Over the past few years it’s been full speed ahead for the virtual reality hype train.
Since Oculus announced its Rift headset, and was later acquired by Facebook, a number of other players have joined the bandwagon, with devices including the HTC Vive, Sony’s PlayStation VR, Samsung’s Gear VR and even Microsoft’s HoloLens to name a few.
Google Cardboard came along, essentially turning the smartphone into a portable VR device, creating a more affordable solution.
Cardboard spawned a number of other similar budget VR units, but these merely showcase the tech in its simplest form.
When virtual reality truly lands – and it will arrive soon – it’s going to need powerful PCs to run it. Last summer, Oculus announced the recommended PC specs for its Rift headset. It’s going to need an NVIDIA GTX 970/ AMD 290 equivalent or greater, an Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater, 8GB+ RAM, a compatible HDMI 1.3 video output, two USB 3.0 ports and Windows 7 SP1 or newer.
The 970 only launched just over a year ago; the one in my gaming PC at home still feels brand new and is able to run most new games in max settings. The fact the Rift VR headset lists it as a recommendation says a lot about the power it requires.
This presents a tremendous opportunity for PC dealers, independent retailers and system builders. The likes of Amazon, Ebuyer, PC World and Tesco might sell tons of computer accessories and tech gear each month, but they don’t focus on custom-built PCs built for VR. They don’t have the deep PC gaming expertise and knowledge that some indie retailers have. Bear in mind many major retailers are starting to sell higher-end systems, but these are usually in conjunction with a big vendor or system builder.
Of course, it’s not guaranteed whether virtual reality will reach a mainstream audience yet, but in my opinion there’s no reason why it won’t. Since the arrival of the smartphone and tablet, I think we’re due another big tech revolution. And I think your average Joe is going to absolutely love VR – so make sure your business is ready for him.