Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Virtual Reality Check; AFTER YEARS OF EFFORT TRYING TO BRING VR TO THE MASSES, ARE WE FINALLY SEEING A BREAKTHROUGH?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Virtual Reality Check; AFTER YEARS OF EFFORT TRYING TO BRING VR TO THE MASSES, ARE WE FINALLY SEEING A BREAKTHROUGH?

Article excerpt

Byline: tech now With Justin Connolly

SOME of us have a hard enough time dealing with actual reality at the moment without having to worry about a virtual one as well.

That, of course, has not stopped the main-players in the tech world forging ahead with efforts to bring VR to the masses.

They've been trying to do it for years, but have not made a significant breakthrough until this year.

Facebook's Oculus Rift gained some traction, but failed to go mainstream because of the tremendous cost involved of the hardware required to run it.

Google is reportedly readying a stand-alone VR headset that would not require any extra hardware other than that which is strapped to your head, so cost and inconvenience is minimised.

Until that utopia dawns, then, we are, by and large, left with Sony's VR efforts for its PlayStation 4 console as the most viable and cost-effective way to bring VR to the masses.

And it's not a bad experience at all.

If you already have a PlayStation 4 (PS250) and PlayStation Camera (PS40), the extra kit required - which amounts to a small add-on box and the headset itself - runs to somewhere between PS300 and PS350. A lot less than the Oculus, but still a major investment.

Some might think its primary use is for gaming, and there are some fantastic games available for it, most of them taking advantage of the immersion VR brings to create incredibly absorbing first-person shooter games.

There are also some add-on VR experiences being made available for existing games - there is, for example, a short but sweet VR chapter for Star Wars Battlefront which allows you to pilot an X-Wing fighter and do battle with the Empire.

It's a stunning demo of what's possible, as well as being an enjoyable diversion in itself.

But there's much more to VR than just the gaming side of things - the educational potential is actually breathtaking. …

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