If you had been watching the trend in 2016, you must have come across the exploding virtual reality (VR) industry. This year was big for VR as the tech industry's biggest names jumped into the bandwagon exploring the niche category. End result – we got to see the whole new world from the eyes of the greatest minds in the world.
As the year comes to an end, we can only expect to see more of VR stuff going for 2017. This is just the beginning and there are several unexplored areas in the field.
Companies like Google, Facebook, Sony and others built their hardware meant for the masses this year and the next logical step is to tap into the software and VR platform, which is going to be exciting as hell. Whether the VR industry will shine or see its fate drown into the darkness of consumers' lack of interest, only time will tell.
But for now, we have some interesting hardware designed by the tech lords, which are meant to give the best of VR experience. Of course, you can get the VR experience for a whole lot cheaper these days, but what these big companies bring to the table is just the foundation of what's yet to come. So, it is important to follow your favourites if VR is something you find really exciting.
Google Daydream View
A VR headset by Google comes with a controller that lets you unlock new worlds, experience a personal VR cinema and play games, all without leaving the comfort of your house. It doesn't have a screen of its own, so it requires you to slide in your Daydream-ready phone into the headset to get the VR experience.
Sony PlayStation VR
Sony PlayStation VR got its attention mainly as an accessory to the next-gen gaming console PS4. While the headset alone costs $399, it requires a PS4 and motion tracking controllers to experience the whole new level of gaming in VR. All that will easily push the budget to $700.
Oculus was one of the first companies in the VR industry and that was long before Google or Sony jumped the wagon. But after it was acquired by Facebook, it rose to popularity. The Oculus Rift VR headset is a premium device and certainly doesn't come cheap.
HTC did a smart thing with its VR headset. HTC Vive is the company's hope to stay in the tech race after its mobile business failed to catch up with its rivals. Vive's biggest highlight is that it supports Valve and it can also work with wires. But again, just like Rift, it needs a high-spec PC. It has additional features such as Vive Phone Services and SteamVR tracking. It is also the most expensive one out there.
Samsung Gear VR
Like other VR headsets in the market, which come cheap, Samsung Gear VR relies on a smartphone. It has hints of Oculus on it, as it uses Oculus Home to download content. It can be controlled via any compatible Galaxy smartphone. Most of all, it is affordable.
While these headsets are purely VR, and don't quench your thirst satisfyingly, check out these two options for a more mixed reality experience.
Occipital Bridge Headset
Dive into the mixed reality and imagination world with Occipital's Bridge headset, which comes with its own sensor and controller. It is both VR and AR (augmented reality) headset, which connects the real and virtual worlds to bring a more realistic experience.
The only limitation is that it works with iPhones only. The shipping of the headset begins December 16 for the "Explorer Edition", which costs $499, but if you can wait until March then you can save $100.
Unless you have decided to carelessly spend away your savings, Microsoft HoloLens will not disappoint you. But it hurts to see the price tag of this mixed reality headset. Quite frankly, even if it costs a fortune in the VR headset worlds, it is worth it. HoloLens looks cool and lets you interact with the real world for games and projects (feeling like Tony Stark eh?).