4 Reasons To Buy A VR Headset Today (And Which Are Best)

Virtual reality (VR) technology has advanced tremendously in recent years, making high fidelity and immersive VR experiences more accessible than ever before. With sophisticated VR headsets now available at consumer price points, there has never been a better time for people to enjoy virtual worlds from the comfort of home.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore four compelling reasons you should consider buying a VR headset in 2023. We will also provide expert product recommendations on the best VR headsets currently available along with a step-by-step methodology for choosing the right device to meet your needs and budget.

The VR Landscape Continues To Mature

Once considered a niche technology platform, VR has gained significant mainstream traction over the past decade. According to analytics firm IDC, nearly 13 million VR headsets were shipped globally in 2021 – an increase of 92.1% from the previous year [1].

The continuous evolution of VR hardware, software ecosystems, and content libraries suggests the coming years will usher even greater mass adoption. As major platform holders like Meta and Sony make further investments, more AAA studios are committing resources to develop groundbreaking VR-exclusive experiences as well.

The stars are aligning for VR to deliver on years of unfulfilled promises. The ongoing maturation of the technology signals that now finally is the time to dive in.

1. Unique and Immersive Gaming

For many consumers, gaming remains the most compelling reason to purchase a VR headset. The ability to be transported into intricate worlds, embody fictional characters, and play co-operatively with friends provides gaming experiences simply not replicable on traditional platforms.

Titles like Beat Saber, Resident Evil 4 VR, and Half-Life: Alyx showcase the creative potential of VR gaming and have received widespread critical acclaim. Publishing support continues gaining momentum as well – Ubisoft recently confirmed an Assassin’s Creed VR experience is also in active development [2].

With the promise of stunning new gaming frontiers ahead, VR enables types of fun you won‘t find anywhere else.

2. Big Screen Entertainment

Beyond gaming, one of the most popular VR use cases involves media consumption. Nothing beats the sheer scale and immersion of watching movies, TV shows, and concert streams in a massive virtual theater.

Whether binging Stranger Things on Netflix or screening 3D Blu-Rays through Bigscreen, headsets effectively function as personal theaters unrestricted by physical space limitations. Streaming platforms are bolstering their VR apps to better support these shared viewing experiences too.

For film buffs and home theater enthusiasts unsatisfied with their current setup, VR delivers first-class entertainment that feels larger than life.

3. Social Connection

Contrary to stereotypes of VR users retreating from society wearing bulky headsets, many platforms facilitate meaningful social interaction. Apps like VRChat and Rec Room attract millions of monthly users who congregate to explore fantastical settings together.

No matter your interests, it’s easy to find like-minded groups thanks to strong community development. The sense of embodied presence creates bonds exceeding those formed in conventional online games. From hosting virtual parties to collaboratively building immersive spaces, social VR provides valuable ways of connecting.

As the technology improves further, these shared virtual experiences will only become more commonplace.

4. Transforming Education

Educators have also recognized VR as an impactful tool for delivering enhanced lessons and facilitating new styles of learning. Tech-savvy institutions are incorporating VR across curriculums spanning healthcare, engineering, history, and more.

For example, medical students can perform simulated surgery repetitions to develop muscle memory before operating on real patients. Aeronautical engineering programs might have pupils assemble airplane components in a physics-accurate virtual hangar. And history classes may let students walk critical battlefields or landmarks in recreated 3D environments.

As content libraries grow more robust, forward-thinking students and teachers will continue embracing VR as a vital educational asset.

With those four compelling reasons in mind, let’s explore everything you should consider when selecting a VR headset to fit your needs and budget. Follow this step-by-step methodology:

Step 1: Set Your Budget

The first decision involves setting a comfortable spending range. Entry-level all-in-one (AIO) options start around $300 while premium PC-powered setups can exceed $1,000. Assess what you’re willing to invest upfront along with any supplementary costs – some choices require purchasing a capable gaming PC or new console too.

We recommend first-time buyers start under $500 unless VR will be your primary gaming platform. The technology still changes rapidly – save premium purchases for later down the road.

Step 2: Determine Required Platform(s)

Next, decide which platforms interest you most since headsets normally only support specific ecosystems. Here are the main categories:

  • Standalone – All-in-one, standalone VR headsets don’t require external devices. The technology is fully self-contained. Most affordable headsets fall into this camp.
  • PC VR – These headsets must connect to a powerful gaming PC meeting strict technical requirements. While performance is better, the entry cost is higher.
  • Console VR – Currently limited exclusively to PlayStation VR headsets running on a PS4 or PS5. Great for accessibility but features more locked hardware.

Ideally, select a headset working across multiple platforms for maximum flexibility. But optimize primarily for your most-used devices.

Step 3: Prioritize Needed Features

Additionally, headsets and controllers come equipped with varying capabilities. Consider which features matter most:

  • Tracking – Does the headset offer 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracking for both head and handsets? This enables natural movement translation.
  • Display – Look for at least 90Hz refresh rates at a resolution meeting or exceeding 1440p per eye. Higher density OLED panels provide best-in-class clarity.
  • Audio – Integrated headphones with spatial audio support greatly boost immersion compared to speakers.
  • Comfort – The headset should be lightweight and adjustable enough to fit snugly for extended durations.

Don’t settle for less during your evaluation process – technology gaps drastically impact experiences.

Step 4: Try Before You Buy

When physically possible, always test VR hardware firsthand before purchasing. While virtual reality continues maturing rapidly, headsets still vary wildly regarding overall quality and capabilities.

Visit local electronics stores to demo working models. If unavailable locally, check if popular online retailers like Amazon allow returns until properly assessed at home. Don‘t order blindly; inferior optics or poor ergonomics manifest as literal headaches.

Ideally, you want the VR interface itself to "disappear" rather than constantly remind you hardware sits mere inches from eyes.

Step 5: Assess Software Library Support

Finally, investigate headset software support. While some VR platforms maintain backwards compatibility across generations, newer headsets often lose access to legacy content.

Factor in these considerations during decision making:

  • Does the platform natively support popular engines like Unity and Unreal?
  • How often do major publishers release titles for said ecosystem?
  • Does the headset manufacturer directly invest in first-party software development?

Greater developer adoption indicates a healthier, sustainable platform – key for long-term satisfaction.

If following the above advice still leaves too many options, don’t worry! Below we compiled recommendations across platforms and price segments to fit common needs.

HTC Vive XR Elite – Best Dual Function

The HTC Vive XR Elite offers tremendous flexibility for both standalone and PC VR use. Flaunting high-resolution displays, integrated cameras, and swappable batteries, it provides premium specs without costing over $1,000.

Vive‘s software catalog may lack Oculus‘ sheer breadth. But SteamVR integration grants access to many amazing games and apps nonetheless. For those wanting a future-proof jack-of-all-trades headset, the Vive XR Elite hits the sweet spot.

HTC Vive XR Elite
  • All-in-one standalone functionality
  • PC VR mode via USB-C
  • High resolution 1920 x 1920 pixel per eye OLED displays
  • Ultra-wide 110° field of view
  • Headset & controller tracking cameras

PlayStation VR2 – Best Console VR

PlayStation arguably spearheaded mainstream VR adoption with its PSVR headset for PS4. Now with PSVR 2, Sony cements its market leadership through cutting-edge specs and gorgeous visuals.

Boasting a 110° field of view, 4000 x 2040 combined 4K HDR resolution, integrated haptic feedback, eye tracking, and acclaimed PS5 exclusives, the PSVR 2 sits atop console VR‘s throne. Its €600 price tag limits addressable audiences yet provides outstanding quality for the cost.

If you own a PS5, no other headset leverages the hardware as effectively while retaining the PlayStation content ecosystem. From Gran Turismo 7 to Horizon Call of the Mountain, PSVR 2 is built by and for loyal Sony fans.

PlayStation VR2
  • Cutting edge next-generation specifications
  • Integrated headset haptics & responsive triggers
  • Stunning 4000 X 2040 resolution OLED display
  • native 120Hz refresh rate
    Exclusives like Horizon: Call of The Mountain

Meta Quest 2 – Best Value

Despite steep competition, the Meta Quest 2 remains VR‘s sales leader and our top mainstream recommendation. Praised for its refined ergonomics and intuitive onboarding, the Quest 2 deliverspremium experiences at an affordable $400 entry point.

Vertical integration ensures smooth cross-compatibility between Meta VR hardware and software ecosystems. Whether windsurfing in Surfside or collaboratively strategizing in Among Us VR, the Quest 2 bundles everything needed for all-ages fun.

For those seeking accessible VR without dramatically reconfiguring home setups or budgets, the Meta Quest 2 is hard to beat.

Meta Quest 2
  • Smooth 120Hz 2560×1440 LCD display
  • Integrated speakers & microphone for social VR
  • Comprehensive content catalog via Meta Store
  • Intuitive guardian safety system

While nothing quite matches the immersion of contemporary virtual reality, new types of spatial computing devices continue pushing experiential boundaries. Most notably, augmented reality (AR) integrates layered digital content directly into real-world environments.

Consumer AR hardware remains highly experimental years after Google Glass underwhelmed expectations. However, the enterprise sector shows more tangible progress – HoloLens headsets help Boeing prototype virtual aircraft designs while assisting surgeons mid-operation [3].

As both software and hardware mature further, anticipate augmented reality complementing (not outright disrupting) virtual reality with its own unique capabilities and use cases. But in the meantime, VR provides the more polished and practical solution for typical consumer applications.

Hopefully the comprehensive detail above illuminated key factors guiding your VR headset purchase. To wrap up, let‘s recap answers to a few frequently asked questions for extra clarity:

Is Meta coming out with a new Rift headset?

  • No. Meta discontinued their Rift line to focus efforts exclusively on further enhancing the Quest standalone ecosystem. Future VR headsets carrying Meta branding will operate similarly as successors to Quest 2 rather than dedicated PCVR replacements.

However the company still enables Quest 2 connectivity to gaming PCs via Oculus Link. So Meta understands the importance of maintaining some degree of Rift continuity.

Are there multiplayer VR games?

  • Absolutely! As highlighted earlier, social interaction represents a major motivation for VR adoption. Many apps facilitate meeting up with others across virtual spaces.

Can you connect multiple VR headsets to the same computer?

  • In short, no. Running two concurrent VR applications demands too many system resources. Advanced users may eventually figure out complex workarounds but support is extremely limited. Stick to one headset per PC.

How long can you wear a VR headset safely?

Take regular breaks every 30-60 minutes – prolonged VR usage can negatively impact eyesight or balance. Most headsets grow uncomfortable over extended durations anyway. Moderation is wise while manufacturers continue optimizing ergonomics and hardware safety.

We hope this comprehensive yet easily digestible guide better positioned you to find the perfect VR headset! Let us know if any other questions come up during your research. Virtual reality’s future looks undeniably exciting – with the right setup, you’ll get to experience computing’s cutting edge from the comfort of home. It’s the ideal time to dive in!


[1] https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS49512322

[2] https://www.gameinformer.com/2022/09/10/assassins-creed-vr-title-confirmed-as-in-the-works-by-ubisoft

[3] https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsofts-hololens-2-these-eight-companies-are-already-using-it-to-innovate/

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