OT: Virtual Reality - has Anyone Bought or Used a System?

Submitted by bluebyyou on December 20th, 2016 at 11:16 AM

A question for the assembled masses of techies while we wait for our next recruit to Go Blue...virtual reality (VR) systems, does anyone have one?  

I've been looking at a couple of systems that are popular such as the HTC Vive and the Oculus system.  These toys are still a bit pricey but look like they could be a lot of fun. I'd be very curious to get feeback from anyone having one of these systems.  Would you buy one now and if so, which one? 

Here's a link to a video if you want to check this out. If someone can embed this vid, that would be helpful.




December 20th, 2016 at 11:23 AM ^

I have a couple buddies who have the HTC Vive, and from the couple times I have played it, it is awesome!

You need a good size space to use it, so if your play area is limited you might want to go with the Oculus since you can just sit at your desk and use that one.

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December 20th, 2016 at 11:37 AM ^

Likewise.  A buddy of mine has all 3.  HTC Vine and OR and PS4vr.  HTC Vine is probably the best in the limited time I spent with it, but honestly I would wait for VR to get better before splashing the big cash to get it now.  I can't wait to see it in 5 years, but now, all 3 systems are very limited in graphic capabilities, gameplay, motion controls.  It's still a ways off from being truly revolutionary, but I did enjoy the limited time with them.  Batman VR and the ocean game on the psworld on Ps4 is pretty cool, but very limited in its capabilities.  Some of the Rollercoaster vr's on HTC were really cool.  I cant' wait to see what the tech can do in the future.


December 20th, 2016 at 11:26 AM ^

I've been wondering about this myself.  Are the VR games offered these days just arcade-y type stuff?  I want to play Battlefield or NHL on that puppy, that would be insane (and terrifying).


December 20th, 2016 at 11:27 AM ^

Depends. If you are a gadget geek, then it's worth the price to see some near future technology in its infant stages. Some people love that. I personally have tried a couple and while they are incredible in their potential they are still several years away from being successfully commercialized. The current versions are incredibly cool gimmicks, but like most gimmicks their novelty wears off.

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December 20th, 2016 at 11:38 AM ^

Tech goes through stages like this. Good technology whose commercial viability is questionable. Anyone sink money into a 3DO? It was a powerful piece of hardware without a killer app. MP3 players and touch screens existed for years before Apple made them work. 

I think VR has real potential, but I think it will be some time before it's something that has enough critical mass to be worth the kind of money they're asking. 


December 20th, 2016 at 11:27 AM ^

I picked up a Vive on black Friday, and I love it. Pricey for sure, but if you have a system that can handle it - it's amazing. TiltBrush is mindblowing.

Also, VR porn is totally a thing.

wolverine in jp

December 20th, 2016 at 4:04 PM ^

The VR connects directly to the PC (HDMI), so yes, you need to be in the same room.  I would stay away from any networked type of stuff (even if it is possible) because it could add latency into the system.

The newest 1070 and 1080 GTX cards from NVIDIA have a lot of improvements for VR.  For example, normal cards render two images, one for each eye.  The 1070/1080 cards will render one image then offset this image for each eye.  Simultaneous refresh can improve the "nausea" factor.  I beleive the minimum for VR is either GTX970 or GTX980.  In reality it should be GTX 980ti or GTX 1070/1080.  Processor has little affect on performance (as long is it is not the bottleneck.)

HTC Vive seems to be the best product out there, but have not personally used it.  I have samsung VR, and it is ok but pixelated. 


December 20th, 2016 at 11:28 AM ^

No, but a lot of paid actors pretend that it's going to make you cry tears of joy, be the most incredible experience of your life, and in general blow your mind.

I, personally, have my doubts.


December 20th, 2016 at 3:18 PM ^

You should really try it before doubting the sincerity of people's reactions.  VR can be pretty mindblowing.  It's also pretty difficult to describe just how authentic and intense the experience can be to anyone who hasn't experienced it.  It's sort of like trying to describe sex to a virgin.

Anyway, for now, I have a difficult time recommending the Rift or Vive to anyone without knowing more about them.  Generations are going to roll by quickly, both units are going to improve greatly with each iteration, the price is going to come down quite a bit, devs are still figuring out what works and what doesn't in VR, and content will grow exponentially.  The value of purchasing a headset 2-3 years from now will probably 10x that of buying one today. 

That said, it is an amazing experience right now.   I know about a half dozen people who own one or both headsets.  All of them believe that VR has a big future.  As for the current headsets, they're split on 'I use it all the time' and 'It's amazing, but lacks content and is collecting dust.  Still, I can't wait to see where VR is at in a few years.'

I'm sort of in the latter group.  It's definitely got a big future.  It's just a matter of when.  VR-wise, I probably enjoy letting other people experience it for the first time more than anything now. 

I guess that my advice for a random would be if you can afford it, buy it.  It's a completely unique experience.  Almost instantly, you will see a potential in this that is very difficult to imagine until you put on that headset.  If money is an issue at all, wait for the next gen headsets.  They're going to be operating on a smartphone schedule, so you'll probably see new headsets every 18-24 months for awhile.  8k screens and foveated rendering will make the current headsets feel like going from black & white to color.  

As for which one to buy, they're both great.  Do your research, but I'll say this:  Step 1.  If you have the space to take advantage of room scale VR, buy the Vive.    

Also, check and see if there's a PSVR demo station in your area.  https://www.playstation.com/en-us/explore/playstation-vr/trial/  

It's worth checking out to get an idea of what you would be buying.  PSVR is not too far behind the other headsets.



December 20th, 2016 at 11:32 AM ^

If you don't already have a PC system that can handle it, you're looking at a four-figure outlay for a system that doesn't have that much stuff to do yet. The PC/graphics card requirements are pretty stiff.

I know Steam in particular, which supports both but partners with HTC, has a number of VR games. There's a space shooter called "House of the Dying Sun" that is Vive enabled and that I've thought about picking up for my conventional monitor setup. I imagine it would be a lot of fun.

The problem is that the systems are so expensive that the user base will be small, so developers aren't inclined to invest a lot to utilize the advantages of VR. My guess is that we're still some time from either a significant drop in price or from a "VR enabled" trend in the big-budget games that could make a VR system a real asset.


December 20th, 2016 at 11:41 AM ^

is heavy into all of this stuff.  Apparently, XBox is coming out with something next November called "Project Scorpio," a system that is going to run native in 4K with a selection of games made for VR play.  I don't really know what that is going to look like altogether, but it sounds like next Christmas is going to be an expensive one.


December 20th, 2016 at 12:46 PM ^

If the next full generation of game systems (Ps5, XBox [Integer]) comes fully VR equipped, that is probably the inflection point. Especially if they ship capable of supporting multiple headsets at once.

If Steve Jobs were around I wouldn't put it past Apple to make a move here if they could make it viable, but they have been rudderless for a while and I wouldn't trust them to do it right at this point.


December 20th, 2016 at 11:36 AM ^

I tried the Playstation VR and thought it was fantastic. This of course requires a PS4 in addition to the VR gear, but that might be cheaper than having to buy a new PC that can handle virtual reality. Would recommend if you're looking specifically for VR gaming


December 20th, 2016 at 11:38 AM ^

I don't know anything about the headsets but I have gone and tested a BETA version of The Void, which is a VR experience in a real world environment (think headset with walking around in a warehouse set up to mimic the VR environment). It was literally unbelievable. The game was exploring an ancient Mayan ruin and there was a torch you could grab and pick up and carry and feel the heat from, a breeze and cooler air when you moved "outside" the ruins, etc.

If you like VR check out this link:




December 20th, 2016 at 11:39 AM ^

I have the Playstation VR headset. It fits nicely, and works well for what it is. Easy to set up and  if you already have a PS4 is one of the more affordable options. 

Biggest thing is there is not currently a killer game that really takes advantage of the headset and is really worth playing in VR. There are lots of cool demos and a smattering of lower quality games. 

I've also found myself fairly susceptible to VR motion sickness. While standing in one place in a VR world, looking around with my head is comfortable, but as soon as I move through the world, I feel nauseous. The illusion is so convincing that my brain expects some vestibular sensation to accompany the visuals and there isn't any.  It's uncomfortable, but I'm trying to get used to it. Different games have varying degrees of awareness of this issue. 


December 20th, 2016 at 11:58 AM ^

I guess I don't understand why it is so hard to upgrade a game to make it VR compatible. I was just playing Last of Us this weekend and couldn't help but think that it would be great to have the game be VR. The world is already developed, the controls are already there. To my uninformed brain it seemed like all you would need to do would be put the VR camera on the characters' head to make it first person and make your head movement control the camera. Why is it more challenging than that?


December 20th, 2016 at 11:45 AM ^

This interests me but not enough that I want to spend the doing my own research on it. Could someone please give a short ELI5 summary of current VR? What's the difference between the expensive systems people have mentioned compared to what seems like the low end Google cardboard and Samsung Gear I see commercials for?

Also to relate this to Michigan, what system did the football team use for practice in the spring? I remember some articles on how the team got to train with an experimental VR setup.

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