So you've heard about Virtual Reality, and how it's the next big thing. You see some people using their phones as VR Headsets, and see others holding oddly-shaped controllers and walking around. The question is: what's the difference?
Well, VR is (in general terms), split into two main categories: Mobile VR and Room-Scale VR.
First up, mobile VR is the loose term used to describe VR Headsets that rely on a mobile phone, such as GearVR (which uses a Samsung Galaxy), or a Daydream View (which uses a Google Pixel). These headsets have the massive benefit of being wireless - simply put your phone in, and you are good to go. Set up is easy, fast and these typically are the least expensive devices on offer (that are worth using). Mobile VR is great for immersive storytelling, as well as more agile VR solutions - we recently utilized 40 GearVR's at Rabobank's F2F conference (shown above). However, Mobile VR is slightly limited from a hardware perspective - there is only so much that a mobile phone can display at once! As such, Mobile VR excels in less interactive environments, and more experiential or learning environments.
On the other hand, Room Scale VR serves as the highest quality, top end-experience that VR can offer. While Room-Scale means that you have a tethered experience (in that you are connected to a powerful PC by a long cable), it also means that we can render experiences above and beyond that of Mobile VR. More importantly, however (and where the name originates) - Room-Scale VR allows you to walk around the real world, and have those movements be reflected inside of VR. This allows for the VR experience to be a perfect mirror of your complete range of motion, not only reflecting what direction you're facing. As well as this, Room-Scale VR has motion-tracked controllers that go with both major headsets (the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive), meaning that your hands and your head are both accurately represented inside of VR. This makes for some incredibly immersive experiences, as well as new forms of interaction inside of VR. Want to sculpt in the virtual world? Collaborate with other people on a project? Pick up, move and inspect 3D pre-visualized models? All possible, with Room-Scale VR.
Now these are all, of course, temporary lines in the sand. In the next year or two, multiple headsets will be released with the portability of MobileVR, with the featureset of Room-Scale VR. By the same token, these headsets will gradually reduce in price - making the future just that much more affordable.