Virtual reality technology is making incredible leaps and bounds with regard to progress in recent years. The idea of true immersive VR—once a pipe dream—is now emerging as a premier form of entertainment, as well as a useful tool for business and development. Furthermore, with a variety of VR headset options available, there is now a growing demand for virtual reality content.
There is no one single hub for navigating the growing library of virtual reality games, experiences, and apps. Content is available from a number of different sources. Furthermore, some VR headsets are compatible with a broader range of content than others. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to find content for your VR headset.
The PlayStation VR headset is the easiest to separate into a category of its own. This is because Sony curates all its content through the ecosystem of the PlayStation 4 console and the PlayStation Store.
For this reason, the PlayStation VR headset has a smaller library of content available in comparison to other PC/console headsets. However, it also has a number of PSVR-exclusive games and apps. It is also regularly the most affordable among PC/Console VR headsets.
There are two simple ways to purchase games and apps for PSVR:
Almost all virtual reality content is exclusive to digital delivery. However, the PSVR may be the one exception. Many titles for the PSVR are available for purchase the old-fashioned way—on physical Blu-Ray discs compatible with the PS4 console. These include huge hits like the critically-acclaimed platformer Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, and the incredible first-person shooter Firewall: Zero Hour.
Digital content via the PlayStation Store
PSVR games and apps are also available digitally through the PlayStation Store. These include not only games, but other VR programs such as movie tie-ins, exploration experiences, and more. The PlayStation Store even offers apps that let users experience concerts or view their own videos and movies in a cinematic virtual reality environment.
Ultimately the PlayStation store offers a wide variety of both free and paid content for the PSVR headset. Owners can access it directly from their PlayStation 4 console, or online via a web browser.
Tethered PC VR headsets
There are a few options for VR headsets on the market that simply require a PC with suitable specs to run. These include VR headsets such as the Oculus Quest, the HTC VIVE, and the Valve Index. These are among the pricier virtual reality headsets available, but the are also capable of delivering the most impressive and immersive experiences.
The great thing about PC VR headsets is that they are compatible with a wealth of content across a variety of different sources. Since they are not beholden to a single ecosystem (such as the PSVR/PlayStation 4 console), they tend to have larger libraries and broader reach. The most common resources for PC VR content are digital storefronts.
Steam is the perfect example of a broad source for VR content. The Steam digital marketplace (and “SteamVR”) contains one of the largest libraries of VR games, apps, and more available for purchase and download. However, even though Steam is tied to developer Valve, who have their own proprietary VR headset (the Valve Index), the VR content available through Steam is compatible across most PC VR headsets—including those from competitors like HTC and Oculus.
Many VR developers also offer Netflix-like subscription services. Here subscribers can play a flat monthly or annual fee for unlimited access to a curated library of software.
One such example is “Viveport Infinity”. This subscription service gears towards gaming and entertainment. It offers subscribers limitless access to hundreds of VR games and experiences, as well as discounts on other VR software purchases. And the best part? Viveport Infinity is currently compatible with a number of headsets beyond the HTC Vive, including the Valve Index and Oculus Rift.
Virtual reality does not limit itself purely to gaming and entertainment however. “Oculus for Business” also offers a subscription service, gearing more toward commerce. With Oculus for Business subscribers gain dedicated software with management tools and device setup, customized user experiences built around business cases, as well as service and support.
Mobile VR headsets
Not all virtual reality devices are created equal. While there are a number of high-end options on the market, there are conversely quite a few entry-level options for virtual reality as well. In that space mobile VR headsets offer some of the most accessible entry points into the world of virtual reality.
They key feature of most mobile VR headsets is that the work in conjunction with your own mobile device. Take for example the Noon VR Pro Headset, for use with both select iOS and Android devices. It serves primarily as a headset frame for immersion and support, while your mobile device itself provides the screen and does all the heavy lifting.
This makes procuring content for mobile vr headsets relatively simple. VR games, apps, and more can be downloaded directly to your device via its own associated digital storefront(s)—such as the Apple App Store for iOS devices, or the Google Play Store for Android devices. Each digital app store has a growing library on content available specifically for use with virtual reality headsets.
Furthermore, many of the streaming sites that you are likely already accustomed to browsing on your device are also jumping in with VR-specific content. On example is YouTube VR, which not only adds content specifically curated for the VR experience, but also lets you browse the site itself in VR mode.
Finding the best content for your VR headset
As you can see there are a number of different ways to access amazing VR content. Your options can vary depending on your own personal VR headset of choice, and some models may have more sources and content available than others. That said, there is an incredible variety of immersive VR experiences out there to enjoy, with everything from ground-breaking video games to realistic visual tours, thrilling live concerts and events to innovative business tools, and much more.
You can also learn more about different VR options by checking out Leonard Bond’s post on How to choose a Virtual Reality (VR) Headset.