I want to buy a great VR gaming solution
September 14, 2019 11:57 PM   Subscribe

I’m going to be holed up in a hotel room close to a cancer center for several months undergoing recuperation after a bone marrow transplant in Oct-Dec of this year. (Quick PSA: I’m healthy, ready and have a great chance of recovery and cure.) I’m really intrigued with VR gaming and I’m trying to figure out what to buy to stay occupied while healing up.

Im a Mac guy that currently owns a late 2017 MBP that does some gaming via Steam and Zwift. I’d be happy to continue using my Mac and have briefly looked into buying an external GPU. I could run and HTC VR display or possibly the Occulus? On the other hand, Steam has their unit and there’s the new $400 Occulus that is computer and wires free. I’m interested in quest style games, pov driving games and maybe shooting at some zombies. I’ve had a tough time parsing which system has the best games and bang for your buck. I would like to use my Mac if possible for more processor/gpu power but I don’t have the cash to build a windows box screamer. Bottom line, my budget is sub $1k.
posted by photoslob to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, Macs are kind of a second-class citizen in the VR world. The HTC Vive supports them (by the way, their latest headset is coming out in early October) but you may find that a lot of cool VR games don't have a Mac version.

The Oculus Quest is an awesome piece of hardware, but a lot of the best games are on Steam, so you'll miss out on some really good stuff. On the other hand, people keep releasing software for it, so it might catch up.
posted by value of information at 2:06 AM on September 15, 2019

I just bought the Oculus Quest last week, after extensive research about the various systems available. In the end, it was between the Quest and the HTC Vive. What was important to me was the lack of cables to be free roaming, and also that it was self contained and didn't need a computer to link up with.
I think it's fantastic, but I'm not at all a gamer, and even I can see that the lack of game options limits it's value considerably. They are making more games crossover from the library available for the Rift and the Go.
The main reason I didn't go with the Vive was because of the more intensive set up needed for it, and the need for a gaming strength computer (which I don't have). I decided that if I liked the experience with the Quest enough, I would upgrade to the Vive and dedicate a room in my house and just leave it set up.
It sounds like in your situation the laser sensors for the Vive could be left set up in your room. The price difference between VIve and Quest was minimal, I would seriously consider a Vive in your situation both for the more immersive experience and the greater choice of games available.
posted by newpotato at 3:14 AM on September 15, 2019

You can get a PS4 pro and PSVR headset for less than $1k and there are loads of VR games as well as regular 2D games you can play while wearing the VR headset (it just projects them on a "movie screen" in the headset, so you can lie down while playing. Also you can watch movies like this, etc. Another advantage is that you don't have to fuck around with hardware or software. Just plug it in and it works.

And if you hate it, you can likely flip it after a couple months for >50% of purchase price.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:50 AM on September 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Umm, I don't want to rain on your parade and I know shit for shineola about bone marrow transplants, but if it's like other kinds of cancer treatment and comes with nausea, there is a very high chance VR will make you vomit. Sorry.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:05 AM on September 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Are you going to be mobile? Most of the PC-based VR games I've played require you move around, sometimes quite energetically. They also require a fair amount of clear space to move around in, like at least 5 feet by 5 feet (and really, more). That may be awkward in a hotel room.

Like DarlingBri says, many VR games have significant problems with inducing motion sickness. The real problem comes when you see your virtual character walking around in an environment but you yourself are not physically walking. Many VR games are designed to cope with this, but very few work well if you're not physically moving. Ie, sitting in a chair / bed with goggles strapped to your head doesn't really work.

All the discouragement aside... I got good mileage out of a gaming laptop (2018 Razer Blade) and an Oculus Rift. The GPU in that laptop is enough to power the headset, although it's hot and noisy. If I were buying a system today it'd probably be an Oculus Quest, just because the cable-free setup is such a huge advantage. I'm not sure if those require a very good WiFi network to work.
posted by Nelson at 9:11 AM on September 15, 2019

I have a Rift S plugged into my gaming PC. I've heard of enough troubles with incompatible laptops, usb cards, ports, power issues, etc. that I'd be highly skeptical of it working out of the box with your mac, or even an external GPU. (even on high end gaming laptops, some users discover that their video out isn't hooked directly to the graphics card, and VR fails.)

Anything with sensors should probably be a no go. The inside out tracking (cameras on the headset) is pretty awesome and reduces set up friction immensely.

I think an Oculus Quest in your situation might be just the thing. Set up is minimal, mobility is high. Yes the processing is limited, but more and more stuff is becoming cross-compatible. (Beat Saber users can load custom songs for example.)
posted by Wulfhere at 9:31 AM on September 15, 2019

I decided on the Occulus Quest and figure if I lose interest I’ll just stick it on eBay in 3 months. I’m also a tiny bit worried about nausea but I’ll be in the post hollow your bones out phase I think so fingers crossed.
posted by photoslob at 8:10 PM on September 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Yeah, the Quest is absolutely what you want. Good luck. It's great.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:39 AM on September 16, 2019

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