VR headsets may be too powerful for most PCs in 2016

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Many companies are looking to introduce VR headsets to the world this year, with CES expected to have more than 40 exhibitors of VR products at its show in Las Vegas beginning January 2016. IHS estimates that more than 7 million VR headsets will be in use by the end of 2016, while forecasts predicts VR headset sales of just about 1.2 million units. While those numbers are pretty exciting for an emerging market, not everyone will be able to share in on that excitement.

Despite the expected increase in VR usage, Gartner expects that less than 1% of the 1.43 billion PCs expected to be in use globally in 2016 will have the graphics capabilities needed to run these headsets, or more specifically, around 13 million PCs according to estimates my graphics chip maker NVIDIA. Piers Harding-Rolls, an IHS analyst, wrote in an e-mail:

“I think the technology has significant potential, but I also think we have to be realistic about how strongly it will be adopted in the short term… The hype is somewhat understandable considering the investment some big technology companies are making in VR. However, VR headsets come to market with a number of specific challenges.”

Most VR headsets will require top of the line machines capable of processing speeds of up 90 frames per second, 3 times more than a standard PC game. Anything les may lead may lead to nausea or motion sickness as earlier VR have shown. Only at a rate of 90 frames per second on 2 video projections (one for each eye) can the headset actually convince our brains that what we’re seeing is fluid and natural. Keep in mind that these VR headsets are different than Microsoft’s HoloLens, which uses Augmented Reality and has its own built in processing power.

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