The next big thing in VR is, of course, the launch of the new Oculus Quest next spring. The stand-alone VR headset is one of the most-anticipated VR launches we’ve seen so far…but it isn’t the only one.
Their biggest competitor is HTC at the moment – their very own VIVE Focus is in the middle of being pushed into new markets, including the US and Europe. Between these two, it’s easy to lose track of other competitors on the market. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any interesting ones out there.
Getting a closer look
The very recently announced VIVE Wave-based 6DoF headset ‘Shadow VR’ created by Shadow Creator comes with self-developed 6DoF controllers and is – like the VIVE Focus – outfitted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835. It features a 110-degree field of view, uses Fresnel optics and features a 2560 x 1440 resolution. That makes it ever so slightly lower than the VIVE Focus: It manages 2880 x 1600.
The 6DoF element of both the headset and the controllers makes the whole thing pretty cutting edge, despite the slightly low resolution – the so-called six degrees of freedom technology signals that the device offers freedom of movement in a three-dimensional area. In other words, rather than being able just to move a controller up or down, forwards and backwards are options as well, allowing a user to ‘walk’ around while wearing the headset… so long as they don’t lose track of where their walls are!
How does that work?
Stereoscopic front cameras allow for the same inside-out tracking mode the Focus features, though precisely what software it will feature isn’t yet known. In the case of the Focus, it allows users to switch to that mode and thus see ‘through’ the device, meaning they can safely walk around without having to worry about walking into things or taking the headset off for small tasks. The new device has been kept incredibly hush-hush. With an announced release date of November 11th, it’s not exactly a long wait for it.
The new device will cost $399 – another aspect in which it matches the VIVE Focus. Of course, it’s worth noting that the Shadow VR is far from the only competitor of the VIVE Focus – Pico’s Neo and G2 from earlier this year are also Vive Wave-based headsets.
Unlike the Shadow VR which is targeted at gamers and casual users, those two are primarily intended for business users. All in all, there are 15 hardware partners that are supporting HTC’s VR-platform.
That makes it pretty likely that there will be plenty new headset announcements in the near future – a little more competition may well do the VR market good, given how it has been dominated by the Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE since practically the beginning of commercial VR.
With new games being developed continuously for both platforms, Steam’s VR section alone has been growing steadily – as have the many, varied uses for VR for non-entertainment purposes.
Photo credit: All images used have been provided to us by Shadow Creator Information Technology Co.
Mel is a UK-based journalist that has been writing about tech, science and video games for a few years now. After studying in Vienna, Austria she followed her dreams and moved to London. Said dreams took her through a few different jobs before she settled on what she really wanted to do – write about the exciting world of technology and the delightfully strange things it sometimes produces.