New hardware is coming

This week has seen the pending release of probably the two extremes of VR hardware. HTC’s Vive is now officially available for pre-order - and McDonalds is creating a Cardboard-a-like device using your chip holder (or fries holder, for my US visitors).

HTC Vive


(Image via

Vive’s initial release will come with all the gubbins shown above. You get an HMD capable of rendering at 1080*1200 per eye at 90Hz. You get two trackable controllers. You also get two lighthouse beacons which generate the tracking information for the controllers and the HMD to be able to position and orient themselves accurately in your world space. Pretty damned awesome. It’s not cheap by anyone’s measure, coming in at 750 GBP including delivery.

McDonald’s actual piece of cardboard


Shipping in smaller numbers than the Vive (if the Daily mail is to be believed, which is a wider metaphysical question), the greasy chip packet plus some lenses will probably stretch the average stressed parent to something close to a tenner. I’m not sure if the Happy Meal will contain toys that interact in the virtual space created by the McDonald’s headset, and it’s likely the best experience (for the parents) will be the 30 seconds of quiet they get before their phone is dropped under a table somewhere.

In all seriousness, though, this is a fantastic example of VR beginning to hit the mass consumer space. There’s been a lot of talk about sub-par VR experiences poisoning the well for the top-end devices, and I’m sure there will be some of that coming, but given where Oculus and HTC are in their release strategy, I think we’re past the point where a bad experience elsewhere will prejudice the entire ecosystem. This just gives those with a Vive or a CV1 the opportunity to have that early adopter conversation with folks who probably had no idea what VR meant before their happy meal.

Written on March 3, 2016