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Where is VR going?


dumpster
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So I was mis-informed. I liked my old Oculus DK2 and was impressed by the tech.  But I got rid and got a PSVR.  A few friends had those VR devices that you stick a phone in, and the effect could be pretty cool. But a PSVR and Astrobot blows away everything.  I even went on the Derren Brown VR Ghost Train at Thorpe Park and was surprised the VR was really shit compared to the PSVR.  And they were using HTC Vive headsets as well. 

 

So when Oculus brought out the Quest, I was impressed by the form factor, but ultimately I knew exactly what is was, a decent machine, but come on, my headset is connected to a Ps4. I have Astrobot.  Quest can't compete with the power of a whole console.

 

Like I say, misinformed.

 

Because Resident Evil 4 on Gamecube is my all time favourite game and finally the itch got too much and I bought a headset from Facebook Marketplace. £200 quid, and a £30 Purchase from the Oculus Store and I'm INSIDE this fucking game.  I bought it on GameCube, Wii, PC, PS4 but it never felt like this... It's incredible.  

 

But there's a few things that the Quest has got me thinking about.  The Ps4 and Ps5 are big consoles.  They can't hang off your face like a VR headset does.  You need that lag free response, you need the console, so you need a wire. Big thick one. 

 

The Quest plays Resident Evil 4 as if you're the guy from Tron. You're playing the GameCube version from your teenage years only now you're in your 40s and you're inside the game using a headset.  It's truly phenomenal.  But the PS4 already runs Resident Evil 4 (non-VR) so much better than the GameCube game. But if they did bring this out for PSVR I bet they would do it with the PS4 version graphics, it would look way better and the Quest can't compete with that....

 

 But that's where the comparisons stop. Because I realise that on the Quest I'm reloading my weapons with ease.  Not clunking PS Move controllers together and failing to reload in Blood and Truth. The Quest 2 may be less powerful than a PS4, but it makes a world of difference having the higher resolution screens, it has no wires, and the controller tracking is miles ahead of what's psvr does. And this counts for a lot.

 

So the Quest, after one day of ownership, doesn't look like it has many AAA titles.  The PS4 has loads of great games and I'm keeping the VR headset for those games. But the Quest, whilst having less tech and fewer gamrs, kicks the PSVRs arse.  Ease of use, easy to put on, no wires, no faff.  Put it on your head and you're ready. No break out box or extra HDMI cables. Gamechanger.

 

The Quest seems so much better because it's so usable.  But with Sony making a headset for PS5 it surely will be wired. Just not being connected to a PC or console makes the quest a winner. In reviewing a system like this, usability and accessibility are more important than raw power.  You need comfort.

 

So the amazing PSVR goes into the "get it out of the garage if you want to play it" queue and Oculus becomes my go-to VR.  The lack of tech and games is a concern, but the wireless headset, wireless controllers and 5 second setup makes it run rings around the PSVR and I'd assume that applies to other wired headsets.

 

So anyone have any thoughts on the possibilities of PS5s VR2 and the future of VR in general? Is VR going to remain a thing? Will it keep improving? Or will it need to remain separate from consoles to retain the wireless?  Is the light wireless headset with fewer games a better product. I can't watch my 3D Blurays on the Oculus, the console battery can run out, the graphics tech isn't as good as console and many of the games seem simple budget affairs by home coders.  But the Oculus still gets my vote because comfort and ease of use outclasses PSVR 

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I’m amazed the cable is such a big factor for some people. It may be down to the types of game I have chosen to play but with PSVR when the headset is on the cable is not something I’m thinking about.

 

Almost all the VR titles I have enjoyed have been of the sit-down variety - Rez, Astro-bot, Squadrons, NMS, Wipeout etc. where being wired up has no impact at all. I did play one significantly movement based game with Superhot VR, and while I did have occasional problems there it wasn’t anything to do with the cable - it was getting disoriented and punching furniture.

 

I can see why it’s preferable to be wireless obviously but to me it’s not a concern in the least.

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My PS VR is in the drawer due to the faff with the breakout box, extra cabling, no HDMI 2.1 passthrough, and those clunky Move controllers.
 

I’m more likely to play with a single cable & good controllers, however I can see the attraction of wireless - my front room is quite small and to play Job Simulator I need to move the sofa (more faff) - being able to play it anywhere would be really freeing. 

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The biggest issue with the current PSVR isn't the fact it's wired, it's the amount of wires. The whole PSVR setup is an absolute ball ache. 

 

PSVR2 will have none of that as it's just one cable, no need for an external camera or headphones, and far better controllers than the move. 

 

@dumpster your concern about the games on Quest is bang on. It can't do Skyrim (which I'm a touch surprised at, perhaps a ram issue) and it certainly can't do the likes of Half Life Alyx (still the absolute best example of VR gaming) or Elite Dangerous, not without linking (wired or wirelessly) to a pretty beefy PC. And that's why I'm really looking forward to PSVR2, the power of the PS5 should see some tasty games available. 

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The problems with Quest begin after you finish Resident Evil 4 and take a look at the rest of the standalone quest library. I think people really understate just how crappy the overall game selection is. Not a single worthwhile racing game, adventure game, etc etc. Hope you like indie rhythm games. 

 

I don't understand people's big issue with having a wire. PSVR is a pain because of the camera and the atrocious move controllers that just aren't fit for purpose. I played HL:Alyx using my Quest connected to my PC via a single long USB cable. Takes no time to set up and has no negative effect on the experience since you're not spinning around anyway. Seems like psvr 2 will be similar to a quest wired to a PC. No separate camera or tracking issues etc.

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Have a Rift S on the PC. Half Life : Alyx is an incredible experience. Rez Infinite is fantastic in VR racers are incredible. There is so much flexibility on the PC with VR. The cable doesn't really be bother me at all. Although can see why it would be nice to have a cableless integrated solution. 

 

I expect ultimately VR will take the form of standalone PC / consoleless device but don't think we are quite there in terms of the CPU/GPU power yet to get to something like Half Life: Alyx.

 

Also trapping VR behind an ecosystem like Oculus wont help stimulate development IMHO. Think it needs to be more open. 

 

 

 

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The Quest is amazing, because it just works flawlessly (for us). You switch it on and get playing that's it, if you swap players you just put the headset on someone else and continue. PSVR isn't quite that seamless you have to keep recalibrating and dealing with drift etc thanks to the camera, and the move controllers really hamper it. So, PSVR2 will be a huge improvement even though its wired - I really can't wait to see it.

 

As others have said - the major downside of the Quest is the quality of games, particularly with regard to adventures. Resi 4 aside, there's nothing even remotely close to the amazingness of HL: Alyx (which admittedly is pretty revolutionary in terms of immersiveness), or Resident Evil 7 on PSVR. There is still lots of great stuff on the Quest though, just not at that level. :)

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It important to note the modding of flat screen games to VR versions is gaining traction, still a bit niche as you usually need a decent spec of PC to drive it (some older VR modded games can be played without a PC).  These VR mods really do breathe new life into these games although being mods you may have the odd jankyness but still perfectly playable.   And I play these wirelessly.
 

Examples of recent VR mods which require a decent PC:

 

Resident Evil 2, 3, 7 and 8

GTA V (modded got C&D’d by Take Two to take it down recently)

Red Dead Redemption 2

Alien: Isolation

Vivecraft - Minecraft

Subnautica: Below Zero

The Legend Of Zelda: The Ocarina Of Time

Elden Ring

Outer Wilds

Firewatch

Risk of Rain 2

Valheim

 

VR Mods coming soon:

 

Borderlands 3
Deep Rock Galactic 
Doom Eternal
Ghostrunner
Half-Life 2
Portal
Stanley Parable
Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Left 4 Dead 2

 

VR mods that can be done on Quest natively without the need for a PC:

 

Half-Life

Doom

Doom 3

Wolfenstein 3D

Return To Castle Wolfenstein

 

 

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Can I connect my Quest 2 to my old PC and play Time Rifters? Adored that game on my DK2 Rift.  Are they compatible? 

 

The cable, even if there's only one, makes a massive impact for me. It's no issue to play Astrobot or anything where you sit, but trying games stood up is amazing when you can rotate 360 degrees or more without concerns of where the cable is, are you being wrapped up etc.  But I think you need the power of a decent computer or console to drive the games and Quest doesn't quite have it.  So maybe a PS5 and one cable, no more than one, has to be the answer.  Resident Evil 4 is outstanding but, as has been said above, the choice of games once this is played is slim.  Maybe that's why there are so many headsets for sale on Facebook.  

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The future of it to me is getting wireless Link working flawlessly so you can combine a relatively lightweight headset with the grunt of a PC (or console if Sony keep at it). I don't mind the one cable for most of the games I like but not needing it at all would be ideal. 

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The actual business of moving your head around and seeing things in glorious stereoscopy is fine at the moment - it's just that the physical hardware is always going to be the biggest immersion breaker (well, that and having the house phone go off or bumping into a coffee table.) People don't want to think about the headsets they're wearing, so they need to be smaller and lighter and with less cables. I wouldn't know first-hand, but I'm sure PC peripherals are already getting there; meanwhile PSVR is still a bit of an abomination (despite being awesome when you're actually in a game.)

 

Build some of the VR tech into the console from the start, lose the breakout box and avoid relying on Move wands from a generation ago and that might be a good start.

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Tried an occulus at work being looked at to set up virtual training environments.  After 15 mins was feeling pretty queezy..... any advances that seek ways to stress this and include the susceptible population in VR are more important than refining the existing experience IMO.

 

Eldest conversely loved VR when tried at friends houses even though prolonged time in the garden rope swing makes him queezy.

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18 minutes ago, Qazimod said:

Build some of the VR tech into the console from the start, lose the breakout box and avoid relying on Move wands from a generation ago and that might be a good start.

That's exactly what Sony are doing with PSVR2. You just plug the headset into the USB port on the front of the console. Jobe done. No camera to plug in, and the controllers are better than the sex toys. 

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I'd really like to see what Nintendo could do with proper VR.  I loved the brief taste I got of VR Zelda with the Labo VR support they put into Breath of the Wild, and back when I had an Oculus Go my first thoughts were: "This is what the Virtual Boy should have been." and "If only Nintendo made software for this."

 

Nintendo are unlikely to touch VR again until it's much more mainstream though, and the tech is going to have to get much more streamlined for that to happen.

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10 hours ago, Thor said:

The biggest issue with the current PSVR isn't the fact it's wired, it's the amount of wires. The whole PSVR setup is an absolute ball ache. 

 

 

I'd disagree with this, the Quest 2 is infinitely better because it has no wires. You can completely lose track of what direction you're facing and it doesn't matter at all, you can move around freely and duck and dive in something like Superhot VR and become completely immersed in the game. If you do that even with a single-cable solution, you're going to end up garroting yourself or pulling your console off the shelf eventually.

 

I still think VR is a bit of a gimmick, though. I mean it's enormous fun but the problems with dizziness, weight, heat and isolation from your environment are very real. For a quick arcade experience, a 30-minute workout in something like Pistol Whip or Beat Saber it's fantastic, but I'd never want to play an RPG on it or anything that requires serious time commitment.

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1 minute ago, Garwoofoo said:

I'd disagree with this, the Quest 2 is infinitely better because it has no wires.

Er ... where in my post did I say PSVR was better than Quest 2 (other than the games)?

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2 minutes ago, Thor said:

Er ... where in my post did I say PSVR was better than Quest 2 (other than the games)?

 

Sorry, didn't mean to misinterpret what you said. I was just trying to make the point that the PSVR moving from multiple cables to one cable isn't going to be that big a deal outside of initial setup, compared to ditching the cables entirely (which they are not planning to do).

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Game wise, i dip in and out of VR. I mainly use my Quest 2 on the PC using Virtual Desktop.

 

However social wise, it's pretty cool. I don't use it much, but VR Chat is pretty good to just meet up with friends and go explore worlds together. I found a really cool BOTW world that was stunning. Also, just the fact you can chill in an apartment and watch movies or play pool or something is neat. Feels like 90s internet in a way.

 

The fact it supports Full Body Tracking (i'm still waiting for SlimeVR to arrive in November) is pretty neat, and well some headsets support eye/head tracking which brings the magic even closer. 

 

Obviously it's niche, but i do think VR will do well in this social aspect, apparently even HBO are doing a documentary on it.

 

I however would love to see more games using FBT, i think a couple of games do but since it's early tech not yet. A FBT Resident evil game would be amazing.

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2 minutes ago, Garwoofoo said:

I still think VR is a bit of a gimmick, though. I mean it's enormous fun but the problems with dizziness, weight, heat and isolation from your environment are very real. For a quick arcade experience, a 30-minute workout in something like Pistol Whip or Beat Saber it's fantastic, but I'd never want to play an RPG on it or anything that requires serious time commitment.

 

Disagree, especially about it being a gimmick. Those issues are dependent on the individual. I spent a lot of time playing RE7 entirely in VR and I didn't experience them myself.

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1 minute ago, DeciderVT said:

 

Disagree, especially about it being a gimmick. Those issues are dependent on the individual. I spent a lot of time playing RE7 entirely in VR and I didn't experience them myself.

 

Quest 2 is the only headset i have really yet to get proper Motion Sickness. I think the higher refresh rate helps.

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7 minutes ago, DeciderVT said:

 

Those issues are dependent on the individual.

 

Undoubtedly true, but if even a small chunk of your player base is at risk of becoming physically unwell when using your product, there's an issue there.

 

Personally I don't suffer too badly, but I do find the "teleport to move" options that many games offer much more comfortable than free movement - and, oddly, more immersive. Free movement in VR feels like I'm zooming around on rollerskates, and definitely leaves me feeling a little sub-optimal if I've been playing for a while.

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As we're in the process of moving to a new house I took the opportunity to use the completely empty Front Room as a vast empty space to play RealMyst on the Quest 2 and actually walk all around the island without using Teleport.  Whenever I approached the Quest Boundary I just turned around and used the thumbstick to turn the view so I could keep going in the same direction.

 

I certainly got my steps in that day.  You don't appreciate how big Myst island actually is until you have to physically walk all around it.

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1 minute ago, Garwoofoo said:

I was just trying to make the point that the PSVR moving from multiple cables to one cable isn't going to be that big a deal outside of initial setup, compared to ditching the cables entirely (which they are not planning to do).

That's because Sony can't, the present wireless technology available is too variable. The PSVR2 headset is mostly just a display, the PS5 is doing the gruntwork (which is also why the PS4 Pro was able to provide a sharper image on PSVR than the original PS4). For wireless, what will work just fine in one person's home might completely fail in another person's due to interference from another system or their neighbours' wifi. Even if Sony had dedicated wifi built into the PS5 and PSVR2 headset, it's still at the mercy of whatever other wi-fi tech is in and around the home of the user, and Sony can't control that. The end result would be a huge amount of returns for "faulty" headsets which are actually perfectly fine. 

 

Going wired cuts that issue out completely, and has the advantage of slightly lower latency. For games where you don't need to stand (which is actually many of the big games like Resident Evil, No Man's Sky, Skyrim, Half Life: Alyx*, all racing/flying games etc.) then the wire is just not an issue. For smaller games where standing is appropriate (Beat Saber, Superhot, Pistol Whip etc.) then yes, the Quest 2 is king because it's wireless, but the visuals on those games are very basic. 

 

*Half Life: Alyx is actually great standing up using roomscale. But you need a completely empty room for that - not practical in pretty much 99% of homes.

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10 hours ago, Thor said:

The biggest issue with the current PSVR isn't the fact it's wired, it's the amount of wires. The whole PSVR setup is an absolute ball ache. 

 

PSVR2 will have none of that as it's just one cable, no need for an external camera or headphones, and far better controllers than the move. 

 

@dumpster your concern about the games on Quest is bang on. It can't do Skyrim (which I'm a touch surprised at, perhaps a ram issue) and it certainly can't do the likes of Half Life Alyx (still the absolute best example of VR gaming) or Elite Dangerous, not without linking (wired or wirelessly) to a pretty beefy PC. And that's why I'm really looking forward to PSVR2, the power of the PS5 should see some tasty games available. 

I've played through Half Life Alyx on the Quest 2, wirelessly, via a laptop that didn't cost £400.  I didn't get any perceptible lag and I could do it in the garden so plenty of space to walk around.  Wires can get fucked.

 

Edit: fucking autocorrect

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VR is something I essentially have no interest in, almost entirely because of the motion sickness issue, but I've seen it described as the future of gaming. 

 

So I'm kinda curious: do we know how well is VR selling, both in terms of hardware sales and then game sales? Is there any of that useful data around how many hours owners actually use it for?

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  The praise for Resident Evil 4 makes one thing clear, and that's that if the will/money isn't there to make quality vr games from the ground up, the quest should get more late 90s/ early 2000s ports. There'll be a new quest at some stage with higher resolution etc but who cares if the library remains as disappointing as it is now, other than the PC sim enthusiasts chasing higher resolution for their sim racing setup?

The vocal elements of the vr community are too focused on hardware, resolution, fov, refresh rates, wires etc and not enough on the fact that there just aren't enough games worth playing.

I'm getting a bit tired of buying new headsets for a few games at this stage too. People wouldn't buy a traditional console to play an equivalently pitiful library to that of the quest 2. 

 

To be honest, I'm not overly optimistic about the next few years of VR, in terms of what companies themselves are going to bring to the table, in particular "meta".

PSVR2 hardware will be impressive and Sony will at least have a few big hitters ported to VR, but I fear the wider library will be more cut down "vr content" and low budget stuff. 

My hopes for the future of VR gaming are with the PC modders. I got on board with VR from the start, but at this stage I have very little interest in the short low budget made for vr stuff. For me, VR headsets are a way to add immersion to the games I'd want to play anyway, not something that's going to shift my gaming tastes to rhythm games, zombie shooters or mini experiences.

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1 minute ago, Don Wiskerando said:

I've played through Half Life Alyx on the Quest 2, wirelessly, via a and I did laptop that didn't cost £400.  I didn't get any perceptible lag and I could do it in the garden so plenty is space to walk around.  Words can get fucked.

 

I guess the difference is that connecting a Quest 2 to a PC via a wireless connection is a fairly enthusiast thing to do, it's not the primary use of the headset at all.

 

If you can get it to work well, that's brilliant (I've also found it to be very reliable) but if you've got crappy wifi or your neighbours are saturating the wifi bands so it doesn't work well then that doesn't prevent you using the headset as a standalone device.

 

If PSVR 2 was wireless then it would HAVE to work perfectly in every instance and I totally get what @Thor is saying, they simply can't assume that this will be the case.

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5 minutes ago, ScouserInExile said:

VR is something I essentially have no interest in, almost entirely because of the motion sickness issue, but I've seen it described as the future of gaming. 

 

So I'm kinda curious: do we know how well is VR selling, both in terms of hardware sales and then game sales? Is there any of that useful data around how many hours owners actually use it for?

 

Have you tried a headset recently? ie Quest 2? I honestly think the motion sickness is way better. I couldn't stand more than 15 minutes before i wanted to throw up, i can generally go for hours now with the higher refresh rates/quality of screens.

 

I know Quest 2 has sold 14.8 million units since launch in Q4 2000. If anything, all my mates kids have Quest 2's these days or use their parents.

 

PSVR sold 5 Million since launch but Sony must expect it to do well in the future since they are releasing PSVR2.

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