VR hardware is the new black

2019 has shown the light of day to numerous new VR headsets. What do they offer? And where is the tipping point for the true masses?

AR has it easy. Almost everyone you know has a smartphone and therefore an AR enabled device. Everyone not only owns one, but it’s the one item in the world that no one leaves their home without. So you might say the biggest hurdle for implementing new ideas and bringing them to the market has been vaulted over years ago.

VR has faced this challenge from the beginning and its battle is ongoing. Bulkiness, fatigue, difficulty of use, cables, need for space, cost… Potential VR adopters can certainly overcome some of these, but so far the list has been long enough to tick at least a couple of boxes for most people. Luckily, the VR hardware manufacturers show no sign of slowing down, quite the contrary. They are clearly on a mission to eliminate as many of those hindrances as they can.

The most important new release is of course the Oculus Quest. The standalone machine requires no hooking up to an expensive computer, erasing half of VR’s popular gripes in one fell swoop. There has been standalone hardware before, of course, but those have been quite underpowered and had poor tracking and controls. The Quest is not the most powerful machine on the market by a long shot, but it’s definitely powerful enough to play the classics of VR (like Beat Saber and Job Simulator) as well as recent visual stunners (like Red Matter). All with 6DOF controls and tracking, like the big hitter hardware. Combined with a competitive price, it’s no wonder Facebook has been selling out the Quest for a good while.

Oculus’ Rift S is the evolution of their high end headset with easier setup and no need for any beacons. HTC Vive Cosmos evolves as well, but also features vented, flip-up front design for cooling and ease of use. Valve Index might have the best controllers to date and HP Reverb boasts the sharpest image in its price range. For the best in field of view and resolution, provided you have deep pockets, the Pimax 8K is your machine.

And of course when talking about 2019 releases you can’t leave out Finnish Varjo’s VR-1 headset. Boasting a human-eye resolution display it is the benchmark for enterprise VR use and priced accordingly. Late 2019 will also see the release of XR-1, with outward facing cameras for photorealistic Mixed Reality. These are not intended for consumer use, but are still tantalising glimpses into the inevitable future of mainstream Virtual Reality. “The XR-1 provided the single most impressive demo I have ever experienced, VR or otherwise” says Nordic XR Startups’ Managing Director Petri Rajahalme.

No piece of current hardware is perfect, but all of these new machines have a slightly different focus, which means there have never been more choice on the market for consumers. Once you have made the decision that the software is there for you, you’ll surely find the piece of hardware that suits your needs.

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About NXS
Nordic XR Startups is an investor and accelerator program for VR, AR and MR startups companies based in Northern Europe. NXS’s mission is to contribute to and improve the competitiveness of the Nordic XR ecosystem and accelerate the growth of their investment portfolio companies. For investment and support, apply to the ongoing program today.

About NXS owners, gumi Inc.
Founded in 2007, gumi Inc. (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 3903) is a leading global mobile game publisher and developer headquartered in Japan, with overseas operations in France, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States. The company has proven success in launching titles worldwide, such as the widely popular role-playing games Brave Frontier and Phantom of the Kill. With ongoing publishing and development projects on various platforms, including iOS, Android, and more, gumi aims to change the world through innovative entertainment products and services, including both original content and collaborations with popular IP. For more information, please visit gu3.co.jp/en. 

About NXS owners, Nordisk Film
Founded in 1906, Nordisk Film is the leading producer and distributor of films in the Nordic countries and operates the largest cinema chains in Denmark and Norway. Nordisk Film has digital businesses within gift cards, ticketing services, computer games development and eSports and is the distributor of PlayStation in the Nordic and Baltic countries. Nordisk Film is part of Egmont – Denmark’s largest media group with 6,200 employees and activities in 30 countries. These include Egmont Publishing, which publishes more than 700 magazines, TV 2 in Norway and several book publishers. Egmont is a commercial foundation that generates revenue amounting to EUR 1.6 billion and donate more than EUR 13 million a year to help improve the lives of children and young people. For more information, please visit nordiskfilm.com.