Trends come and go, then come back again. A few years ago, Virtual Reality came back trying to become the next big thing in gaming. Everyone wanted to make a VR headset — Oculus, Samsung, Valve, Playstation… This wasn’t the first time we’d seen multiple VR headsets in the wild. Back in 1995, Nintendo released the Virtual Boy (a strange desktop VR kit that only used red lines and gave us all migraines). A few VR headsets had been created by tech companies back then. In the movie Blank Check (1994) Preston Waters buys an insane arcade-style VR rig for his giant mansion.
Technology is always constantly moving forward. Anytime you buy the newest tech, you have to be ready for it to be outdated in a couple of years (maybe sooner). Since HDTVs were first brought to the market most of us have been searching for the largest TV with clearest picture and the best features. When movies moved from VHS tapes to disc format, we first had DVDs then there were Blu-Rays (and HD DVDs — RIP), now we’ve moved onto 4K and that’s definitely not the last format we’ll see. It’s never going to stop, the only difference is that now we’re seeing smaller but still significant changes (like Ray Tracing).
I recently bought my first 4K TV and when choosing a TV I first had to figure out what type of TV I wanted (Crystal HD. SMART 4K. 8K. UHD. CURVED HD. OLED). I chose a good but not top of the line 4K model, one that would be in the mid-range price category and work well with what I needed it for (gaming and watching movies and shows). Imagine buying the most expensive and best version of a product only to be disappointed in a few months (or sooner) when they released a newer, better version.
Today, people watch their shows on their Laptops, Tablets or even smartphones. I know people who have watched full seasons of hour-long shows on their tiny phone. This doesn’t make sense to me. I want to watch my shows and movies on the largest screen possible. Sure, I’ll watch something on my iPad — if I’m on a plane or have no other choice.
It all started as a race to have the clearest, largest screen to play games on. We first played games on our tube televisions, then came the giant dresser-sized big screen TVs, we later moved on to flat TVs and HDTVs. And now the HD just keeps getting clearer and clearer. My first HDTV was a Samsun 720p flat-looking TV with a giant hump in the back.
When VR came back a few years ago it wasn’t about giant screens anymore. It’s all about putting two tiny screens in a helmet right in front of your face. Yes, it is a totally different experience and although I haven’t played much VR (just a few store trials here and there) it is very neat technology that has already been used in some great ways and will continue to get better.
I don’t plan on buying a VR headset anytime in the near future. But, if I was thinking about getting one I would have gone with PSVR just because I already own a PS4 Pro and some VR games in my library (thanks to PS Plus). Now that a PS5 VR headset has been sort of announced I may wait until I jump to the next-gen to think about purchasing my first VR headset. I am still supposed to borrow a friend’s PSVR headset just to try out Gran Turismo Sport, Star Wars Squadrons and possibly Resident Evil 7 (if I can handle it).
I think it’s very cool how far Virtual Reality has come, and I am always paying attention to where it’s going. I have a list of games I’d like to try out. And one day I will have my VR backlog, but for now I am excited just to play games the normal way — on my Nintendo Switch, PS4 Pro and sometimes PC.