Virtual Reality for the holidays: Eight shopping tips to take the mystery out of buying VR for everyone on your list
Guest column: Chris Carmichael, Chairman of Ubiquity, Inc., does the heavy lifting for holiday shoppers who need some guidance when it comes to virtual reality gifts
Two thousand sixteen has been called “the year of virtual reality (VR),” and interest in VR has exploded. Virtual Reality allows users to have immersive, 3D experiences of everything from underwater seascapes to tours of New York City to their favorite games, and while most of us have seen pictures of people wearing headsets, some are wondering how to include VR-related items in their holiday shopping.
With the holiday gift season upon us, there are lots of VR shopping possibilities. There are great VR options for pretty much everyone on your list, from beginners, who might not even know what VR is, to forward thinking tech-geeks. I am happy to provide these eight basic tips to gift-givers who might be shopping for VR for the first time.
- Choose your VR “type”: If you put VR on your shopping list, you will be shopping for either very expensive, sophisticated gear, gaming add-ons, or simple toy-like options, depending on the recipient.
- Virtual Reality is more than just headsets. While the photos of futuristic headsets abound, the headset/viewers are just part of the equipment. You can’t just buy a fancy headset and expect to have VR. Depending on what kind of headset you buy, it could require a powerful PC, a VR ready smartphone or even a game console.
- VR is about the experiences: Research some of the available experiences and experience packs available. This way you can help guide your recipient to some good initial choices. The New York Times VR app hasz
- Smartphone-driven headsets are a good inexpensive choice. The most famous of the inexpensive headsets is Google Cardboard. This product works with most Android or iOS phones and Google has released a more sophisticated version called Google Daydream. Experts advise that when selecting a phone driven headset, make sure to get one with a button for interaction.
- For the equipment adverse, set viewers and apps up in advance. If you are giving a phone-based headset to someone who is not comfortable putting things together, take it out of the box and put it together in advance. This will enable your recipient to start having fun right away. For family members, you can set up apps on your own phone to start, and give them a preview of what they can get.
- For gamers and tech geeks lots of good choices: For those on your list who want the best, consider the top of the line options. You may need to also splurge for a new computer, as most of these require powerful PCs with specific specs. Some of these include: Oculus and Microsoft HoloLens, and these options all have their own experience stores.
- Know what kind of gear your favorite gamer has. For example, If the gift is for a gamer who has PlayStation, the new headset from that company is probably your best option. As well, HTC Hive works with Valve’s gaming system.
- For project loving kids, keep in the box. If you leave the viewer and instructions in the box, you and your kids can set the headset up together. Just be sure and allow time, and make sure you are in a relaxed frame of mind.
Chris Carmichael, is Chairman of Ubiquity, Inc., and expert in immersive reality. A film and video maker, Carmichael’s company Ubiquity Corporation has developed a series of patents in the areas of Virtual Reality(VR), Augmented Reality(AR), and Mixed Reality(MR) markets. Ubiquity is dedicated to making immersive virtual reality possible in mobile.