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Virtual Reality 101

Published: January 2017

Game developers have always tried to give us immersive playing experiences and interactive worlds, be it sitting behind the wheel of a car or being the hero in a first person shooter. But up until now, the fact is that our perception of reality is never altered. We’ve always simply been a spectator overseeing the events that are happening in that world, like some sort of gaming living room deity, which means that it can never truly be immersive.

Virtual reality however, has the potential to change that.

Virtual reality refers to fully immersive computer-simulated environment that gives the feeling of being inside that environment instead of the one they are actually in.

In order for our brain experience true virtual reality, there are a few key factors that are necessary for a completely immersive experience.

How does VR work?

While there are various ways to experience VR such as through a PlayStation® VR headset, Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift headset or HTC Vive, one of the most popular ways to experience VR is through a headset. Headset devices use stereoscopic displays to make what you see three dimensional, and to give the image depth in a similar way to how our eyes see naturally.

A headset alone, however, does not yet make a fully immersive experience. It is only immersive when we can begin to track a user’s motion, head and eye movements so that when the user turns their head the environment changes too. Taking that one step further, in a true virtual experience, the user should be able to interact with objects in the virtual world as well as move forwards, backwards and turn so that it feels like they are in the environment, rather than simply watching a 3D movie.

When you can see, move in, and interact with a virtual world, then our brains perceive it as real. Welcome to the matrix, Neo…

What do you need to experience Virtual Reality at home?

While this level of fully immersive virtual reality is not readily available yet, there are more and more options becoming available for gamers who want to experience VR at home.

The Samsung Gear VR is a great option for the Android friendly mobile gamer. Hardcore PC gamer’s will want to look at the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset and with new Oculus touch controls due for release soon, PC VR gaming is set to get even better.

One of the best value?

PlayStation® VR (PS VR) at $549.95 (plus console) is one of the best ways for VR virgins to experience immersive virtual reality gaming and experiences. Best of all, it simply connects to your PlayStation® 4 or PlayStation® 4 Pro to bring virtual reality into your living room.

Just some of the things you’ll be able to do in your virtual world with the PlayStation® VR is battle other robots in Rigs, explore the extraordinary alien world of dinosaurs in Robinson – the Journey or our personal favourite, become the Batman in Batman Arkham VR. It allows you to use your TV as a social screen, allowing other non participants to view what you’re seeing OR play games with you.

PlayStation® VR Games and apps are available directly from the PlayStation Store or via Gaming platforms such as Steam. Our Gamer Pro plan ensure that you can download these in no time. With download speeds of up to 100Mbps and ultra-fast unlimited downloads its the perfect data pack for the serious gamer.

What’s more, we’re even throwing in a $200 discount code off a PlayStation® 4 Pro or PlayStation® VR until September 30 2017.