VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSETS & GAMES

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PLAYSTATION VR

The PS VR is a virtual reality headset for PlayStation owners. It features multiple motion-tracking devices that work with the PS4 console.

PlayStaton VR

VIVE

Vive is a first-of-its kind virtual reality system developed in partnership by HTC and Valve. Designed from the ground up for room-scale VR, Vive allows true-to-life interactions and immersive experiences thanks to stunning graphics, HD haptic feedback, 360° absolute motion tracking, a front-facing camera and notifications from your phone in VR.

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GEAR VR

Samsung Gear VR transforms virtual reality with a new handheld controller that seamlessly responds to organic, human movements in virtual experiences. Every move, from turning and grabbing to pointing and lifting, is naturally connected from physical to virtual, making it more intuitive and spellbinding than ever before.

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ReTrak Utopia 360°

Experience a World Beyond Your Imagination. Introducing Utopia 360°, the striking new virtual reality headset that takes you on a sensory adventure through 3-D movies, simulated games and immersive 360° VR apps.

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$19.99

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$29.99

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$59.99

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$29.99

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$19.99

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$49.99

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$39.99

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$39.99

BUY DOWNLOAD

$9.99

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$39.99

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$39.99

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$19.99

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$19.99

THE VIRTUAL REALITY FAQ by Game Informer

How exactly do these headsets work?

Ever wonder how a VR headset is capable of transporting us to a virtual time and place? To get that world in front of your eyes, a lot of advanced science needs to happen behind the scenes. First off, a substantial amount of computing power is leveraged to render images twice, once for each eye. Right now, that power is provided by a PC or console via an extremely dense data cable that sends information to the head-mounted display.

Then gyroscopic sensors, accelerometers, and magnetometers work in concert with trackers hidden under LED-permeable plastic (or exposed light bars in the case of PlayStation VR) to determine where you are in real space. That data is then used to rapidly change your view of the simulated worlds with a goal of imperceptible lag and close to perfect one-to-one translation.

The onboard sensors aren't quite enough to render perfect positional information. That's where an external camera and the LED sensors or light bar come in to play. As lag is re moved and positional data approaches one-to-one correlation, our brains are fooled into thinking that our movement in the real world and images we're presented are actually in front and around us.

How comfortable are these headsets?

Part of the reason it's taken so long for Oculus to come to market is the company's pursuit of comfort. Improving the refresh rate to 90Hz (meaning the image is replaced on the display 90 times per second), reducing latency, and minimizing persistence are all factors in allowing users to enjoy virtual reality for extended sessions. The head-mounted displays also include a number of ways to adjust the unit, including straps to modify fit to the user's head and focus dials to make the image as clear as possible in pursuit of the "sweet spot" at which the image becomes almost indistinguishable from looking at the real world.

"We weren't going to come out and say we'd solved motion sickness or anything like that," says Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe. "This is going to be an ongoing challenge in general. As we try to replace all the light coming in your eyes and give you computer-generated eyes in a way that feels natural and completely normal like in the real world but now in this virtual world, we're in the early days. It will continue to get better. I really feel like where we are with Rift has crossed the threshold so the majority of the audience for some amount of time will be able to enjoy VR comfortably. Most people - the majority of the audience - will be able to jump in."

Can I use these head-mounted displays with my glasses?

All three of the major head-mounted displays releasing next year are compatible with eyeglasses. Each is designed to fit over some eyewear, and in many cases, you'll be able to achieve similar fidelity to those with uncorrected vision or contact lenses.

Some people with larger frames may run into problems. Those who wear glasses on the Game Informer staff were encouraged to place their glasses in the HMD and then put both on at the same time. We expect that as the technology improves, further accommodations will be made for those that wear eyeglasses.

I hear people can get sick using VR headsets...

They can, but the developers are focused on eliminating this problem as much as possible. Our brains are difficult to fool, and if we aren't convinced of the illusion, there is significant potential for simulation sickness. Symptoms include cold sweats, dizziness, light-headedness, headache, pallor, nausea, and in the worst cases, vomiting.

The most comfortable virtual reality experiences map camera controls to head movement. The reason this works so well in countering illness is how our vestibular system works. Our inner ears contain fine hairs called cilia, which have microscopic crystals on the end. As we move our heads, the hairs bend and shift, transmitting signals and letting our brains compensate for positional adjustments. Simulation sickness occurs when the data your eyes send to your brain is in conflict with the information received from the vestibular system.
One of the ways the platform holders plan to combat simulation sickness is by informing the users which experiences are rougher on the stomach. The Oculus Store in particular plans to introduce a "comfort" rating. "For the stuff that's in the Store, it is curated to be a certain quality level," says Oculus head of worldwide studios Jason Rubin. "It is going to be looked at to make sure that it is above a certain amount of comfort. We'll most likely have a way of telegraphing to the customer what's more comfortable, what's less comfortable"

Is virtual reality safe for the faint of heart?

One of the lingering concerns about virtual reality content is that the violent and terrifying content to which we've become accustomed on two-dimensional displays won't play the same way in an immersive context. Speaking at Unite 2014, Cloudhead Games' Denny Unger warned developers about abusing the immersive nature of the medium. "When the commercial version comes out, somebody is going to scare somebody to death - somebody with a heart condition or something like that," he said. "It is going to happen. Absolutely." Platform holders are already working with developers to create a set of best practices for content.

Is it dangerous being cut off from the room around you?

Comfort isn't the only challenge facing VR. The head-mounted displays can be an isolating experience, especially as users begin to replace the built-in earphones with noise-isolating or noise-canceling options. Right now, there aren't good options for leaving a headset on and interacting with the world around you, whether that be answering your phone, talking to someone in the room, or taking a drink of water.

One option is outward-looking cameras installed on the front of HMDs that can display the user's surroundings at the touch of a button. They aren't the best solution according to Iribe. "Things like passthrough cameras are uncomfortable," Iribe says. "It puts the view in the wrong place relative to your eyes. It's not a good solution. It's not a comfortable solution to that idea of isolation to quickly see what's in the room. Pushing the button and looking out is not a silver bullet. There is no silver bullet for this. The longer-term way that you want to do it is by truly mapping the environment that you're in and being able to push a button and see the mapped version in the exact right place."

For now, users will be presented with a range of safety and health warnings. Oculus says it will be suggesting limits on play time and remain in a dialogue with users to help refine communication about safety issues. Part of that is preparing technical support for launch that tackles a wide range of questions that might come up from users experiencing virtual reality for the first time.

VR GLOSSARY by Game Informer

Field of View - The extent of the observable space that is seen at any moment. Human binocular vision is about 114 degrees, with another 60 to 70 degrees of monocular peripheral vision. The leading VR headsets all boast fields of view of 100 degrees or greater.

Haptics - Haptics is tech that recreates the sense of touch. In virtual reality, the vibration motors embedded in input devices are even more important for immersion, selling the illusion that you've picked up a physical object and not just a picture of one in the environment.

Head-mounted display - You'll likely call them Rift, PlayStation VR, and Vive, but those are brand names. Each of these highly technical and complex apparatuses have a boring generic name: head-mounted display. We expect people will find a colloquialism that has a bit more panache.

Head Tracking - With the use of external cameras, head-mounted displays track users' heads to determine changing elevation, moving from side-to-side, and stepping forward and back. This tech isn't present on portable virtual reality displays, like the Gear VR.

Latency - Latency refers to the time delay between a stimulation and response. In order for our brains to allow us to believe we're present in a simulation, it's crucial the perspective moves in sync with our natural head turning.

Persistence - Just a few years ago, if you were to put on an Oculus Rift developer kit, turning your head would result in the image smearing. This "screen door" effect was created by images lingering too long on the screen. Over the years, Oculus and others working on consumer virtual reality have reduced image persistence to minimize the lingering after effects.

Presence - If not for this being an alphabetical list, presence would be at the top. This is a word you're likely to hear bandied about whenever virtual reality is discussed, because it deals directly with the illusion that you've been transported somewhere else. Also called "immersion," this is the core principal behind good VR. The deeper the connection to the simulated world being displayed, the more you'll believe you're actually somewhere else.

Simulation Sickness - VR users often mistake nausea, headache, cold sweats, and dizziness for motion sickness. However, what is actually happening is simulation sickness caused by the perception of motion while remaining stationary. The two effects are related and can both be explained by incongruence between your senses. Your eyes sense movement, but your inner ear continues to remind your brain that you haven't moved. This conflict results in the aforementioned symptoms and, if you're unlucky, an intimate visit with a trash can.


VIRTUAL REALITY IS HERE TO STAY

Are You Ready for Virtual Reality?

The future of VR gaming is finally here! The Virtual Reality technology (VR headsets, VR glasses, VR goggles, etc.) that only existed in Science Fiction novels has gone mainstream and it's a natural fit for the video game industry.

What Is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality can be defined as a fully immersive computer simulated environment that gives one the feeling of being in a virtual world, instead of their actual world. VR is a super-realistic reality that replicates sensory experiences like sight, touch, hearing and smell.

Headset devices (like PSVR, Oculus VR, HTC Vive) use stereoscopic displays to make what you see three dimensional and give depth to the image that you are looking at. Sensors track your motion and allow the image to change with your perspective. Our other senses such as sound and touch help to convince our brains that the virtual reality is real. VR is all about immersion and the feeling of presence, so you can truly become the character that you are playing in the game.

Virtual Reality Cost

Virtual Reality gaming equipment is expected to cost anywhere from $19.99 to $1,500 (with a high-end computer to properly run the more expensive VR systems). From driving games to first person shooters, there are literally hundreds of Virtual Reality games in development right now. The price for each virtual reality game depends that particular game and the gaming system.

Stay Up-To-Date with Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is the future of gaming and entertainment, and GameStop wants to make sure that you are in-the-know about the best VR headsets and all that virtual gaming has to offer. Be sure and sign up for our VR email updates above to stay current on the latest on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and more!