Welcome to the next level

The future of gaming is here! With virtual-reality headsets, you can feel immersed in a virtual environment that will take you to the far reaches of the universe and back. The instant you slip on a VR headset you will be transported into an alternate reality where you can look up, down, and around you in a full 360 degrees of motion, which offers an unparalleled sense of immersion.

Together, we will take a look at what virtual reality is, how it works, and the range of VR gaming headsets that are available. With so many VR choices on the market it can be a bit tricky to know what to buy that best suits your needs.

What is Virtual Reality?

In the simplest terms, Virtual Reality (VR) can be defined as a fully immersive computer simulated environment that gives one the feeling of being in a virtual world, instead of the real world. VR technology offers you the chance to interact with and fully experience the action, sound and visual imagery of three-dimensional video games, video clips, movies and more.casquevr0

VR can be so realistic that it completely replicates sensory experiences like touch, hearing, sight, and smell. VR is all about immersion and the feeling of presence, so you can truly become the character that you are playing in the game.


How Does Virtual Reality Work?

In order to surround you in the audio and video experiences of virtual reality games, a virtual reality headset encompasses your eyes and ears. A virtual-reality headset, viewer, or goggles are at the centre of a VR experience, these devices use stereoscopic displays to make what you see 3D and give depth to the image that you are looking at. Additionally, sensors track your motion and allow the image to change with your perspective.

The headset fit and the degree of latency are two features that can affect your overall virtual reality experience, and should be determining factors when purchasing a VR headset. To get the full VR experience you will want a comfortable, snug fit that is not too tight. A convincing, virtual world is created when what you see updates as you move your head, with minimal latency. Increased latency can cause some people to feel sick when wearing a virtual-reality headset. However, modern head tracking and display technology make it possible to create a realistic VR experience with minimal latency.


Entry level VR experience: ReTrak Utopia 360 VR Headset

retrakIf you are new to VR, a casual VR user, or on a tight budget—you will want to pick up the ReTrak Utopia 360 VR Headset. This headset is compatible with 4.5 inch and 6 inch” Android and Apple smart phones.

By using a LuidView lens system, the ReTrack Utopia 360 VR Headset displays VR games that are easy on your eyes and offer reduced levels of glad and eyestrain. This headset is lightweight, equipped with a form-fit cushion that gives you a comfortable fit.

You will find literally hundreds of compatible VR games ranging from racing to horror to flight simulators and more on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. Keep in mind that some of these games are free and others are paid.

Midrange VR experience: Samsung Gear VR

samsungThe Samsung Gear VR is compatible with Samsung smartphones and gives you an incredibly immersive mobile virtual reality experience. With a 101-degree field of view, you will be able to enjoy games with stunning 360-degree panoramic views. The Samsung Gear VR allows you to use head movements to aim, explore, and interact with your games.

By going to the Oculus VR app store on your Samsung smartphone, you can download amazing games like Minecraft Gear VR Edition, Hitman GO: VR Edition, and Smash Hit VR.

Premium VR experience (console): PlayStation VR

psvrWhat Sony has accomplished with PlayStation VR is simply amazing! If you think about it, it is even more impressive when you consider both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have superior specs compared to Sony’s headset.  Sony has leap-frogged the competition with their unrivaled combination of a killer software launch line-up and the most comfortable, consumer-friendly VR headset of the bunch.

psvr-2Unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, you do not need a high-end PC in order to play PlayStation VR. All you need is a PS4—a gaming console with an installed user base of more than 40 million units worldwide. With such a massive user-base already owning the hardware to power PlayStation VR, Sony is on its way to bringing VR technolog to the mainstream, much like they did with DVDs and Blu-ray Discs.

The PlayStation VR will have more than 50 games available before the end of the year. There is a huge variety of games and experiences, covering virtually all genres such as sports combat (RIGS: Mechanized Combat League), on-rails shooters (Until Dawn: Rush of Blood), shoot ‘em up (Super Stardust VR), sports (100ft Robot Golf, Hustle Kings VR), and many more.

Premium VR experience (PC): Oculus Rift VR Headset

oculusIf you are looking for one of the best VR experiences, then you will want to pick up the Oculus Rift VR Headset. Considered to be the mack daddy of VR headsets, the Oculus Rift requires a pretty beefy PC to run on. To get the full VR with the Oculus Rift, you will need a powerful computer with a top-notch graphics card that is capable of delivering high-quality graphics to a virtual-reality headset. Best Buy Canada has a wide selection of Oculus Rift ready computers to suit you needs.

oculus-2It is easy to see the attention to detail that went into the design of the Oculus Rift—it’s comfortable, adaptable, and customizable. With a growing community of users around the world, you can pretty much get the VR experience for any type of game. It offers incredible visuals at a resolution of 2160 x 1200, 110-degree field of view, and 90HZ refresh rate. The Oculus Rift comes with an Xbox One controller that is compatible with the majority of games.

Shop for virtual reality headsets at Best Buy Canada

Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.