Virtual reality or VR, has come a long way since its inception. Once a futuristic concept, it’s now a mainstream technology that continues to evolve rapidly. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of VR, exploring what it is, its potential applications, the top brands and models available, and much more. So, let’s embark on this virtual journey into the future of technology!

Table of Contents

  1. What is the big deal with VR?
  2. New advances in VR tech
  3. Apple’s exciting entry into virtual reality
  4. What can I see or play using VR?
  5. How does VR work?
  6. Is VR safe to use?
  7. Discover VR at Best Buy

What is the big deal with VR?

VR is technology that triggers multiple senses at once through an immersive experience. Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment that can be explored and interacted with by a person, typically using a headset. This technology immerses users in a virtual world that feels incredibly real, thanks to the combination of high-quality visuals, spatial audio, and precise motion tracking. VR aims to create an experience that tricks your senses into believing you’re in a different place or situation.

To work and play in a virtual environment, you will need a VR headset. These are technically known as HMDs, or head mounted displays, but VR headset is the more common term. A VR headset is able to effectively display environments that are life-sized, with head and positional tracking that follows you, giving you a 360-degree view of everything around you.

Instead of looking at a screen, like a TV or mobile device, you are viewing a canvas that is both massive in scope and feels like you are in another world.

New advances in VR tech

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Basic entry-level VR came out several years ago which were very affordable, required no real maintenance, and were highly portable. These headsets are mostly known as “Cardboard”, based on the standard Google implemented several years ago. You basically added an app to your mobile phone, slid that phone into the front of the “headset” and enjoyed a VR experience. There were several better VR experiences over the years too, but it’s safe to say that VR has now come-of-age.

Premium VR headsets: PlayStation VR2 and Meta Quest 3

As of October 2023, there are two standout VR brands and models that have taken VR to a level previously not possible. Each of these delivers a premium VR experience that is immersive and beyond what anyone who has not tried it will expect. Let’s take a closer look at some of these leading VR brands in order that they became available: PlayStation VR2 and Meta Quest 3.

1. PlayStation VR2

The PlayStation VR2 (PS VR2) marks a monumental leap in virtual reality gaming, standing out as an amazing VR console for several compelling reasons. Firstly, it’s the immersive experience that sets the PS VR2 apart. With advancements in visual fidelity, the PS VR2 offers a stunning 4K HDR display, providing a crystal-clear view that brings virtual worlds to life in exquisite detail. The increased field of view further enhances immersion, allowing players to see more of the virtual environment without the need to turn their heads excessively, thereby creating a more natural and engaging experience.

Another remarkable feature is the console’s haptic feedback technology, adapted from the innovations introduced in the PS5’s DualSense controller. This technology allows players to feel the virtual world through highly sensitive vibrations, adding a layer of realism previously unattainable. Whether it’s the tension of pulling an arrow back in a bow or feeling the recoil of a gun, each interaction has depth and dimension, significantly enhancing the overall gaming experience.

The PS VR2 also boasts eye-tracking technology, a game-changer in how players interact with the virtual environment. This feature not only makes the VR experience more intuitive but also enables more natural control within games, as the system responds to where you are looking rather than where you are pointing a controller.

Furthermore, the integration with the PlayStation 5 console offers unparalleled convenience. The PS VR2 is designed to work seamlessly with the PS5, providing users with a high-quality, consistent gaming experience without the need for additional hardware or complex setup procedures.

In conclusion, the PS VR2 isn’t just a step forward for VR gaming; it’s a giant leap. From its immersive visual and sensory experiences to its seamless integration with the PS5, the PS VR2 represents the cutting edge of VR technology, offering users an unmatched virtual reality experience.

Learn more about the PS VR2 from this article on the blog.

2. Meta Quest 3

The Meta Quest 3 stands as a paragon in the evolution of virtual reality, pushing the boundaries of immersive experience, making it an exceptional VR console for a multitude of reasons. One of the most striking features of the Meta Quest 3 is its cutting-edge hardware. It offers a high-resolution display coupled with an increased refresh rate, significantly reducing motion blur and latency. This translates into crystal clear visuals and fluid movements within the virtual space, providing users with an experience so seamless that it feels strikingly real.

Beyond just visual prowess, the Meta Quest 3 introduces advanced hand-tracking technology. This feature marks a revolutionary shift from traditional controller-based interactions, offering users the freedom to interact with the virtual environment using their hands. This natural form of interaction doesn’t just enhance ease of use but also deepens the level of immersion, as users can manipulate virtual objects and navigate menus intuitively, just as they would in the real world.

Another standout feature is the device’s standalone capability. Unlike other VR systems that require external hardware or a wired connection to a PC or console, the Meta Quest 3 is a self-contained unit. This eliminates the hassle of wires, giving users the freedom to explore virtual spaces without constraint. Additionally, the device’s portability means that users can take their VR experience wherever they go, making high-quality virtual reality experiences more accessible than ever.

Furthermore, the Meta Quest 3 doesn’t just excel in gaming; it’s a versatile platform that supports a wide range of applications, including social, educational, and professional uses. This adaptability is bolstered by an expansive library of content and the support of a growing community of developers.

In essence, the Meta Quest 3 is more than just a VR console; it’s a gateway to a vast world of experiences. Its advanced technology, combined with its ease of use and versatility, positions it as an extraordinary tool for both entertainment and practical applications, redefining what we can expect from virtual reality.

Learn more about the Meta Quest 3 from this article on the Best Buy blog.

VR on the horizon: Apple’s exciting entry into virtual reality

The Apple Vision Pro was announced recently and it promises to introduce some groundbreaking technology to the world of VR. It will not arrive in Canada until late 2024 or 2025, and the price is expected to be several times that of the priciest VR on the market today.

What can I see or play using VR?

VR headsets open up a world of possibilities, offering a wide range of applications and experiences. Here are some of the exciting things you can do with a VR headset:

1. Gaming in a New Dimension

VR gaming takes immersion to a whole new level. With a VR headset, you can step into virtual worlds and become part of the game. Feel the adrenaline rush as you battle monsters, explore mysterious dungeons, or engage in intense space dogfights.

2. Travel Without Leaving Home

Experience the wonders of the world from the comfort of your living room. VR travel apps allow you to visit famous landmarks, explore exotic destinations, and even take a virtual tour of your dream vacation spot.

3. Immersive Education

VR can be a powerful tool for education. Imagine learning history by walking through ancient civilizations, dissecting a virtual frog in biology class, or exploring the solar system up close. VR makes learning engaging and memorable.

4. Socializing in VR

Connect with friends and family in virtual reality. Social VR platforms enable you to create avatars and interact with others in virtual environments, playing games, watching movies, or simply chatting.

5. Fitness and Exercise

Get fit while having fun. VR fitness apps offer a dynamic and entertaining way to stay active, whether you’re dancing, boxing, or doing yoga in virtual environments.

How does VR work?

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To bring all this to life, VR headsets have lenses that magnify and focus on the content, making it possible to wear one and see clearly without prescription glasses. The lenses reshape the image for each eye to create a stereoscopic 3D image that aims to mimic how human eyes actually see the world around them. The resolution is halved, so that it is equal for each eye. This is why when you look at VR content without the headset, it looks like two mirrored images next to each other.

It generally works this way, regardless of whether the content is coming from a computer connected to the headset, or if it is playing off a smartphone that is placed right in front of the lenses. In both cases, the actual display is not 360-degrees, but closer to 100-degrees—something you won’t really think about because looking all around feels like a full 360 experience.

This works with head tracking, where sensors and other components inside help reduce latency to milliseconds, so that there is no lag between head movement and what appears on screen. Look to the left, right, up, down, or anywhere, and it should feel like everything is as smooth as it is under normal circumstances.

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Then there’s motion tracking, which the newest VR headsets are capable of supporting. This is where your hands come in, meaning that the controllers that come with those headsets can be tracked, so that however you move them or whatever you do with them translates in real-time to an action in the VR space. Press the trigger, and you can be shooting a weapon. Pull back with one hand and outstretch the other, and you could fire a bow and arrow. Wave your arm, and you might scare away some fish. Do a throwing motion to toss a ball or some other object.

Is VR safe to use, or am I asking for trouble?

While VR is an incredible technology, it’s essential to use it responsibly. Prolonged VR use can lead to motion sickness in some individuals, so it’s advisable to take breaks and gradually build up your VR tolerance. Additionally, be cautious of your physical surroundings to avoid accidents while immersed in VR. Here are ten safety tips:

1. Choose the Right Play Area

When setting up your VR space, select a location with enough room to move around safely. Ensure there are no obstacles, furniture, or sharp objects in your play area that you might accidentally bump into while immersed in VR. Clear the space to create a safe environment for your virtual adventures.

2. Set Boundaries with Guardian Systems

Most modern VR systems come equipped with guardian systems that help you define a safe play area. Take advantage of these features to create virtual boundaries that alert you when you’re nearing the edge of your play space. This prevents you from accidentally wandering into dangerous areas.

3. Avoid Sweating on Your Equipment

Extended VR sessions can be physically demanding, leading to sweat buildup on your headset and controllers. To prevent damage and maintain hygiene, consider using VR-friendly accessories like sweatbands or silicone covers for your equipment. Regularly wipe down your headset and controllers to keep them clean and functioning correctly.

4. Take Breaks and Stay Hydrated

Spending extended periods in VR can lead to discomfort and fatigue. Remember to take regular breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your muscles. Staying hydrated is essential, as VR can be physically demanding, causing you to sweat more than you realize.

5. Protect Your Eyes

VR headsets are designed to be comfortable, but it’s crucial to ensure the headset is correctly adjusted for your eyes to avoid eye strain and discomfort. If you experience discomfort or eye strain, take a break and adjust your headset to alleviate the issue.

6. Prevent Motion Sickness

Motion sickness is a common concern in VR, especially during fast-paced or immersive experiences. To reduce the risk of motion sickness, start with less intense VR experiences and gradually build up your tolerance. If you feel nauseous or dizzy, take a break immediately.

7. Use Wrist Straps for Controllers

During active VR experiences, it’s easy for controllers to slip from your grip. To prevent accidental damage to your equipment or injury to yourself or others, always use the provided wrist straps or safety straps for your controllers. This ensures they remain securely attached to your wrist.

8. Supervise Children and New Users

If children or individuals new to VR are using the equipment, it’s essential to provide supervision and guidance. Ensure they understand the safety guidelines and how to use the VR system correctly to prevent accidents.

9. Keep Cables Tidy

For tethered VR systems, such as those connected to a PC or console, ensure that the cables are neatly organized and out of the way. Tripping over cables can lead to accidents and equipment damage. Consider using cable management solutions to keep your VR setup tidy.

10. Know Your Physical Limits

VR can be physically demanding, especially when playing active games. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard. If you start feeling fatigued, dizzy, or unwell, it’s time to take a break and recharge.

By following these VR safety tips, you can enjoy the immersive world of virtual reality while minimizing the risk of injuries and discomfort. Prioritizing safety ensures that your VR experiences remain fun, enjoyable, and worry-free.

VR is the real deal, and it has plenty of room to grow. Virtual Reality has transitioned from a sci-fi dream to an accessible and versatile technology with applications ranging from gaming to education and beyond.


Discover VR at Best Buy

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As we look ahead to 2024, we can expect further innovations, expanded use cases, and an even more immersive VR experience. So, whether you’re a seasoned VR enthusiast or a newcomer to this exciting world, there’s never been a better time to explore the possibilities of virtual reality. The exciting new VR technologies that were announced this year make this a great time to explore VR for fun, fitness, and fantastic new adventures.

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Read more great articles about VR to help you decide which one is right for you.


This article was drafted using AI technology and then reviewed, fact-checked, and revised by a member of our editorial team.

Best Buy is exploring ways to use AI technology to help us craft engaging content for our customers and fellow tech enthusiasts. It is important to us that we provide you with articles that are timely, accurate, and helpful, which is why our amazing team of writers and editors review, fact-check, and revise any AI-generated content before we post it on our blog. Learn more about our Policy on the Use of Generative AI Content.

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