VR has come a long, long way.
In the early days, and up until fairly recently, VR was somewhat of a novelty, and primarily used by only the most devoted gamers and tech enthusiasts. The graphics were rough, chunky and pixelated, and the price for a headset was sky-high. But over the years, VR has evolved, and accessible headsets now offer a fully encompassing and innovative experience for everyone, whether you’re a gamer or not.
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With VR, you’re not just playing the game — you’re a part of it. The 3D interactive world provides a sense of presence and immersion that’s incomparable to playing on a regular screen. While the logical part of you realizes you’re standing in your house with a headset on, your brain is simultaneously tricked into thinking you’re floating, flying, falling or shooting zombies in the face.
VR goes beyond games too; there are endless opportunities for use in entertainment and education, and as time and tech progresses, it’ll become increasingly common in more and more areas of our lives. A standalone headset where everything (like the speakers, sensors, and processor) is included inside will be your best bet for the most modern and cutting-edge technology. It’ll take you on transcendent and riveting adventures, with top-of-the-line graphics and games. Think of it like a wearable gaming console.
But you don’t necessarily need a high-tech, high-end headset anymore either. These days, anyone with a smartphone can get in on the action. There are plenty of great fully decked-out VR headsets but there are also decent VR viewing goggles, which simply hold your phone in place to let you look around and view your virtual universe, using your phone’s built-in gyro sensor. The goggles also free up your hands, so you can navigate the game with a controller when necessary. We’ve included picks for both advanced and accessible headsets on our list.
Note that if it’s your first time using a headset, it’s best to ease into it. Avoid the intense and dizzying games like rollercoasters for your maiden VR voyage, as these can cause motion sickness, and turn you off from future experiences.
As a beginner, shopping for a VR headset can make your head spin, but it’s really not as scary as it seems (unlike the hordes of VR horror genre games coming out right now). Whether you want a “game console”-style set where everything’s included, or one that runs purely off your phone’s tech, we’ve selected four of our faves here to help get you started on finding the right headset for you and the VR world you’re looking to jump into.
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