There’s a high probability you’ve heard of Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta. More interestingly is its plans for developing its new Metaverse project. The Metaverse is a subject that can at times range from exciting to controversial with mystery and speculation dispersed throughout.
While the concept that the Metaverse comes from isn’t exactly new, the digital landscape looks much different now; especially since virtual worlds were first conceptualized. This means the doors are open wider to opportunities that allow for those ideas to finally become reality–or virtual reality, that is. Still unsure what the Metaverse is all about? No worries. We’ll touch on that, along with the must-have VR gadgets for you to explore the Metaverse with.
The Metaverse is Meta’s first big consumer project. The general idea is that Metaverse will be a continuously expanding virtual world. In this virtual world, people will be able to meet and interact similarly to how they might in real life. This digital realm will offer a chance for people to engage in activities that can range from mere mingling to playing advanced games together. The possibilities are vast and some wild ideas are already on the table. For example, people are already working to sell plots of virtual land within the Metaverse.
What adds potential to the Metaverse is that big-name companies are already showing interest in it. Whether they partner up to create compatible content remains to be seen. Sometimes companies will appear to work together until one of them bails on the union to instead provide an alternative. Right now, however, it seems businesses are eager to embrace its potential.
So in a nutshell, the Metaverse is a brand new virtual frontier for you to explore, and it’s in its earliest stages. This means that your experiences are sure to change as the new platform grows. Ready to dive into it yourself? Don’t go it alone! Read on to the next section and take any of these compatible VR gadgets to see the Metaverse for yourself.
Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest is one of the first VR devices of the modern virtual reality revolution. It brought an impressive array of interactive technology when first released, and to where they were eventually bought out by Facebook (again, now Meta). Now, we have the Oculus Quest 2.
The Oculus Quest 2 immediately overtakes the original in that it has improved graphics and dynamic environments. It holds up to other VR headsets while providing competitive pricing. Ergonomic controllers with enhanced hand tracking make interaction easier and more responsive. It’s also lighter and faster compared to the previous model. A Qualcomm Snapdragon RX2 chipset, extra RAM, and a higher resolution display all lend themselves to a greater gameplay experience. The device comes in 64 and 256 GB storage options.
With the Oculus Quest 2, you can still play all the original Oculus Quest content. However, you will need a Facebook account to be logged in in order for you to be able to use the device. This likely won’t be an issue for most, but some may find that off-putting. Granted, if you’re seeking to use it to access the Metaverse, you’re probably not surprised to need an account with the company that’s building it.
You can get the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset here for $300.
You don’t need to be a hardcore PC gamer to be familiar with Valve. The company known for the infamous Steam platform has been innovating in the gaming tech and software space for a while now. But do you know they make a VR headset too?
The Valve Index is a virtual reality headset that’s worth a gander through. It’s a fantastic option for extended gaming sessions with some of the crispest visuals available on similar devices. It features two LCD screens with 1,440 x 1,600 pixels and a minimal screen door effect. The device also runs at 90, 120, and even 144 Hz frame rate modes. Another advantage is that the headset has a design that reduces skin contact. This helps prevent sweat while a fabric lining provides antimicrobial protection.
If you’re looking for a mainstream alternative to the Oculus Quest 2, you can’t go wrong checking out the Index with a company like Valve attached. Not only that, but its phenomenal displays and experimental 144 Hz frame rate mode is well worth the consideration alone.
You can get the Valve Index VR headset here starting at $500.
HP Reverb G2
Speaking of Valve, there’s another VR headset that comes as a result of collaboration between the Steam maker and Microsoft. It can be used for gaming or it can be creatively used for business and in a wide range of industries. Introducing the HP Reverb G2.
The HP Reverb G2 VR headset is a versatile option that packs some nice specs under the hood. It comes with a set of LCD displays with 2,160 x 2,160 resolutions each. Spatial audio is included as well which complements the visual experience with immersive audio. The device isn’t huge overall, either. It only weighs around 1 lb is 2.89-inches in size. Built-in cameras assist with additional movement tracking too, which is an added bonus.
It’s worth mentioning that the device does come with a heftier price tag, however, it does offer lots of extra content for you to enjoy. If you’re looking for both quality and a more expansive feature set, the HP Reverb G2 is a great device to include on your list.
You can get the HP Reverb G2 VR headset here for $600.
HTC Vive Pro 2
Think the previous headsets are cool? Wait until you see what HTC has to offer. There are few companies that seem to be as active in developing VR hardware lately as HTC. This next product is one of the best VR headsets they offer right now, and you won’t want to overlook it.
The HTC Vive Pro 2 boasts a myriad of impressive specs and enticing features. For starters, it has a 5K per-eye display resolution of 2,448 x 2,448 pixels. Next is its 120 Hz frame rate. It also has a 120-degree field of view (FOV) for further immersion. Certified High-Res spatial sound lets you hear every detail as though you’re really there.
There’s also a slew of quality-of-life improvements that expand its performance and comfort from the original version. For example, it includes Display Stream Compression (DSC), lossless images, and reduced motion blur. An ergonomic design with adjustable straps and sizing dials ensure a comfortable experience. There are even built-in headphones, though you can always use a different pair.
You can get the HTC Vive Pro 2 here starting at $800.
You may not be familiar with the Pimax brand, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a particularly advanced and noteworthy VR device. In fact, they offer a plethora of great virtual reality gadgets as stand-alone or bundle options. So what are they bringing to the table in terms of headsets?
The Pimax 8K Virtual Reality Headset features peripheral vision support with a 200-degree field of view. For context, our natural vision clocks in at about 220-degrees. The device also minimizes the screen door effect, an unwanted problem where eyes can detect lines between pixels–common with many head-mounted displays (HMDs). Visual clarity comes in ahead of even the Vive Pro 2 with a whopping 8K 3,840 x 2,160 resolution (per eye).
If that’s not enough to impress, don’t worry, there’s still more. Eye tracking, hand motions, a cooling fan, a customized VR frame, and a wireless transmission module are all included in the Primax 8K Virtual Reality Headset. There’s a 5K version too, and both devices offer compatibility with more than 1,700 different videos and games.
You can get the Pimax 8K Virtual Reality Headset here starting at $900.
There’s no arguing that the Metaverse is a big challenge for Meta (Facebook) to take on. A few factors come into play when considering the future of this new venture. Firstly the readiness of the technology itself. Is it fully there to support the full vision for Metaverse’s first few stages of development. Secondly, is whether consumers are ready to embrace not only something like Metaverse but also with Mark Zuckerberg at the helm. For example, there’s still growing skepticism over Facebook’s habit of over-censoring its users. Privacy issues and social toxicity are also frequently discussed points of contention. However, if the company can learn from past mistakes and find a way to alleviate these concerns, it’s entirely plausible people will be willing to get on board.
That said, the Metaverse has the potential to become a virtual world that’s worth exploring. It’s easy to suggest that people put down controllers (or headsets) and explore outside instead. That isn’t always possible, though. You’re less inclined on a worknight to go running into the woods to hit the trails. If you live in a city, you may not have woods at all. Maybe you have a disability that makes getting out a challenge. “Getting out” in a simulated world might provide some much-needed escapism.
It’s easy to snub the idea of the Metaverse, but should we? Virtual reality can assist people in a broad spectrum of ways. There are practical applications, therapeutic uses, and entertainment experiences to enjoy. Metaverse will open a plethora of new doors in consumer markets and technologies. In turn, that leads to better, more advanced VR. We’re excited to see where it all goes. So strap on your VR devices and we’ll see you in the Metaverse!
How do you feel about the new Metaverse? Let us know in the comments below!
Mark is a writer and podcaster who loves technology. When not writing for Gadget Flow, he enjoys passionately working on storytelling projects and exploring the outdoors.