The 1600 euro problem prevents the breakthrough of virtual reality

The 1600 euro problem prevents the breakthrough of virtual reality

Published on 21.07.2020

ARCHIV-Zum Themendienst-Report by Benedikt Wenck from July 16, 2020: Three players with Playstation VR glasses (230 euros), with which the PS4 can be upgraded. Photo: Henning Kaiser / dpa-tmn-Free of charge only for recipients of the dpa theme service + + + dpa theme service + + +

When game developer Valve releases a new game in the Half-Life series, it’s all about one thing: technical innovation. So it should be with “Half Life Alyx”. The game was designed from the outset for virtual reality (VR) and was intended to show what is possible with technology.

For this, it was met with dozens of positive reviews, even called a “VR masterpiece”. The game was planned as a killer application for VR: a software, because of which everyone wants to get the necessary hardware.

According to a representative survey by the digital industry association Bitkom, around a third of respondents have already tried VR in 2019. Ten percent have a headset at home. Video games are the most used VR content.

In the market, nothing has changed with VR

“In my personal opinion, the killer app does not yet exist,” says Phillip Steinfatt, co-founder of the community platform VR-Nerds. “People who weren’t interested in VR before were guaranteed to buy glasses for’ Half Life Alyx’. But it’s not that my neighbors would have approached me about it.”Really something has not changed in the market.

SCREENSHOT - To the topic service report by Benedikt Wenck from July 16, 2020:

The main reason for this: the high financial barrier to entry. “With VR in conjunction with a PC, you need a special PC with a high-end graphics card and glasses, which are also quite expensive,” says Steinfatt.

The cost of the computer would be about 1200 euros, in addition would be 400 to 800 euros for the headset and other accessories.

ARCHIV-Zum Themendienst-Report by Benedikt Wenck from 16 July 2020: With prices starting at around 450 euros, the Oculus Quest VR glasses are probably the cheapest VR entry at the moment. Photo: Andrea Warnecke / dpa-tmn-Free of charge only for recipients of the dpa theme service + + + dpa theme service + + +

The currently cheapest variant is the VR glasses Oculus Quest from around 450 euros. “The highlight of the Oculus Quest is that it is an all-in-one pair of glasses. You no longer need a computer and only pay as much as for the next cheapest PC VR glasses,“ says Steinfatt.

The cable also falls away: it can neither disturb the VR experience nor become a stumbling block. But the possibilities of representation are more limited, and the glasses sit much heavier on the forehead and nose.

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Owners of a Playstation 4 can also invest in Playstation VR. The headset is available for around 230 euros, plus costs for an external camera and two move controllers if you want to use the full setup.

Sony’s platform also recently got its own game planned as a killer app: “Marvel’s Iron Man VR”. The players are in the suit of the eponymous hero.

The special trick: The movement is also strongly based on the comic and film template. The move controllers behave like the control nozzles on the hands of Iron Man. If you point them backwards on the body, you move forward; however, the thrust can also be reversed directly by tearing the arms forward.

SCREENSHOT-To the topic service report by Benedikt Wenck from July 16, 2020: VR requires significantly more computing power than classic games. Not every scene in

This feels very real in the test, perfectly conveys the feeling of being Iron Man, so it does exactly what VR is supposed to do. However, gamers also need a very solid “VR stomach” for this: since a strong movement is simulated, which actually does not take place, sensitive people can get nauseous very quickly.

Learning from Early VR Mistakes

However, the industry has made great progress in this area, says Steinfatt. On the one hand, the quality and image delay have improved. “On the other hand, development studios have also learned from the early mistakes.“

Early applications, for example, would often have been roller coaster simulations. “Everyone thought: Wow, you can ride a roller coaster in the office chair! But then everyone realized: this is not a good idea.“

SCREENSHOT-To the topic service report by Benedikt Wenck from July 16, 2020: Give thrust, rocket: In

In addition, “Iron Man VR” also very clearly shows the limitations of the available technology: a level that is supposed to represent Shanghai looks like from a flight simulator ten years ago. On a flat plane are placed huge blocks, which are supposed to represent high-rise buildings. Only the most important details are presented. The presentation of VR requires significantly more computing power than classic games.

Here, the games often promise more than you can experience. “When you watch a trailer of a VR title, all you see is the graphics, how they can be displayed on a screen in the best possible way,” says Steinfatt. “That doesn’t mean the glasses can do that.“

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