How Much Would You Pay for the Universe?

As virtual reality technology improves, HTC leads the way in allowing us to experience things that we never could have before.


Timmy Timmons

Triton junior Savannah Sweeney tries an HTC Vive for the first time.

The futuristic sci-fi world that many have dreamed of for years is finally here and could be in your house for you to own.

HTC has been leading the way in the consumer end of virtual reality (VR) technology. Their product, the HTC Vive, is the best selling and most widely known VR headset. The possibilities that come with owning a headset like this are endless – but there are many things that a person would need to know before committing to a purchase such as a Vive.

The first thing, which is probably the first thing you would notice when looking into VR, is that its expensive. Like, crazy expensive. The base version of the Vive, (which is what will be reviewed), costs $499 – not to mention the computer that you will need to be able to run VR games, probably costing another $500 at least.

Another thing that’ll be necessary for playing is a computer capable of processing the games that you’ll be playing. This also, not very surprisingly, isn’t cheap either. A good computer built for gaming will probably set you back at least another $500, and then eventually parts may need to be replaced or upgraded to keep up with ever-improving graphics.

The base version comes with the headset itself, two controllers, and the base stations which need to be nailed to the wall in order for the computer to be able to track your movement. The base stations are the only drawback aesthetically to owning the headset, as not only do they need to be nailed to the wall, but they also need to be plugged in. 

The cord does look pretty unappealing just hanging there – but it’s easy to just unplug the station when it is not in use and tuck away the cord. And when you are using the headset, the way your physical room looks doesn’t matter, you’re in a virtual world anyways. 

In order to use the Vive in its full range of movement, the software requires a room with a minimum size of 6’6” x 4’11”. Most rooms will be able to accommodate this space but might require some rearrangement. In both my case and Whittier Technical School’s Ben Carlson’s case, our rooms had to be rearranged.

“I mean, it wasn’t that bad for me,” Carlson said, “The only furniture I really have in my room is my desk – which physically cannot move, and my bed. I just rotated my bed 90 degrees to give myself a little more room to move and I was good.”

It’s also worth mentioning the fact that many of the games you will play in VR can get very intense and sometimes you forget that you’re even in the game. For someone like me, that has a glass curio cabinet, and a large television mounted onto the wall in the same room that I play VR in, this can be an issue.

My suggestion – give yourself extra space. It’s very easy to forget the real world and put a controller through a TV or glass pane when you’re being attacked by killer robots.

One thing you won’t have a problem with is finding a game to entertain yourself with. HTC offers a service called Viveport Infinity, where for another $12.99 a month, you can play hundreds of the most well known VR games for free.

When she was introduced to VR for the first time, Triton junior Savannah Sweeney’s favorite game was Beat Saber, a game not included in Viveport Infinity. 

Beat Saber announcement trailer for PS VR.

“I sing and listen to music all the time when I’m alone, so, I can sing and dance while playing this game and it just adds a whole new part to listening to music,” said Sweeney, “It feels so satisfying when you can just vibe with the song and predict the next box to come and you get it right.”

Beat Saber is a game that sends Red and Blue boxes towards the player that correlates to the beat of the song that is playing. The boxes also have arrows that show the user which direction they have to swing their virtual swords through the box in order for it to count. 

The base game has no songs by widely-known artists, but there are song packs that can be purchased to introduce songs from artists like Imagine Dragons, Panic! at the Disco, and Green Day

HTC has created an unbelievably immersive experience with the HTC Vive. The experiences possible with Virtual Reality are already immersive and incredibly realistic and the technology is being advanced every day. Who knows what may come in the following years, the possibilities are endless, so if you have the capabilities to own a headset, the HTC Vive could not get a stronger recommendation.