VR has really stepped up to the plate in 2020. Not only do we have a wealth of technology that makes the platform more viable and less queasy than ever, but we also arguably finally have a treasure trove of games to really make it a fantastic time to be a player in the VR gaming space. With that in mind, we put together a healthy list of VR gaming headsets, accessories, and, of course, games to make your VR playroom the best it can be in this holiday season.
VR Gaming Holiday Gift Guide 2020
Whether you’re looking for an all-new headset, a few accessories for your existing piece, or some games to bring it altogether, below you should find everything you need, the pricing, and where you can buy them this holiday season.
VR gaming headsets themselves are arguably more versatile than they’ve ever been. The big names have put out some truly incredible products that stand the test of time, and 2020 even featured its own new and exciting releases. Check out the headsets you ought to keep an eye on below.
Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 is the star attraction of 2020 in terms of accessibility, versatility, and price range. With the Quest 2, a very good entry-level headset is finally in reach. Our review of the Quest 2 spoke highly of how cool it is to finally be able to make any room into a VR playground with no sensors necessary to place beforehand. The strap is lame, but there are options to upgrade it. Ultimately, you get a pretty good VR gaming ecosystem through the lenses of a 1832×1920px per-eye display and a passable 72Hz refresh rate with 90Hz being implemented in updates. After that, it’s just stomaching the fact that you have to have a Facebook account to access any of the Oculus Quest 2’s features. That said, at a $299 starting price, there is no better option for affordable and functional cable-free entry into the VR space.
Samsung HMD Odyssey+
Samsung’s HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality headset is another somewhat more affordable entry to the VR space. Put out back in 2018, the headset doesn’t have the burden of Facebook on it and comes in at a little under $500 on Amazon. For that price, you’ll get a headset with 1440x1600px per eye and features a refresh rate running from 60Hz to 90Hz. It’s not going to outdo the higher line headsets like the HTC Vive, and arguably, the Quest 2 can even beat it in image, but the Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is still a decent headset that will work within your Windows PC ecosystem with little demand or fuss.
HTC Vive Cosmos
Back in 2016 when we reviewed the original HTC Vive, we called it the very best option for VR Gaming of the time. The Vive has had time to grow and develop since then to where it is with the HTC Cosmos. At a $699 starting price, the HTC Vive Cosmos features 1440 x 1700px per eye, 3D audio, and a six-camera tracking system that provides a fully immersive movement and gameplay experience. Put all of these together with a great strap and comfort system, not to mention access to a healthy library of VR games and applications through VIVEPORT, and while the HTC Vive Cosmos may have more competition than its predecessor saw back in 2016, it’s still a top choice for VR gaming.
The Valve Index might be the best of the best when it comes to the top line of VR Gaming HMDs right now. You won’t find a PC-required VR headset with a more comfortable feel, such an impressive array, and better performance. With that in mind, it might not come as a surprise that the Valve Index comes at the steepest price of $999 for the full working setup (though it still needs a good PC), although you can skip the sensors or the controllers for increasing discounts and just get your hands on the headset for cheaper. For that price, you get dual 1440x1600px LCD displays with an 80Hz refresh as the baseline, 120Hz as the standard, and even an experimental 144Hz. The Index has one of the best headstraps in the field with an off-ear audio set-up for supreme comfort. Simply put, it’s hard to say there’s a better HMD in the VR gaming space right now.
Getting the headset and games are just one thing. There are a wealth of accessories out there for one or multiple headsets that make the experience with any of them just that much better. We've got the full list of the ones you'll want to keep an eye out for below.
The Oculus Quest 2 has its own nice ecosystem of games, but if you’re going to run beefier titles (like Half-Life: Alyx), then you’re going to need to check out the Oculus Link Cable. At $79, this device allows you to link the Oculus Quest or Quest 2 up to a VR capable PC and take advantage of both pieces of tech to enjoy more technically demanding VR titles. Likely more demanding VR games will come in the future, but even just for Half-Life: Alyx on the Quest 2, the Oculus Link is a must-have.
Oculus Quest 2 Elite Strap
One of the most shoddy things about the Oculus Quest 2 is its cloth headstrap. The Quest 2 isn’t heavy, but instead of distributing the weight it does have around your head, the stock strap keeps the headset nested on your cheek and brow, which can be uncomfortable. The Quest 2 Elite Strap alleviates this issue pretty much entirely. It’s a proper harness strap that cinches to the back of your head and properly distributes the Quest 2’s weight, making the whole experience supremely more comfy. And for $49, it’s well worth it. Target seems to be keeping this strap pretty well in stock.
Valve Index Controllers
The Valve Index controllers by themselves are just like the Valve Index itself: Some of the best controls in their class. These devices make for incredibly immersive play in all of your VR experiences. Even better, you don’t necessarily have to have a pricey Valve Index to use them. The Valve Index’s controllers work with the HTC Vive Cosmos as well, so if you’re looking to do yourself a little mix and matching between headsets and good controls, the Valve Index controllers are available as standalone options at $279 on the Steam store.
Much like the impeccable Xbox Game Pass, VIVEPORT Infinity is a one-stop shop to being able to enjoy a wealth of VR games, experiences, and apps for the cost of a subscription. A world of fantastic VR games are included in VIVEPORT Infinity, including the breakout 2020 indie hit, Phasmophobia. If you’re not sure what game to get for the VR, why not check out Infinity and explore a wealth of them at your leisure? You don’t even need a Vive headset to do it, as most headsets with PC connectivity can access the VIVEPORT Infinity library starting at $12.99 a month with a free trial offer to boot.
Vive Wireless Adapter Pack
The Oculus Quest 2 is fantastic in huge part for its complete lack of wires, giving you the freedom to act within your games without the feel of cables around you. That said, there’s absolutely no reason why that same freedom can’t be applied to a better quality headset. It just takes a little extra cash. We’re talking about the VIVE Wireless Adapter Pack. If you’ve already got an HTC Vive Cosmos, or plan on picking it up, then it might not be a bad idea to invest in this package as well. It allows you to do away with the cables and turn the Vive Cosmos into a similarly wireless headset, and although it’s pretty pricey at the cost of $349, it’s still arguably worth it to many to do away with cable clutter in your VR playspace
Disposable Hygiene Mask - 100 count
In a time when we’re still dealing with the pandemic, this feels like more of a mandatory PSA item than a gift suggestion. If for any reason, you feel as though you might be sharing your VR experiences with any other players, you really ought to pick up a set of disposable hygiene masks offered in packs of 100 for $24.99 through the Vive website. These masks stretch around lenses, hook around your ears, and leave room for your nose to provide a temporary sanitary surface as you wear and play with your VR headset. It’s not that you might have to worry about this if you’re the only one using your VR headset, but if for any reason you think you might be putting that headset on anyone else for any amount of time, these masks feel like a must-have for any multi-user setting regardless of what headset you use.
You’re looking for games for your VR experience? We can help there too. We’ve already written a fantastic list of the best VR games to come out in 2020 alone, but here are quite a few other games you might enjoy if you’re looking to stock your library. Don’t forget, VIVEPORT Infinity is also an option if you want an Xbox Game Pass-like subscription to a library of interesting and popular VR games and experiences.
- Half-Life: Alyx - Steam
- The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Steam / Quest
- Star Wars: Squadrons - Steam
- Phasmophobia - Steam / VIVEPORT
- Boneworks - Steam
- Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series - Quest
- Until You Fall - Steam / Quest
- Pixel Ripped 1995 - Steam / Quest
- Population: One - Steam / Quest
- Phantom: Covert Ops - Quest
- Tetris Effect - Microsoft Store / Quest
Of course, these are just a handful of suggestions to get the most out of your headset. There are plenty more games where these came from. We’d also suggest checking out the catalogue at Resolution Games, as they’ve got a ton of great experiences, including Cook-Out: A Sandwich Tale, Acron: Attack of the Squirrels, and Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs.
That covers our 2020 VR gaming gift guide. With the extensive list above, you should have everything you need to make a new, quality VR playspace or improve the one you have already. Happy holidays!
TJ Denzer posted a new article, VR Gaming Holiday Gift Guide 2020: HMDs, games, and accessories
PSVR is still a thing
Still the biggest thing by sales last time I checked. Consumer VR is theirs to lose to Oculus at this point. I'm really hoping they come strong with PSVR2 because even though the hardware wasn't great on the first one they released some great original content that I'm slowly trickling my way through as it comes to PC.