Oculus and HTC Will Battle it Out in the Real World, for the Virtual One
Where are we headed after 2016? Well, I think we're going to see both Oculus and HTC refresh their VR headsets rather quickly. I would dare say that Oculus will go down the route of pushing into the mainstream market with the Rift, at the cost of the enthusiasts. Now that Facebook owns Oculus, they'll want to see as many Rift headsets sold as possible.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think Oculus will see that HTC is really biting into their market, and they'll be forced to put a fork in the road. Why can't Oculus offer a $300-$400 version of the Rift, alongside a more 'Pro' version of the Rift in something like the 'Rift 4K' or 'Rift Pro' that has a higher resolution display inside, better features, and the Oculus Touch controllers bundled in the package?
HTC, on the other hand, knows it's going to be harder for consumers to buy into the Vive experience due to its cost. But, the HTC Vive is a more premium VR experience thanks to the SteamVR controllers that come bundled with the Vive. This alone is going to be the big difference between the Rift and the Vive: controllers. I think Oculus will have more third-party support, but that doesn't always bode well, especially when it comes to VR controllers - something that's never been done in the third-party world before.
Every year, I think I'm more excited for the next, but after being pumped full of information this year at various trade shows and events like NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference and AMD's RTG Technology Summit, I think 2016 is going to be an incredible year for display technology. Not only do we have huge advances with VR and AR headsets, but traditional displays are going to see massive changes.
DisplayPort 1.3 is going to usher in refresh rates on monitors that are simply impossible right now, especially 4K @ 120Hz, and 3440x1440 @ 195Hz. These refresh rates are just incredible, and when you mix in NVIDIA's G-Sync and AMD's FreeSync technologies, it'll make your head spin.
Most of the display side of things will kick start in the second half of 2016, which will give VR headsets a little breathing room. I think it's going to be the first time in history where people will actually want to buy a VR headset, and possibly not upgrade their LCD - and vice versa - people will skip VR, to upgrade their LCD to something like a 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Whatever you do, be careful of your display purchases in the next 3-6 months. VR headsets are going to be launching in the coming months, and after that, we're going to see an explosion of next-gen GPUs and completely next-gen displays. The future is so incredibly exciting; it's like Christmas morning every day of the week.
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