If the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo said anything about the future of gaming, it's that virtual reality will increasingly play an important role in that experience. From Facebook's Oculus to Microsoft's HoloLens, a host of wearables were on display at the event, all showcasing what they can do and their potential impact on virtual reality and gaming. But lost amid those conversations has been Google Cardboard, the low-cost, bare-bones virtual-reality device that allows users to plug in a smartphone to get full VR experience. The idea is novel, and at a starting price as low as $20, it's easy to start exploring VR technology with Cardboard. But to truly see the value of Cardboard, users need apps that are compatible with the device. In the past few months, many more developers have been delivering apps that can accommodate a full VR experience with Cardboard. This slide show will highlight some of those Android apps and suggest why they may be worth downloading for anyone who already has Cardboard or is thinking about getting one.
Virtual-reality product development is kicking into high gear as yet another device is entering the market. Dubbed StarVR, the device from developer Starbreeze comes with two 5.5-inch quad-HD displays that the company said, will deliver a top gaming experience when customers get a chance. But the trouble for StarVR is that it's joining a market that is rapidly filling up with new devices, all claiming to have the best features. Gamers, meanwhile, are left to guess which product they should consider buying. The number of virtual-reality headsets, combined with the varying specs in each, makes picking a product much harder than one might think. Trying to navigate the choices can be perilous, if not confusing. eWEEK will try to simplify the virtual-reality headset market and share some of the key details about the latest devices in the upcoming slides. More importantly, this slide show is aimed at helping prospective virtual-reality buyers make more informed decisions before they plunk down cash on one of the following headsets.
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Oculus VR—the company that started as a crowdfunding idea but which Facebook acquired for $2 billion, even though its premier product is still under development—has scheduled a media briefing in June. At that event, Oculus said it will ask attendees to "step into" its product, the Oculus Rift head-mounted virtual-reality display. Details are unknown, but it appears likely the company will provide an update on its development efforts, it progress in getting Oculus Rift ready for release, and perhaps some details on what games and other apps will be available when the headset ships. The company announced early in May that it plans to release the VR headset to consumers by next year's first quarter. Consumers see the Rift as a gaming device, and Oculus has said that the platform will be an ideal option for video games. However, enterprises are taking an interest in wearable VR devices for commercial apps, such as training or for visualizing cramped and remote places where it might be difficult or dangerous for a person to go. This slide show examines the Oculus Rift features generating interest among consumers and enterprise buyers and the potential effect it could have on the IT world.
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