HTC Vive Review: Part 3, Final Thoughts and Future Hopes

Check out Part 1 about setup, and Part 2 about some games.

After two weeks with the HTC Vive I have some overall thoughts about it and hopes about the once and future of gaming: VR.

Let’s get one thing straight: VR is amazing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the only people who don’t like it haven’t tried it.

That said, after a few weeks with the Vive, my excitement is slightly more tempered. I’ve been covering VR since it’s new resurgence a few years ago, and have waited (sometimes breathlessly) for the day I could experience VR in my home. Now that I’ve done it… look I’m still excited but the reality didn’t quite live up to the dream (does it ever?).

What VR does right, it does right. Your elevated pulse shooing zombies in a tight corridor, or your open mouth at the awe of smashing suns together to form a nebula, it’s hard not to be blown away.

But then what? It all comes down to the games. Or specifically, the lack there of. This, in many ways, is a good problem to have. We’re in the honeymoon period where everyone wants to get their hands on a VR headset and either play or create for them. We’ll certainly see more games (a bunch were announced at E3 a few weeks ago), but right now… there isn’t a lot. I downloaded every game that seemed remotely interesting from the Steam store, and by the end of my time with the Vive, I had played them all and was done with them. True, there were a few that needed a Steam controller to play, but that would have gotten me how much more playtime?

What VR needs is a “killer app,” a game that makes VR a “must have” instead of a “that’d be cool.” Hopefully that will happen soon.

The Future

There are a few things I expect out of the next (or maybe the one after the next) generation of VR headsets.

1) Higher Resolution screens
This one is pretty obvious. The screens now are good, but you can just barely make out the pixels, so more could help. We’ll get there, that part’s easy.

2) Wireless
The wire bundle from the headset to the computer is a constant reminder you’re not in the world you eyes are seeing. Bluetooth certainly doesn’t have the bandwidth right now, and WiFi would screw up online gaming for many. Something proprietary perhaps? It wouldn’t have to go far.

An extension of this would be even more movement. The Vive’s available VR space is cool, but wireless would free up even more (depending on your house and the laser trackers).

3) Better Controllers
The Vive controllers are kinda lame, and the ones I’ve seen from PlayStation VR look even worse. The Rift’s controllers, in the short time I got to use them, seem the best fit so far. They’re small, have a thumb joystick (got to move somehow) and most amazingly/importantly, actually track your individual fingers.

Bottom Line

VR is amazing and it is here. I loved my time with the HTC Vive. Being able to walk around in a virtual space is living the dream so many gamers have had. Right now though, the lack of games is a bit of an issue. There are some cool ones, and more on the horizon, but it’s still a pretty small subset. We’ll get there (hopefully).

As far as Vive vs Rift, there are two main differences. The Rift has the better hand controllers (when they’re available), while the Vive’s much larger tracking space is pretty incredible.

The key is content. Which will be more useful in the long run, the better controllers or the bigger space? Which headset will have more/better games? That too remains to be seen.

I’ll tell you what. When I’m back home in November (I’m a digital nomad most of the year), I’m almost positive I’ll buy one of these. Let’s reconvene then, and see where we’re at with all this.

If you buy one in the meantime, let me know in the comments which one you got, and why.

Warrior24_7's picture

Yep, software sells hardware! I do believe that the Vive will have the edge here. After reading other reviews, it seems that the Vive has the more immersive VR experience. It is also backed by Nvidia and Steam.