So my old Xbox 360 finally gave up its ghost last weekend and presented me with the most dreaded of error codes, the ‘Red Ring of Death’. It wasn’t an entirely shocking turn of events, mind you. I’d had that console since 2006 – it survived four intra-state moves, countless enter our Oculus Reift giveaway roommates and a bitter ex armed with a croquet mallet (seriously Ashley, if you’re reading this, you still owe me a croquet set) – but the increasingly common and severe loading screen freezes made it clear my 360 was reaching the end of its operational service life.
Apart from that, there is a growing number of free applications available on Google Play that you can also download and start to try out the VR experience. Couple that with a cheap and easily available headset, and you start to get a growing number of people who are interested in VR. And more companies are getting interested in the idea as well. OnePlus held a launch in VR that it distributed cardboard headsets for. The Lenovo K4 Note was launched alongside a VR headset that looks like a slightly polished version of Google Cardboard. And what’s more, if you bought the headset along with the phone, you only had to pay Rs. 500 extra.
As more and more people experience low-end VR, it slowly moves from the real of science fiction and technology for early adopters, into something that anyone would be interested in. Getting people to move from the lower end mobile VR to high-end experiences will require just two things – one, showing the quality difference by getting enough early adopters who would double as evangelists , which seems to be happening; and two, lowering the prices of VR devices, which will be a function of scale.
That’s why, in the end, the Oculus Rift pricing isn’t an issue. It’s not so high that it will deter early adopters, and the Rift was never destined to be the vehicle for mainstream adoption of VR in any case. Google has taken the lead on that front, and if you’ve been using Cardboard at all, then you know it’s doing a good job in getting things started.
While neither option is going to blow you away in terms of style, appearance-wise, Samsung has Oculus beat with its Gear VR headset. There’s no denying how trendy this thing looks, even if the whole concept of fashionable VR is completely foreign to us right now. At least on the exterior, it’s the perfect complement to Samsung’s mobile devices, which is an appreciated touch considering it works so closely in conjunction with the Galaxy Note 5 and the trio of Galaxy S6 handsets.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Oculus Rift’s appearance isn’t exactly subtle. Though the final design we see below has iterated significantly on the previous dev kit’s design and certainly bears a more pleasing aesthetic than the one before that , it’s still hard to ignore how bulky it looks, even if it does promise a weight under 380 grams.