This was the week we finally got a complete picture of what virtual reality looks like in 2016, the year VR is supposed to hit the mainstream.
The week started with Google taking the wraps off the $79 Daydream View VR headset and wireless controller. Google also introduced the first Pixel phones that start at $649 and run Android 7.1 with built-in VR support. That’ll put Google in direct competition with Samsung’s Galaxy VR offering when the View ships in November.
Those interested in a more robust VR experience were treated to the first reviews of Sony’s PlayStation VR headset on Wednesday. While its baseline cost is $399, you’ll probably end up paying $499 for the PSVR bundle that includes the tracking camera and two Move controllers. Adi Robertson calls PSVR the "the lowest common denominator of tethered headsets" but contends that sometimes good enough can be great. PlayStation VR starts shipping on October 13th.
Yesterday the final piece of the puzzle fell into place with the announcement of the $199 price for the Oculus Touch controllers shipping on December 6th. That brings the Oculus Rift to price parity with the $799 HTC Vive.
As a bonus, we also got a glimpse of future VR when Mark Zuckerberg teased a midrange wireless VR headset still under development at Oculus. It sits between mobile experiences like Gear VR and Daydream View, and top-end systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive that tether the user to a PC. Robertson took a prototype for a spin, saying it could be VR’s next great leap. Still, it’s not coming out anytime soon so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.
In January I ran a poll asking which VR headset you thought you’d likely buy: the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Sony PlayStation VR. At the time, 37 percent of you wanted a Vive, 36 percent wanted a PSVR, and just 25 percent wanted an Oculus Rift. But that was long before we had the complete picture. So, dear reader, now that you know all the details, which high-end VR headset are you going to buy (or have already bought)?
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