back to article Turns out China loves VR. Wires and powerful hardware, less so.

New research shows that China leads the world in buying standalone virtual reality (VR) headsets, with people who live there shunning traditional tethered devices for the likes of the HTC Vive Focus. After a period of impressive growth, worldwide shipments of tethered VR headsets (such as the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR or HTC …

  1. ArrZarr

    I haven't seen ready player one, but I'm fairly certain that current tech won't be capable of matching any VR experience shown by Hollywood with full tethered VR, let alone standalone headsets.

    I wish it were possible, but I honestly don't think it is.

  2. James 51

    The Gear VR is nice for watching netflix but my S6 overheats quickly when playing games. It still feels too anti-social for me to be comfortabling using it a lot at home.

  3. DropBear

    Hardly surprising that the "tethered" headsets (I don't think the tether plays any role btw) which are a) obscenely expensive for the non-essential device they are, b) require even more obscenely expensive hardware to support them appropriately, c) are either owned by the poxy bastards from Facebook and d) are largely tied into the poxy shit peddled by Steam or e) require a game console to use that many people don't already have are not quite flying off the shelves.

    Meanwhile cheap-and-cheerful lenses-in-a-box can show you anything you can install on your Android phone (including streaming semi-fake* 3D directly from you PC wirelessly) where those interested can later seamlessly transition to an (also Android running, natch) "standalone" headset if they feel it offers anything extra (or just want the use of their phone back...). Sherlock icon for "no shit".

    * it is semi-fake** because it's usually two copies of the same 2D image individually re-shaded (based on access to the game's z-buffer) into appropriately squished and stretched simulacra of what you're supposed to see - needless to say, neither eye actually gets any extra information normally present in actual true 3D related to one eye seeing things occluded by an obstacle for the other eye. All this applies only to stuff on your PC that doesn't natively support side-by-side 3D of course - anything that does (including pretty much everything on Android) lets you see proper 3D even on your Cardboard-equivalent. Yeah, the field of vision can't compare to an Oculus - who cares? The lenses-in-a-box are like $10...!

    ** there's a "full" fake version where the streaming software just duplicates the exact same image for both your eyes (usually if re-shading fails) - it has zero 3D but it's still interactive VR, as in you move your head and the image reacts accordingly because it's still streaming your phone's gyro data back to your PC as mouse movements...

  4. Haku

    My current experience of VR is:

    Friend: "I've got a new VR game!"

    Me: "Is it another shoot em up?"

    Beat Saber was fun though, but gets repetitive quickly, I lean towards open world games.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Untethered is good.

    AR goggles (displaying VR overlaid on one's surroundings) would be even better. Hitting real objects is a major problem with VR.

    Potentially, the best thing about VR isn't immersive 3D, it's hands-on interaction.

    Not exactly a must-have, however.

  6. Tikimon

    Is anyone besides Western tech companies suprised?

    Ask the MARKET for VR displays and we all demand standalone, light, comfortable products. Only the tech industry - in their La-La-Land separate from our reality - believes that a block of concrete on your head, anchored to one spot by a cable and expensive computer is a good product!

    I use the 3D capabilities of my phone constantly but not for VR. I take 3D panoramas and stills of landscapes, sculpture, anything with an interesting shape. We're used to 2D pictures, but they're terrible at capturing an impressive scene. We are primarily visual animals, so viewing something in 3D takes you 90% of the way to Being There. Try it, you'll be surprised at the impact you get from such a simple (and free!) trick.

    1. ArrZarr

      Re: Is anyone besides Western tech companies suprised?

      Ask the market and you'll get a product that is only possible in cloud cuckoo land, like a standalone, light VR headset. The sheer horsepower required for a good VR experience means that the cooler for the graphics card alone weights more than the pixie-dust powered magic that you seem to be expecting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is anyone besides Western tech companies suprised?

        It's not pixie dust. Simplify, optimize, use appropriate hardware. Even cheap phones can do adequate 3D without breaking a sweat. The reason AR/VR phone apps are battery hogs is their use of machine vision for lack of efficient and precise position tracking sensors. Surely VR headsets can do better... with games & apps designed for them. No, you can't expect Skyrim-level graphics.

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