An article on Mirror Daily about Bethesda’s Skyrim VR raises the question: what exactly happened to VR? Everybody thought that virtual reality was going to be the next big thing in entertainment, but that was two years ago and it’s no big secret that VR failed to catch up with the consumers like it was supposed to. Various shortcomings like a high price, a lack of sufficient quality content, and the need to add extra computing power to the headsets (PC, smartphone, etc.) are all shortcomings that have held it back from reaching its full potential. However, experts suggest that things are going to be different in 2018 because virtual reality is about to hit new grounds this year.
The Problem of Dependency on Expensive Hardware
As mentioned earlier, one of the main shortcomings of current gen VR tech is that it needs additional support from powerful and expensive hardware to work as impressively as it should. The Oculus Rift, for example, back when it came out in 2016 needed a gaming PC with at least a GTX 970, 8GB of RAM and a powerful i5 or i7 processor to be usable in games. As a result, the total cost of buying both the Rift and a powerful enough gaming PC to use it with became unfeasible for a lot of people. The same goes for just about any other VR headset in the market right now; you either need a PC, a console or an expensive smartphone to use one that’s any good. This is about to change in 2018 because it’s going to be the year of the standalone VR Headsets.
Facebook Oculus 2018
Facebook’s Oculus Connect will be leading the pack of upcoming, independent virtual reality headsets in early 2018. As per reports, the Oculus Connect will be compatible with games and other content created for Samsung’s Gear VR headsets, but unlike Samsung’s products, the new Oculus won’t need any expensive smartphones to power it.
If you are looking for something more advanced with positional tracking and better in-game visuals, Facebook has you covered with the Santa Cruz; a more premium, but still independent Oculus VR headset. However, you will probably have to wait until next year to get your hands on one.
The bad news is that Google and HTC are no longer working together to create a standalone Daydream VR headset that was supposed to offer positional tracking and 6DOF with the help of Google’s WorldSense System. The good news is that the Daydream project is still being carried forward by Google, but they have partnered up with Lenovo now. As of now, it is impossible to tell when this device will be launched, but it is highly likely that the date is set somewhere in 2018.
It would be interesting to see if standalone devices can indeed make the difference that the VR OEMs and enthusiasts are hoping for. Even from an outsider’s point of view, a VR device with fewer wires, connections and additional costs just makes more sense; so hopefully, VR will finally find its big break in 2018.