”.
A reasonable alternative
It’s always nice to have a choice. Those who don’t want to invest into expensive headgear and even more costly PC to run said gear through have a lot of options to choose from. First of all, there is PlayStation VR – a somewhat reasonably priced headset that runs through PlayStation 4. It was widely praised and considered a great gift this holiday season. However, the company executives remain silent about the further development of the device. Then, there’s always an option to turn your smartphone into a portable VR headset. These cheap alternatives come in many shapes and forms with almost every large electronics manufacturer making a contribution. From Google's next-gen Daydream View to the more fancy devices from Samsung, LG, Lenovo, Huawei and many others. Well, if you want to go really cheap – there’s always Google Cardboard! Even though these gadgets can’t compete with Oculus or HTC in resolution or level of immersion – they still can help the average user to get acquainted with the numerous and enthralling worlds of Virtual Reality.
The 2nd generation VR is on the horizon. The technology is already here even if not yet applicable for mass production. The never-ending stream of new patents and the steady growth of processing powers make this evident. It may not come out in such a revolutionary way as in 2016, but it’s definitely there. The year has just begun – let’s wait and see what it brings to the table.
Did you know that HTC Vive 2 rumored to be unveiled at CES 2017? Read the articles to find the details. What is more, learn the system requirements needed for Windows 10 VR and the best games for Samsung's Gear VR.