Virtual Reality gaming has always been seen as the final step in gaming. Completely immersing a player in the world of the game by taking any outside distractions away from them. Actually being inside the game as your favorite character, or a new experience all together would be amazing. It’s easy to say no gamer is against such an idea. With the release of Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR you might say we are already there. But, we might not be as close as we would like to think. Let’s take a closer look at each of the systems to see what they are capable of, what their games look like, and how their prices might change a players mind about trying this new technology. There are many factors that can make a system great or terrible, but let’s keep it simple. System: Oculus Rift Developer: Oculus VR Release Date: March 28, 2016 We have been hearing about the Oculus Rift for a while now, which has added to its growing popularity. Gamers have seen this technology develop in front of their eyes for a few years. Some have even gotten to try out the prototypes before the consumer versions have even been released. The Oculus Rift gives players the ability to see the game as if they were in it, but maybe not as smoothly as they had hoped. This is still uncharted waters for any company so it can’t be expected to be perfect. That being said, it has been marketed as the next step in gaming. This is a bold statement to make while trying to push a new technology. We could just chalk that up to the marketing department. There are a lot of people anxious to to get their hands on one of these, but it’s uncertain whether or not it will be worth it. Would you be better off waiting instead of being a day one buyer? Maybe a look at some of the games might help you make your decision. The games currently Oculus Rift exclusive or compatible are, as of right now, not very impressive. At release, there are no AAA games available for the Oculus rift. The Oculus Rift compatible games are from indie developers. There is a large list of games expected for the Oculus Rift, but many of them are only in their Alpha or Beta stages so anyone who buys the Rift will have to wait for anything of note to be released to them. Oculus VR has put a lot of work into their flagship game EVE Valkyrie, and it does look great. A real look at what these system might be capable of. However, none of the other games come even close to it. Launch titles are important for the success of any system, but with nothing to back it up the Oculus Rift might fall flat after everyone has gotten their fill of EVE Valkyrie, and wants more. Having a solid roster of games is probably the most important factor in having a successful, and long living gaming system. Oculus VR recently released the price for the Oculus Rift. That price is $600 which includes: headset, sensor, remote, cables, Xbox One controller, EVE: Valkyrie, and Lucky’s Tale. You might think that could be plausible since it is a brand new technology that also comes with two release games. All of this might make the Oculus Rift worth the $600 price tag. To put it in perspective, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both sold for $400 at release. However, there is one piece of hardware that is missing. To even use the Oculus Rift you will need a high end gaming computer which can cost anywhere from $800 – $1200. So before you even put on your headset you could be spending close to $2000 for an untested system with sub par games to go with it. For the average gamer, that is a lot of money to dedicate to one gaming system. Some might not even be able to dish out that much money at all. This is probably the biggest argument made for not purchasing an Oculus Rift right away, or at all. System: PlayStation VR Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: Early 2016 PlayStation VR was announced almost two years ago, and is the biggest competitor to Oculus Rift. This might look like the better option because it is coming from a much larger company with a very long and solid gaming track record, who has also been at the top of console gaming for years. This is a similar system to the Oculus Rift. There is a headset the player wears to immerse themselves into whatever game they are playing. It’s hard to say which one looks better because it really depends on the game being played. Xbox One and PS4 have comparable graphics for the most part, but with these brand new VR headsets it’s hard to say which one will stand above until they are released. It’s safe to say might have more money invested in the development of their VR headset considering how large the company is, but we won’t know how that translates for a little while longer PlayStation VR does have a better list of games available. There are a few AAA companies making games for this headset. They include Bandai, Ubisoft, and of course Sony. However, don’t let those get you too excited. The game Ubisoft is releasing is called Eagle Flight which consists of the player flying around as an eagle. It feels like a VR gimmick game. Let the player fly around as a bird in game with no substance or challenge. Bandai has a few games set to release for the VR, but only Ace Combat 7 looks to have any promise to it. Sony is obviously releasing their own games. However, most of them aren’t exclusive to the VR itself. While they have the most games coming out most of them are extremely underwhelming compared to current AAA titles. It could be the inherent limitations of the VR system that are holding these games back, but that may prove the point that VR in general might not be on the competitive level yet. Sony has not yet announced the price of their VR system yet. Rumors are that it will cost between $300-$400 at release. If that is true it will be significantly cheaper than the Oculus Rift system. Like the Oculus Rift, the PlayStation VR cannot be played on its own. You will need a PS4 to play any VR games. So if you don’t already have a PS4 you will be spending around $750 before you wear your VR headset. While this is less expensive than the Oculus Rift, spending almost $400 on a non standalone system is still a lot for the average gamer. It is still unconfirmed if that $300-$400 dollars only gets you the headset or if it also includes things such as controllers, extra cords, or even a launch game. If those are included than the value might seem slightly more reasonable. It’s a big decision for any gamer to spend this amount of money for an untested, and from the looks of the current games, sub-par gaming system. Summary: True virtual reality gaming is years away. The current VR headsets are very good attempts at something amazing. However, in their current state it is hard for me to justify spending so much money on these systems. Their library of games at the moment is fairly long for being so new, but there is almost nothing of note in that list. Possibly a few contenders, but paying almost $2000 for an Oculus Rift, and $800 for a PlayStation VR seems ridiculous for the promise of a’ few’ good games. I am not convinced that VR headsets are developed enough for the consumer market at their current prices. I hope I am proven wrong, but it looks like the VR we are hoping for is still a ways away.