Everything you need to play VR games
If you’re looking to dive into the world of VR gaming, you’ll need to gather some essential equipment and software. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to get started:
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A compatible virtual reality headset plays a crucial role in enjoying VR games, as it delivers the immersive experience that sets VR gaming apart from traditional gaming.
The Best VR headset
The HTC VIVE Pro 2 is an advanced virtual reality (VR) system designed for gamers, professionals, and VR enthusiasts seeking a premium and immersive VR experience. The VIVE Pro 2 boasts several improvements and features over its predecessor, the HTC VIVE Pro. Here are some key aspects of the VIVE Pro 2:
- Display: The VIVE Pro 2 features dual 2.5K (2448 x 2448 pixels per eye) LCD panels, providing a combined resolution of 4896 x 2448 pixels. This offers a significant upgrade in visual clarity and detail, resulting in a more realistic and engaging VR experience.
- Refresh Rate and Field of View (FOV): The VIVE Pro 2 has a refresh rate of 120Hz, which provides smoother motion and reduces motion sickness. Additionally, the headset offers a 120-degree field of view (FOV), giving users a broader perspective and improved immersion in virtual environments.
- Comfort and Ergonomics: The VIVE Pro 2 is designed with user comfort in mind, featuring an adjustable head strap and balanced weight distribution. The headset also comes with adjustable IPD (interpupillary distance), allowing users to customize the fit for their specific eye distance.
- Tracking and Controllers: The VIVE Pro 2 uses the SteamVR tracking system, which offers precise and accurate tracking of both the headset and the controllers. The controllers are ergonomically designed, providing intuitive controls and haptic feedback for a more immersive experience.
- Compatibility and Connectivity: The VIVE Pro 2 is compatible with a wide range of VR-ready PCs and supports DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0 for video and data connections. The headset can also be connected wirelessly using the optional VIVE Wireless Adapter (sold separately), which offers a cable-free VR experience.
- Modular Design: The VIVE Pro 2 has a modular design, allowing users to upgrade components such as the face cushion, head strap, and tracking system. This makes it a future-proof option for those who want to keep their VR system up-to-date.
- Professional Use: In addition to gaming, the VIVE Pro 2 is well-suited for professional applications such as architecture, design, and medical simulations. Its high-resolution display and precise tracking enable detailed work and accurate simulations.
Pros of the HTC VIVE Pro 2 Virtual Reality System:
- High-resolution display: The VIVE Pro 2 offers a combined resolution of 4896 x 2448 pixels, providing crisp and clear visuals for a more immersive VR experience.
- Smooth refresh rate: With a 120Hz refresh rate, the VIVE Pro 2 ensures smooth motion and reduces the risk of motion sickness for users.
- Wide field of view: The 120-degree FOV provides a more natural and expansive perspective, enhancing immersion in virtual environments.
- Comfortable design: The adjustable head strap, balanced weight distribution, and customizable IPD make the VIVE Pro 2 comfortable to wear for extended periods.
- Precise tracking: The SteamVR tracking system delivers accurate and responsive tracking of both the headset and controllers, enabling seamless interaction within the virtual world.
- Modular and upgradeable: The VIVE Pro 2’s modular design allows users to upgrade components, making it a future-proof investment.
- Professional use: The high-resolution display and accurate tracking make the VIVE Pro 2 suitable for a variety of professional applications, including design, architecture, and medical simulations.
Cons of the HTC VIVE Pro 2 Virtual Reality System:
- Price: The VIVE Pro 2 is relatively expensive compared to some other VR systems on the market, which may be a barrier for some potential buyers.
- PC requirements: The VIVE Pro 2 requires a powerful VR-ready PC to run smoothly, which can add to the overall cost of the system.
- Wired connectivity: Although the VIVE Pro 2 supports wireless connectivity with the optional VIVE Wireless Adapter, it is primarily a wired system, which can limit freedom of movement and create cable clutter.
- Controller design: While the controllers are ergonomically designed, some users may prefer the design of competing VR controllers, such as the Oculus Touch controllers.
- Limited built-in audio: The built-in audio on the VIVE Pro 2 has been noted as somewhat lacking in quality and volume, with some users opting for external headphones.
- SteamVR tracking setup: The external base stations required for the SteamVR tracking system can be cumbersome to set up and require a dedicated space for the best results.
In conclusion, the HTC VIVE Pro 2 offers a high-quality and immersive VR experience but comes with a relatively high price tag and requires a powerful PC to run optimally. It is best suited for users seeking a premium VR experience for gaming, professional applications, or VR exploration, and those willing to invest in the necessary hardware.
VR controllers are essential for most VR games, as they allow for accurate tracking of hand movements during gameplay. They contribute to the immersive experience and enable players to interact with the virtual environment more naturally. VR headsets typically include controllers, designed to work seamlessly with the specific device. Some examples are:
The Best VR controller
The PlayStation Move Motion Controllers are a pair of wireless controllers designed specifically for the PlayStation VR (PSVR) system, providing an immersive and interactive virtual reality experience on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles. The controllers enable players to interact with the virtual world using natural hand movements and gestures. Here are some key aspects of the PlayStation Move Motion Controllers:
- Design: The PlayStation Move Motion Controllers feature an ergonomic design with a cylindrical shape that comfortably fits most hands. Each controller is equipped with a large, glowing orb at the top, which is tracked by the PlayStation Camera to determine the controller’s position and orientation in 3D space.
- Controls: The controllers have several buttons, including the Move button, which is the primary action button, and the T button, which often serves as a secondary action button or trigger. Additionally, there are the standard PlayStation face buttons (X, O, square, and triangle), a directional pad, and the Start and Select buttons for navigating menus and other functions.
- Motion tracking: The PlayStation Move Motion Controllers use a combination of glowing orbs, built-in accelerometers, and gyroscopes to track their position and orientation. The PlayStation Camera tracks the controllers’ orbs to determine their location in 3D space, while the internal sensors detect movements and rotations.
- Haptic feedback: The controllers offer vibration feedback, which helps to enhance the immersive experience by providing tactile sensations that correspond to in-game events.
- Rechargeable batteries: The PlayStation Move Motion Controllers are equipped with built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged using a standard micro-USB cable. This eliminates the need for disposable batteries and reduces waste.
- Compatibility: The controllers are compatible with both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as a wide range of PSVR games and experiences. They can be used with various PSVR titles that require motion controls, such as Beat Saber, Superhot VR, and Job Simulator.
- Setup: Setting up the PlayStation Move Motion Controllers is relatively simple. The controllers need to be paired with the console via Bluetooth and calibrated using the PlayStation Camera to ensure accurate tracking.
Pros of the PlayStation Move Motion Controllers:
- Immersive experience: The motion controls provide an interactive and engaging virtual reality experience, allowing players to use natural hand movements and gestures to interact with the virtual world.
- Ergonomic design: The cylindrical shape and button layout of the PlayStation Move Motion Controllers make them comfortable to hold and use for extended periods.
- Wide compatibility: The controllers are compatible with both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as a variety of PSVR games and experiences that require motion controls.
- Rechargeable batteries: The built-in lithium-ion batteries can be recharged using a micro-USB cable, eliminating the need for disposable batteries and reducing waste.
- Easy setup: The controllers are relatively simple to set up and calibrate using the PlayStation Camera, making them accessible for users of all skill levels.
- Haptic feedback: The vibration feedback enhances the immersive experience by providing tactile sensations that correspond to in-game events.
Cons of the PlayStation Move Motion Controllers:
- Tracking limitations: The PlayStation Move Motion Controllers rely on the PlayStation Camera for tracking, which can sometimes result in less accurate tracking compared to other VR systems with external sensors.
- Limited buttons: The controllers have fewer buttons than some other VR controllers, which may limit their functionality in certain games or applications.
- No thumbsticks: The lack of thumbsticks on the controllers can make navigation and movement in some games less intuitive compared to other VR controllers with built-in thumbsticks, such as the Oculus Touch controllers.
- Light interference: The glowing orbs at the top of the controllers can be affected by bright lights or sunlight in the play area, which may impact tracking accuracy.
- Age of technology: The PlayStation Move Motion Controllers were initially released in 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and have not seen a major hardware update since then. As a result, the technology may be considered somewhat dated compared to newer VR controllers.
The PlayStation Move Motion Controllers offer an immersive and interactive VR experience for PlayStation VR users but have some limitations in tracking accuracy and button functionality compared to newer VR controllers on the market. They are best suited for users looking for an affordable and accessible entry into virtual reality gaming on their PlayStation consoles.
Gaming platform or PC
Depending on your chosen VR headset, you may need a compatible gaming platform or PC. For example, PlayStation VR requires a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 console, while the Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive, and Valve Index need a VR-ready PC. The Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone device and does not require a separate platform or PC.
The Best Gaming Platform
To play VR games, you’ll need to purchase and download them from the digital store associated with your chosen VR headset and gaming platform. Each platform has its store, which offers a variety of VR titles specifically designed for the respective headsets. Some popular digital stores for VR games include:
- Oculus Store: The official store for Oculus devices, such as the Oculus Quest 2 and Oculus Rift S. The Oculus Store offers a curated selection of VR games and experiences optimized for these headsets.
- Steam: A popular digital platform for PC gaming, Steam also provides a wide range of VR games, including titles compatible with headsets like the HTC Vive and Valve Index. You can filter the games by VR headset compatibility to find the right titles for your device.
- PlayStation Store: For PlayStation VR users, the PlayStation Store is the place to find VR games and experiences designed for the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 consoles.
Adequate play space
Having adequate play space is essential for a safe and enjoyable VR gaming experience. Most VR headsets require a minimum play area to allow for free movement and prevent accidents while playing. The standard minimum play space is approximately 6.5 x 6.5 feet (2 x 2 meters), but this can vary depending on the headset and the specific game.
To create a safe play space for VR gaming, follow these guidelines:
- Clear the area: Remove any obstacles or hazards from the play area, such as furniture, cords, or loose items on the floor. This will help prevent accidents and injuries while playing.
- Mark your boundaries: Some VR systems, like the Oculus Guardian or SteamVR Chaperone, allow you to set virtual boundaries that will alert you when you’re approaching the edge of your play space. Make sure to configure these boundaries according to your available space.
- Consider the height: Be mindful of the vertical space as well, ensuring there’s enough clearance for you to raise your arms and move freely without hitting the ceiling, light fixtures, or fans.
- Inform others: If you share your living space with others, make sure they are aware of your VR play area and know to be cautious when approaching it during gameplay.
A good audio setup is an essential component of an immersive VR experience, as it contributes to the overall sense of presence and immersion in the virtual environment. There are several options for audio setups when it comes to VR gaming:
- Built-in speakers: Some VR headsets, like the Oculus Quest 2, feature built-in speakers that provide spatial audio. This can offer a convenient and cable-free audio solution for casual gaming sessions.
- External speakers: Using external speakers can create an immersive audio experience in your play area. However, it may not provide the same level of positional audio accuracy as built-in speakers or headphones. Additionally, external speakers may cause sound leakage, which could disturb others in your vicinity.
- Headphones: Many VR gamers prefer using headphones for their audio setup, as they provide better sound quality, noise isolation, and accurate positional audio. Some VR headsets have integrated headphone options, while others allow you to use your headphones.
Optional accessories can enhance your VR gaming experience by providing additional comfort, organization, and convenience. Some accessories to consider, depending on your VR headset and gaming preferences, include:
- VR headset stands: A stand for your VR headset can help keep your gaming area organized and protect your device when not in use. Various designs are available, from simple stands to more elaborate ones that also hold controllers and headphones.
- Cable management system: If you’re using a tethered VR headset, a cable management system can help keep the cables off the ground and out of your way during gameplay. This reduces the risk of tripping over cables and improves your overall gaming experience.
- Padded mats: Placing padded mats or interlocking foam tiles in your play area can provide additional comfort, especially for games that require extended periods of standing or moving around. These mats can also help define the boundaries of your play space and reduce noise from footsteps.
- Controller grips: Some VR controllers can be slippery, particularly during extended gaming sessions. Adding controller grips or silicone skins can improve your grip and provide a more comfortable and secure gaming experience.
- VR covers and face pads: Replaceable VR covers and face pads can increase comfort and hygiene during gameplay. They can also help maintain the longevity of the headset’s original padding.
- Prescription lens inserts: If you wear glasses, consider investing in prescription lens inserts for your VR headset. These inserts can make it more comfortable to wear the headset and reduce the risk of damage to the headset or your glasses.
Once you have all the necessary equipment and software, follow the setup instructions for your specific VR headset and gaming platform. After setting everything up, you’ll be ready to enjoy a wide range of VR games!