If you’re a PC gamer, you’ve had your sights set on virtual reality gaming for a while. And if you’re anything like the Redditors who tuned in to Palmer Luckey’s AMA on /pcmasterrace last weekend, you have a lot of questions about it.
The Oculus Rift KickStarter project debuted in 2003 but we finally have a clear understanding of the PC we’ll need to use it. And although it’s going to me more expensive (and powerful) than we imagined, we now have the answers.
Here’s what you need to know about virtual reality gaming.
Not everyone will need to upgrade their PC for virtual reality gaming
With high-end specs required to just run the Oculus Rift headset, you may have to invest some money in new PC hardware.
Here are the minimum recommended specs to run the Oculus Rift:
- NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
- Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- 8GB+ RAM
- Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- 2x USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer
These specs are considered to be somewhat on the lower-end of the spectrum of PC gaming. Especially when you consider most new PC games run just fine with much less. But, virtual reality is a different beast and it may be wise to make sure your PC beats the minimum recommended specs.
On average, a $1,000 PC should be enough to use the Oculus Rift. Whether it’ll be enough to play virtual reality games at their full potential is yet to be seen.
Virtual reality gaming is expensive – but it’s worth it
At $600, the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset costs as much as a low-end PC. This will be a turn-off for a lot of people but PC gamers will understand the value. After all, PC gamers spend more money on building a gaming PC for one simple reason: because it’s worth it.
Contrary to console systems which are much cheaper, PC gaming saves money in the long run. And if Palmer Luckey (a console convert himself) is able to have things his way, the Oculus Rift won’t be an exception.
Palmer Luckey imagines a future where every PC is capable of handling virtual reality. And when that happens, it’s safe to assume game developers won’t ignore it.
If you’re the type of gamer who likes to play the newest games, investing in virtual reality is a no-brainer.
There are alternatives to the Oculus Rift – and they’re cheap
Palmer Luckey compares himself and the Oculus Rift with Elon Musk and Tesla.
“If Elon Musk released a $35,000 electric vehicle five years ago, Tesla would have failed. He had to show the world electric vehicles could be cool.”
That’s a bold statement but it makes a lot of sense. The Oculus Rift needs to be expensive because it needs to be good. Not everyone will be able to afford it but that doesn’t mean virtual reality gaming is out of the question.
Oculus has worked closely with Samsung on their Gear VR to guarantee anyone can afford virtual reality gaming. And at $99, many gamer’s first foray into virtual reality will be through their smartphone. Hopefully, by the time these gamers want to buy an Oculus Rift, they’ll be able to buy the “cheap” version.
Are you ready for virtual reality gaming?
I realize a lot of PC gamers consider virtual reality gaming a gimmick. But it’s a gimmick that’s been trying to improve for a long time – remember the Nintendo Virtual Boy?
If PC gaming has taught us anything it’s that it’s always getting better. Virtual reality is just the next progression in a long line of innovations to come. You may not jump on board right away, but you can’t hold off forever.
Or can you?
Is your PC ready for virtual reality gaming? Will you be upgrading your PC to handle virtual reality gaming?