VR News

2 Down, 1 To Go

This week we had an announcement from HTC that the Vive would be released in April at a price of $799. With pre-orders going up on Monday 29th, it means we are getting a clearer picture of the landscape of VR pricing.

Vive

With only PlayStation to make there announcement, it seems like early adopters are being hit with a pricey bill. Although the Rift is a bit cheaper than the Vive, they work out at similar prices. When taken the controllers into account, the price for both of these will be remarkably similar.

Vive Headset.jpg

PlayStation Announcement?

PlayStation have just announced today that they will be holding a press conference on March 15th for PlayStation VR. It is expected to be the release date and price announcement that everyone has been waiting for. But Sony never likes to do things the way you expect them, so I won’t be holding my breath for both to be announced.

I would expect that this will be a reveal of the Consumer version with everything that is attached. I would NOT expect any games to come free with it, but I also think that it will have a cheaper price tag than the others. Without “free” games, controllers, camera, etc. I am expecting it to have a price tag of no more than $499 but more than likely $450. I would be pleasantly surprised with a $399 price tag!

Is this the battle we want?

Recently I have had a bit of a growing concern over the state of VR. With so many companies throwing their hand in the ring at the new tech boundary, I fear that there will not be a standard.

Razer, the company known for its flashy led-lit hardware is even trying to push their OSVR   as a new standard for open source platform for development of VR content at half the cost of the Oculus.  With all these variations in hardware and software, there is the chance that the end result might actually be a limited number of options of what people and who people can play with.

The Rift starts off as one of the more popular devices with the media, but don’t have a massive game backing. It does have Facebook, but we don’t know how that will be implemented yet, if at all.

The Vive starts with a very good backing of Steam. How many games will Steam push out for release? Who knows! But with the backing of Steam and also Google it gives the Vive a push in the right direction. It also helps that the Vive is getting full API support as part of the Unity 3D game engine.

steamvr-valve-oculus-rift-support.jpg

But for both of these, you need a powerful PC to run them! They look amazing, but the GPUs needed to run them are extremely pricey as well. This is where PlayStation has the edge over both of them. At the start of 2016, Sony has sold just under 36 million Playstation 4s. This means initial investment for people who want to adapt early will be much lower, without even knowing the price. It also means, if I buy a VR game on the PlayStation and so does a friend, I can log right in and Co-op the game!

With PC, is there going to be a divide with Rift vs Vive, will games be playable on both? Are there going to be exclusives? (Almost certainly) Am I still excited to get my hands on my own VR device? HELL YES!

project-morpheus-vs-htc-vive-vs-oculus-rift1-640x381

Sword Art Online – Powered by Watson

In another side story, IBM have announced they are working on developing an MMO version of Sword Art Online using their brainchild Watson. The idea behind the MMO is that you have a full body scan before starting, Watson will render your character based on the scan and will generate a character based on how you look. Then you put the Full Dive headset……wait sorry, that is a report I’m writing for 4 years time. Then you put on your VR headset and enjoy one of the first VR MMO RPGs to come out!

swordartonlineibmwatson-ed

There is Alpha test going on in March for 208 lucky residents of Tokyo! I will be keeping a close eye on this one. I wonder will the likes of Blizzard and Square Enix be doing the same! I sure hope so.

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