Generation 2.0 of VR is Almost Here

Generation 2.0 of VR is Almost Here

It’s only been two years since VR has been a viable option available to the public, since the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive launched in mid-2016. To those following the industry closely it may seem like the wait for a successor to these two titans of VR has been an eternity.

Virtual reality is a whole new medium. That means it’s not just a pair of screens strapped to your face... A new medium is the difference between newspapers and radio and TV. A completely whole new way to convey a message.

So in that sense it really is astonishing how quickly the next generation of VR has come about in only two years. How long did it take for print media to become widely available? Centuries. How long did it take TV and film to switch to colour? Decades. Now just two years after the launch of the Vive and Rift we have, judging from the positive early reviews, a new champion of VR: Pimax!

The two Pimax 8K and 5K+ VR headsets are being shipped to almost six thousand backers between October and December in 2018 after running the most successful VR-related Kickstarter so far back in late 2017. The reviews sound great, but now the backers have a choice to make deciding to receive either the 8K or 5K+ headset.

Both the Pimax 8K and 5K+ will soon offer a huge improvement over the current best headsets with a much wider field of view (far more immersive) and of course much higher resolution than Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for extra detail (and even compared to the HTC Vive Pro and Samsung Odyssey which were released earlier in 2018 both with only a modest resolution bump).

On paper the 8K sounds better. Bigger numbers with higher resolution should be the clear winner. I’ll spare you most of the technical jargon about the pros and cons of each. But according to reviewers the 8K requires graphical processing beyond what is currently available to fully maximize its benefits. Overall the 5K+ performs better and has better overall image clarity despite the 8K having more pixels in its display panels (providing a lessened “screen door effect” which is one of the biggest goals in providing high quality VR).

Here at The VR Club, it seems to us like the best option is to go with what works best now, not what might be better in another year or two. By that time there will be other options to consider such as the recently announced ‘StarVR One’ headset, or potential new releases from Oculus and HTC, or perhaps even another company could throw their hat in the ring.

So we’ll be going with the Pimax 5K+ here at The VR Club. By switching to this we’ll also be able to have earlier access to some of the exciting expansion modules Pimax plan to offer soon such as hand-tracking (without controllers!), smell simulations (keep it clean!), cooling fans, and eye-tracking.

Once we’ve got our hands on the headset, currently estimated to ship some time next month in October, we’ll be testing it out on the “Premium” VR station here at The VR Club, and possibly upgrading the entire lineup of HTC Vives with Pimax… one day! The two new Pimax headsets won’t be available to the general public for purchase until 2019 at the earliest. Plus there’s sure to be more challenges to overcome to make it work smoothly in a public arcade setting besides the technical challenges with a regular setup. That’s all part of the fun. Can’t wait.

Have a good one!

Peter

-The VR Club

How to: Rec Room at The VR Club

How to: Rec Room at The VR Club

Ground-Breaking VR film, 'The Great C' by Philip K. Dick

Ground-Breaking VR film, 'The Great C' by Philip K. Dick