Should you buy a VR headset?

Some months ago I started being part of the reddit virtual reality communities, like /r/virtualreality, /r/oculus and /r/osvr. This communities are really great (if you’re not part of them… what are you waiting for? Subscribe!), but sometimes there are questions that are just repeated one bazillion times: if I had one dollar for each time I answered them, I’d be the king of the world.

One of this recurring question is “Should I buy a VR headset?”, so I’m writing this post just to give you an answer from my perspective once for all (and so at the next time I’ll see this question on reddit, I could just type a link to this post… much easier). I’ll give you answers to other common questions in the next posts.

Let’s start : do you have to buy a VR headset?

The answer is… it depends. And with this answer full of wisdom, the article ends here, thanks for reading…

…ok, no, just kidding. I’ll explain me better: it depends on what do you want to do with virtual reality and how much money you do have. VR is an experimental technology, so it is still full of problems and very very expensive. So, buy a VR headset if:

  • You can afford it: an Oculus in Italy costs 742€, to which you have to add a VR-ready PC that costs at least 1500€, so you have to be able to spend that money in order to try cutting-edge VR. Gear VRs are less expensive, but give you less. Google Cardboard is very cheap (2$) but it is not an headset (sorry Google)

    Oculus Rift CV1 box
    Oculus Rift CV1 box
  • You are an innovator: you like trying all the latest technologies, you like to experiment, be in front of all the others. In this case, virtual reality and augmented reality are ideal for you!
  • You know that they are not perfect: lots of people, when they try an headset, say to me “I can see the pixels!” or “the field of view is so small!”. We know it, it’s a new technology and has still to be improved. If you want perfect VR visuals, wait for next generation.
  • You are a developer: so, if you are like me (sexy and with a long nerdy beard, I mean), VR can be very useful, because you’re investing your time and money to experience this new cutting edge technology and be in front of all other devs when you’ll be looking for a job in some VR-related companies or when you’ll be creating you own VR startup. Since there are still not standard in this field, virtual reality is something that can only be learnt with practice and you have to buy an headset to learn this tech the hard way (trial&error!)
  • You don’t suffer from the lack of content: if you are a true gamer that wants to play a shitload of VR games, don’t buy a VR headset. Titles are still few and lots of them are just concepts or experimental games. Great games exist (I love Job Simulator, for instance), but I’ve read a lot of people complaining about the lack of games to play on these new devices (on /r/Oculus the new trend is saying “I’ve played all Oculus games, what can I do now?”). So, buy it only if you have the patience to wait for new titles to come in the next months

    HTC Vive Job Simulator... who wants some cookie and a cup of dirty water?
    HTC Vive Job Simulator… who wants some cookies and a cup of dirty water?
  • You don’t suffer from being a lonely king: when I was in high school, everyone was playing Max Payne (I’m talking about the marvelous game, not that WTF movie where the only good thing to see was Mila Kunis) and so we enjoyed all a lot talking about it, about the level we had reached and this kind of stuff. But now, if you go to your friends and ask how they good are at Lucky’s Tale, they start looking at you like if you came from Mars. Playing in VR means that you can’t talk much about it with your friends and also means that there are few players in the world for multiplayer games
  • You can stand a fast changing world: in VR, technology is improving every day. This means that something that you’ve learnt to do in a way a month ago, has to be made in a different way now; the super-duper-gadget that you bought for 1000$ two months ago can become old with the launch of a new version (this happens a lot with Gear VR, where a new version comes out every few months); new competitors for your startup pop up like mushrooms in the forest from one day to the other
  • You are ready to get your hands dirty: previous generation of VR headset where a lot prone to crashes, errors and this kind of stuff. VR is still not super-user-friendly (even if new generation of devices is far better than the previous one) and so you have to be able to install, configure and fix them
  • You want to live amazing experiences: VR is cool because it teleports you in a new world, where you can live amazing experiences and feel real emotions. Have you ever tried a virtual reality horror game? It makes you feel really scared as f. You can’t explain VR if you have not tried it: this is the real reason why I love virtual reality and want everyone to buy a virtual reality headset (and yes, there is also VR porn and it is amazing too :P)
  • You want to impress girls (or boys, if you are a girl): if a girl has never tried virtual reality, invite her to try some VR videos, or animation movies (like Henry): she’ll be stunned an amazed and you’ll earn lots of points! “Wanna try my new Oculus Rift?” can be the techie replacement for “Wanna see my collection of butterflies?”. The only downside of this strategy, is that sometimes the girl you like will suffer a lot from motion sickness (happened to me… bad karma…): in this case, you’ve just lost of probabilities of conquer her heart :(.

I hope I’ve given you a better insight on how can you decide if buying a VR headset or not. Obviously my advice is to buy it, because I love VR… and if you want to buy a Kinect, too…we at Immotionar would be very happy! 😀

Do you have other reasons to buy a VR headset? Let me know in the comments below! (And if you like this article, please share it with your friends!)

Skarredghost

AR/VR developer, startupper, zombie killer. Sometimes I pretend I can blog, but actually I've no idea what I'm doing. I tried to change the world with my startup Immotionar, offering super-awesome full body virtual reality, but now the dream is over. But I've still not waken up...