When it comes to buying gifts for the holidays, you're always going to find yourself with more options than you know what to do with. If you're planning on buying any virtual reality stuff for your loved ones this year, then knowing the best options is going to be key to putting a smile on their face when they open up their gift. That's where we come in. To help you make buying holiday gifts even easier, we have put together a list of the best virtual reality gifts to buy your loved ones this holiday season.
Holiday gift guide 2019: VR headsets, games, and peripherals
When it comes to virtual reality, there aren't many good headsets to choose from. When you toss in the extreme price of some of these head-mounted displays, the anxiety involved in finding the perfect gift can often grow even higher. That's why we decided that we should start off with the basics in this guide: VR headsets.
Best VR headsets
Buying the right VR headset all comes down to preference and what you want out of the device. Below you'll find recommendations for the most budget-friendly VR headset a, as well as a breakdown of the more expensive options on the market.
When it comes to the creme de la creme of virtual reality, you'll often find that Valve's headset, the Valve Index is one of the more highly rated available. As one of the newest HMDs on the market, it included quite a lot for VR lovers to look forward to. Unfortunately, all of that sweet VR tech comes at a steep price of $999.99 depending on which package you decide to pick up. As such, it's really only recommended to grab this HMD if you just like having one of the shiniest pieces of tech available. Otherwise, there are plenty of other, cheaper options that still offer a great VR experience.
HTC Vive (any model)
If you like the look of the Index but aren't quite willing to dish out quite a large sum of cash, then HTC has a few great options to choose from. Originally developed alongside Valve, the HTC Vice offers a great VR experience packed with tons of useful accessories you can pick up to make the VR experience even better. What's more, it was the first VR headset to offer true room-scale VR experiences, which means it has a good grasp of how it's done. You can pick up different versions of the Vive starting at $399, so head over to their website to take a look at all the options. You can choose from options like the regular HTC Vive, the HTC Vive Pro, or the HTC Vive Cosmos.
Oculus VR headsets
As one of the leading VR developers, and really the pioneering company of modern VR, Oculus VR has seen quite a storied history over the past several years. Starting out under Palmer Luckey and others, the company was later picked up by Facebook and has continued to try to push the limits of what is possible in virtual reality. It's been a fun journey to watch, and Oculus still continues to offer a ton of great products, including the originally Oculus Rift headset for $399, and even a more improved version known as the Oculus Rift S.
Perhaps the most innovative of the Oculus line-up, though, is the Oculus Quest. As a completely standalone device, the Oculus Quest helps bring true wireless VR to the forefront. What's more, is Oculus has even created an update that will allow the headset to track your hands, removing the need for outside controllers. Furthermore, an accessory that the company revealed earlier in the year allows the headset to connect to your PC, removing the need to purchase one of the more expensive headsets to enjoy traditional VR experiences. If you're looking for something that is going to offer a ton of potential, but won't break the bank, then Oculus is a great place to start.
While often regarded as the black sheep of the VR world, PlayStation VR, or PSVR for short, is by far one of the most affordable options, especially if you already have a PlayStation 4. On top of that, some neat little exclusives like Moss and even Tetris Effect are great on the PSVR and really show off just how much this cheaper VR option can pull off. You can usually pick up a PSVR unit for around $299, though you might find some decent deals around thanks to the holidays.
Of course, for something that is so designed to immerse you in the virtual world, a VR headset is only the first step. An assortment of accessories will allow you to take the movement even further, helping to create truly in-depth and immersive experiences.
Released by HTC as a standalone accessory the Vive Tracker allows you to connect different items with tracking pieces that are then picked up by the headset's motion tracking system. This allows you to replace the standard Vive controllers with more immersive objects, which can help heighten the sense of connectivity that you have with the VR experience. These are available on the HTC website, though they often sell out quite quickly.
Wireless Adapter for Vive
Another great gadget for the HTC Vive is the Vive Wireless accessory. Available for a hefty price of almost $300, the wireless accessory allows you to remove the bulky cables that the Vive typically sports for a more immersive Battery-powered connector that hooks onto your clothes. There are still a series of wires that run from the headset to the connector, but overall it does raise the immersion level as you won't have to worry about tripping over those heavy cables anymore. Each style of the Vive includes its own special adapter set, so make sure you buy the accessory that works with your headset.
Oculus Link Headset Cable
While not readily available just yet, the Oculus Link Headset Cable will allow you to take your Oculus Quest and plug it directly into a VR ready computer. This allows you to unlock the option to use more of the VR experiences available on the PC, instead of simply being limited to those items already ported over to Quest. It’s, quite frankly, a bit of a game-changer for the Oculus headsets, and definitely something to keep an eye out for. It should launch before the end of 2019 (at least that's what Oculus previously said) for around $80.
While the headsets and accessories we covered so far are great, the real depth of VR comes in the available experiences. While we have yet to really see a hardware selling VR experience, there is a ton of great content out there. We've put together a short list of some of our favorites, which include titles that we believe show off the true power and immersive depth of virtual reality.
- Beat Saber
- Pistol Whip
- Superhot VR
- Vader Immortal (Oculus Quest)
- Tetris Effect (PSVR only)
- Lone Echo (Oculus Rift only)
Of course, this is only scratching the service of some of the best VR games that are out there. Really, we’d just suggest grabbing your loved one a gift card of some kind and letting them pick out the games that they want themselves.
No matter how you paint it, though, buying for the VR lover in your life is going to be all about figuring out what kind of VR experiences they are looking for. Ask questions, talk to them, and try your best to inquire about it without spoiling the surprise. If they’ve been looking forward to VR for a while now, then chances are they’ve already revealed exactly what they are looking for.
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Josh Hawkins posted a new article, Holiday gift guide 2019: VR headsets, games, and peripherals
I'm going to chime in and give a vote for the Samsung Odyssey + headset. Internal tracking which some may say its iffy, I have yet to have a problem in Skyrim VR, Beat Saber, or Arizona Sunshine. And its one of the better cheaper options, found commonly for $299 USD but has been seen lower, even $229 USD. Its a Windows Mixed Reality Headset so will be fully compatible with Alyx when that releases.
No mention of wmr at all?
Agree Milleh, kinda weird.
Yea, struck me really odd to not even mention it. WMR has a wide spectrum (but nice compatibility) so it would be good to have some guidance on which headsets to go to.
The regular Vive is out of stock and discontinued.