Chandrakant IsiNov 09, 2015 19:05:08 IST
Tech titans are betting big on virtual reality. For those not in the know, unlike your regular TV or monitor screen, virtual reality headsets put you in the middle of the action. Off all its possible applications, virtual reality holds immense potential in the gaming industry.
Started as a Kickstarter campaign, Oculus Rift received great support and raised over $2.5 million for development. The headset's display requires a powerful computer to churn out graphics. The folks at Oculus have chosen Microsoft's Xbox One controller for its VR gizmo. After a few prototypes and lots of refinements, the final product is expected to hit the market sometime next year. Launch titles include Bullet Train, EVE: Valkyrie, and Edge of Nowhere. Games from Square Enix, Ready At Dawn, and Harmonix are also in the pipeline. Plus, many existing PC games including the insanely awesome Half-Life 2 are supported by the Oculus Rift.
Microsoft positions the Hololens as a computer running Windows 10. Rather than only virtual reality, this headgear puts you in the middle of mixed reality. It does that by seamlessly fusing the richly textured 3D holographs in the world around you. Hololens might turn out to be useful for design and conceptualisation work. However, nothing beats the possibilities it creates for the gaming industry. Developers have already started making games capable of blending with your living room. Check out Microsoft's on-stage demonstration of the Project X-Ray game. If that does not impress you, give Minecraft and Halo franchise a shot. Will it be integrated with the Xbox in the near future? We don't know yet.
Sony Project Morpheus
Anticipating the future of gaming, the Japanese brand Sony is developing its own VR headset dubbed Project Morpheus. This headgear is not significantly different from the competition. However, it gets an edge due to Sony's current dominance in the console gaming market. Gamers who have already invested in the PS4 are most likely to choose the Project Morpheus over other VR gadgets. Who would not want to enjoy PlayStation games without needing a TV? According to the company, multiple Project Morpheus devices can connect to a network for multiplayer gaming. Sony's VR headset has clear focus on gaming. As mentioned earlier in this article, despite its massive potential, Microsoft has not announced any plans of fusing the Hololens with the Xbox One.
Why should a gamer bother with HTC's VR headset right? Well, because the Taiwanese company has developed this gadget in conjunction with Valve. Yes, the guys behind Half-Life, Counter Strike, Left 4 Dead and Portal. It also owns content distribution service Steam that has kept the PC gaming alive. The HTC Vive is similar to the Oculus Rift. The headgear draws power from a PC. The catalogue includes the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight, Dying Light, Evolve, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Total War: ATTILA, and obviously Valve's own titles. The prototype hardware has received positive feedback. The device is expected to launch in 2016.
If you are the kind that prefers Linux over Windows, you will love the OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) platform. In this project, no single brand or entity controls the technology. It is actively supported by the gaming hardware peripheral company Razer. Other backers from the industry include Sensics, Intel, Unreal, Unity, and Gearbox. It is worth noting that Vuzix, known for designing the headgear for the American armed forces and currently collaborating (DARPA) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has shown interest in OSVR. First consumer product based on this platform is expected to come from Razer sometime next year.
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