Without Hardware Revolution, PC VR Is Dead In Water

PC VR games. They’re set to be the craze of the year. From Oculus Rift to SteamVR, virtual reality systems are lined up to launch you and me into the new era of gaming. And with VR games like Eve: Valkyrie, Star Citizen, and RuneScape all just waiting to be played in glorious VR, you’d be mad not to be excited.

Just one slight problem: The PC VR craze is hinged on a complete hardware revolution.

Your current PC cannot play VR games (unless you’re in the 1% of PC-owners). Simply put, 99% of us have a PC that’s too underpowered to play virtual reality PC games. Reality is this: Either you, I, and nearly all other would-be VR gamers head out and buy an extremely costly new PC, or we will not be playing VR games on PC.

Sorry. Bumma. Total downer, I know.

Unfortunately, VR PC games have system requirements that no one outside the PC-elite can meet. Even if you have recently bought a new PC, you still almost definitely will not be able to play PC VR games. This is largely because PC VR goes completely against the current PC-buying trend.

Right now the trend is to buy power-efficient ultraportables. Those ultraportable notebooks simply aren’t capable of handling VR. Not a problem if you’ve got the cash to fork-out for a new desktop. But let’s face it: most people don’t have the funds to commit to such a lofty purchase just for gaming.

Jason Paul, general manager of Nvidia’s VR business unit, said most computers required a “sevenfold increase in raw performance” to work properly with the best headsets. That’s an expensive acquisition. “Immersive VR requires seven times the graphics processing power compared to traditional 3D applications and games.”

You might be feeling lucky if you actually do have a PC that can play VR games. But hold your horses. You won’t have much fun playing PC VR without games. And games will only be made if they’re profitable. With 99% of PC gamers being completely unable to play VR games, it’s hard to see just how PC VR games will be profitable.

The system requirements for VR means that not enough people can play PC VR games. And if people can’t play the games, developers won’t make them.

Okay; this view is a little fatalistic. Just because most people won’t be able to play PC VR games immediately doesn’t mean they won’t workout in the long run. And the good news is that producers and developers are placing their bets on a lengthy-lifecycle, a lifecycle that sees PC VR steadily growing in popularity over a course of years.

PC VR games damn sure look fun. But without a top-end PC you will not be able to play PC VR games.

VR Developers Say This Is Just The Beginning. But Most Systems Live Or Die On Their Initial Success

Most VR developers are stating that the first release of VR systems is about breaking ground. They’re calling it the first step in a long process. Mark Zuckerberg said in November that “The VR market will take a while to gather momentum”. Ben Schachter of Macquarie Capital agrees: “For VR/AR, we have just pulled into the parking lot and tailgating is about to begin. Samsung just arrived with a six-pack of Bud Light, Facebook called and is bringing a new microbrew, and Sony might bring a more mass-market palatable ale.”

It might seem logical for developers VR to slowly grow. But history tells us that game systems live or die on the success of their first few years. Consumers want the just-released product, not the system that came out three years ago. By the time the average consumer can actually afford PC VR games, VR will have lost all its novelty and excitement.

What we’re left with is a situation in which either we witness the biggest revolution in PC hardware for decades, or we see PC VR gaming on its death bed before its even had time to grow up.




Will Your PC run Virtual Reality Games? These System Requirements will tell you either way

VR games are heavily dependent on system requirements.

Oculus has said the Rift will need a computer with an Intel i5 processor, 8 GB (or more) of memory and two USB 3.0 ports. Another system requirement for VR is the graphics card. You need equivalent to an nVidia NVDA -1.79% GeForce 970 or AMD AMD -3.14% Radeon 290 graphics card.

The Oculus Rift system requirements are quite intensive. Only 1% of PC gamers will meet these Oculus Rift system requirements



The good news is that manufacturers are preparing for VR. The HP Envy Phoenix is one of the first PCs custom designed to be ready for virtual reality.

HP ENVY Phoenix is “Certified VR ready” for HTC VIVE

Inside HP ENVY Phoenix’s tower you’ll find a 2TB hard drive, Intel Core i7 K-series processor (with HP-tuned overclocking), and the choice of either AMD or NVIDIA graphics cards. You’ll be able to choose an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti or an AMD Radeon R9 390x.  Available on January 16th, 2016 through HP online, the HP Phoenix will cost $1,699.99 USD.



List of VR Games Both Out-Now And To Be Released


Title Platforms Release date for VR Genre
7 Days to Die
Star Conflict Windows, Mac, Linux (DK1 only) 3/1/2013 Space combat simulator, MMO
Team Fortress 2 Windows, Mac, Linux 3/20/2013 FPS
Museum of the Microstar Windows 4/3/2013 Narrative Short
Half-Life 2 Windows, Mac, Linux 5/10/2013 FPS
Outerra Anteworld Windows 5/27/2013 Sandbox, Exploration
Racer Windows, Mac, Linux 5/31/2013 Sim racing
Qbeh Windows 6/3/2013 Platformer
War Thunder Windows, Mac, Linux 6/7/2013 MMO, Combat flight simulator
Surgeon Simulator 2013 Windows, Mac, Linux 6/21/2013 Simulation
Undercurrent Windows 7/3/2013 First Person Adventure
DARK Windows 7/5/2013 Stealth, Action RPG
Retrovirus Windows 7/14/2013 FPS
Lunar Flight Windows 7/17/2013 Simulation
Custom Maid 3D Windows 7/22/2013 Adult, Simulation
Vendetta Online Windows, Mac, Linux 7/24/2013 Space trading and combat simulator, MMO
iRacing.com Windows, Mac, Linux 7/25/2013 Sim racing
Kairo Windows, Mac 7/31/2013 First Person Puzzle
Strike Suit Zero Windows, Mac, Linux 7/31/2013 Space combat simulator
LICHT Windows 8/6/2013 Puzzle
3DXChat Windows 8/7/2013 Adult, MMO
VRInvestigation Windows 8/8/2013 First Person Detective
Aaaaa! for the Awesome Windows 8/19/2013 Simulation
Hawken Windows 9/11/2013 FPS, Mecha
Slender: The Arrival Windows 9/19/2013 Survival Horror
Maere: When Lights Die Windows 9/29/2013 Survival Horror
Cloud Party Windows, Mac 10/9/2013 First Person Adventure
Euro Truck Simulator 2 Windows, Linux 10/20/2013 Vehicle simulation game
Doorways Windows, Mac, Linux 10/29/2013 Survival Horror
Soda Drinker Pro Windows 11/2/2013 First Person Soda, Simulation
Black Island Windows 11/4/2013 Survival Horror
Assetto Corsa Windows 11/8/2013 Sim racing
Half-Life: Source Windows, Mac, Linux 11/8/2013 FPS
Live for Speed Windows 11/8/2013 Sim racing
Asunder: Earthbound Windows, Mac 11/22/2013 First Person Adventure
Elite: Dangerous Windows 12/20/2013 Space trading and combat simulator, MMO
Time Rifters Windows, Mac, Linux 12/25/2013 FPS
Cascade Windows 2014 Exploration, Simulation
Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) Windows 64-bit 2014 Combat flight simulator
EVE Valkyrie Windows 2014 Space combat simulator
Ghost in the Machine Windows 2014 Platformer
Loading Human Windows 2014 First Person Adventure
The Rift: U.R.I.D.I.S Windows 2014 Arcade, Vehicular combat game
Starpoint Gemini 2 Windows 2014 Space trading and combat simulator
Strike Vector Windows 2014 Space combat simulator
Tron Light Cycles Windows 2014 Racing game
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 Windows 2014 Q1 Action Adventure
Daylight Windows 2014 Q1 Survival Horror
Flymachine VR Windows 2014 Q1 Arcade, Vehicular combat game
Positron Windows 2014 Q1 Racing, Puzzle
White Heaven Windows 2014 Q1 Survival Horror
The Witness Windows 2014 Q1 First Person Puzzle
World of Diving Windows, Mac, Linux 2014 Q1 Online Multiplayer dive game
FRONTIERS Windows 2014 Q2 Exploration, Survival
PULSAR: Lost Colony Windows 2014 Q2 Simulation
Trackmania 2 Unknown 2014 Q2 Racing game
X-Plane 10 Windows, Mac, Linux 2014 Q2 Flight Simulation
Chathouse 3D Windows 2014 Q3 Adult, Simulation
FRACT OSC Windows 2014 Q3 First Person Survival Horror
Monstrum Windows, Mac, Linux 2014 Q3 Survival Horror
Project Fear Windows 2014 Q3 Open World Survival Horror
The Farm Windows 2014 Q4 Survival Horror
NOWHERE Windows, Mac, Linux 2014 Q4 Simulation
Reset Windows 2014 Q4 First Person Puzzle
Ryzom Windows, Mac, Linux 2014 Q4 MMORPG
Estranged Windows, Mac, Linux 1/16/2014 FPS, First Person Adventure
Alone Windows 2014-02 Survival Horror
Diplopia Windows 2014-02 Block Breaker, Health
Probably Archery Windows, Mac, Linux 2/6/2014 FPS, Simulation
Dream Windows, Mac 2/10/2014 First Person Adventure
Skycall – Rook Island Windows 2/10/2014 Flight Simulation
Energy Hook Windows, Mac, Linux 2014-03 Grapple-and-swing-and-run-on-walls-for-style game
The Gallery: Six Elements Windows 2014-03 First Person Adventure
Lifeless Windows 2014-03 FPS, Survival
SoundSelf Windows 2014-03 Music
Throw Trucks With Your Mind Windows 2014-03 FPS, Mind control
Ether One Windows 3/25/2014 First Person Puzzle
Qbeh-1: The Atlas Cube Windows 2014-04 First Person Puzzle
Next Car Game Windows 2014-05 Vehicular combat game
Rift’s Cave Windows, Mac, Linux 2014-05 First Person Adventure, Puzzles, Fantasy
The Forest Windows 5/22/2014 Open World Survival Horror
Among the Sleep Windows, Mac, Linux 5/29/2014 Survival Horror
Son of Nor Windows 2014-06 Action Adventure
Stacks, The Windows 2014-06 Exploration, First Person Puzzle
Hipster Axe Windows, Mac 2014-07 Open world
Insignificant Windows 2014-07 Open World RPG
Project Nimbus Windows 2014-07 Mecha
Road Redemption Windows 2014-08 Motorcycle combat-racing game
Crystal Rift Windows, Mac, Linux 8/7/2014 First Person Adventure
All Birds Must Die Windows, Mac 8/13/2014 Arcade Shooter
BouncerVR Arcade Windows, Mac OSX 8/30/2014 Sports game, Arcade game
Synergy Windows, Mac, Linux 2014-09 FPS, Co-Op, Puzzle
The Long Dark Windows 2014-10 Survival, Simulation
Synthesis Windows (Mac & Linux Planned) 2014-10 Simulation, Puzzle, Abstract
4089 Windows, Mac, Linux 10/31/2014 FPS, Procedural Action RPG, Stealth
Dreamfall Chapters Windows, Mac, Linux 2014-11 Adventure
Pulse Windows 2014-11 Survival
Star Citizen Windows, Linux 2014-11 Space trading and combat simulator, MMO
Ethereon Windows, Linux, coming soon to Mac 11/26/2014 First Person Adventure, First Person Puzzle
NoLimits 2 Roller Coaster Simulation Windows 11/27/2014 Simulation
Classroom Aquatic Windows, Mac, Linux 2014-12 First Person Dolphin, Simulation
Lacuna Passage Windows 2014-12 Exploration, Survival
Rift Rush Windows 2014-12 Platformer
SCALE Windows 2014-12 First Person Puzzle
Shufflepuck Cantina VR Windows 2014-12 Arcade, Sports
SpaceEngine Windows 12/26/2014 Simulation, Exploration
The Shining Experience Windows 2015 Experience
Windlands Windows, Mac, Linux 2015 Platformer, Exploration
Limit Theory Windows, Mac, Linux 2015 Q1 Sandbox Space Exploration, Real-time strategy, RPG
P.O.L.L.E.N’ Windows, Playstation 4 2015 Q1 First Person Adventure
Obduction Windows 2015 Q3 First Person Adventure
A Maze ing VR Windows 1/5/2015 First Person Puzzle
Dying Light Windows, Linux 2015-02 FPS
XViREnt: Experiences in Virtual Reality Entertainment Windows 2015-02 MMORPG, UGC
Multiplayer VR Windows 2/21/2015 MMO
InMind Windows, Mac, Linux 2/22/2015 Adventure, Action, FPS, Educational
Dirt Rally Windows 2015-04 Race,Rally,simulator
Tsunami Island Windows 4/1/2015 Survival, Simulation
Nevermind Windows 2015-06 First Person Adventure, Survival Horror, Health
MechDefense Windows, Mac, Linux 8/1/2015 Tower defense, Simulation, Strategy, Shooter
A Chapter Finished Windows 9/15/2015 Educational
Rampage Windows, Mac 11/4/2015 First Person Shooter, Action, Shooter
Kingdom Come: Deliverance Windows, Mac, Linux 2015-12 Open World RPG
Geocore Windows, Mac, Linux 2015-2016 6DOF SHOOTER
Project C.A.R.S. Windows, Linux 2015-5 Sim racing
EverQuest Next Windows 2016 MMORPG
Aderyn’s Cradle Windows, Linux 2016-06 Open World RPG, Action RPG
Alien: Isolation Windows 7-Oct-14 Action-adventure, stealth
That Booty Windows 8/15/2014 Racing, Sports
AdvertCity Windows, Linux, OS X Apr-15 Tycoon game
Fated Windows Q1 2016 First Person Adventure
Adrift Windows Q2/Q3 2015 Exploration, First Person Puzzle
Unreal Tournament Windows, Mac, Linux TBA FPS
Atajrubah Windows TBD First Person Adventure
Attractio Windows TBD First Person Puzzle
Avoid – Sensory Overload Windows, Mac, Linux TBD Arcade
BeamNG.drive Windows TBD Soft-Body Physics Simulation
Beast of prey Windows TBD Strategy, Shooter
Catlateral Damage Windows, Mac, Linux TBD Simulation game
CDF Ghostship Windows TBD FPS, Survival Horror
City Quest Windows TBD Adventure
Cypress Inheritance: The Beginning Windows TBD Stealth, Action RPG, First Person Adventure
Darkfield VR Windows TBD Space combat simulator, Multiplayer
DayZ Standalone Windows TBD FPS, Survival Horror
Dead Trigger Windows TBD FPS
Distance Windows TBD Racing
Doom 3: BFG Edition Windows TBD FPS
Enemy Starfighter Windows, Mac, Linux TBD Space combat simulator
Flagship Windows TBD Real-time strategy
Formula C Windows TBD Racing
Frequency Domain Windows TBD Music
Gekkeiju Online: The Beginning Windows TBD MMORPG
Gimbal Cop Windows TBD Racing
GoD Factory: Wingmen Windows TBD Space combat simulator
Grave Windows TBD Open World Survival Horror
Grid Autosport Windows TBD Racing
Ground Branch Windows TBD FPS
Heavy Gear Assault Windows TBD FPS, Mecha
Homesick Windows TBD First Person Adventure
IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad Windows TBD Combat flight simulator
Insurgency 2 Windows TBD FPS
Interstellar Marines Windows, Mac, Linux TBD FPS
Minecraft Windows, Mac, Linux TBD Sandbox, Survival
Miner Wars 2081 Windows TBD FPS, Space Shooter
Montague’s Mount Windows TBD First Person Adventure
Montas Windows TBD Survival Horror, Adventure, Platformer
Mortal Online Windows TBD FPS, Sandbox, MMO, Fantasy, RPG
Paranautical Activity Windows TBD FPS, Roguelike
Paranormal Windows TBD Survival Horror
Phoenix RC Windows TBD RC Simulator
Polarity Windows TBD First Person Puzzle
Private Eye Windows TBD First Person Puzzle, First Person Adventure
Project EX.US Windows TBD FPS
Proton Pulse Rift Windows TBD Block Breaker
Q.U.B.E. Windows TBD First Person Puzzle
Race the Sun Windows TBD Racing, Arcade
RaceRoom Racing Experience Windows TBD Sim racing
Ravensword: Shadowlands Windows, Mac, Linux TBD Action RPG
Rawbots Windows TBD Robot crafting Sandbox
Receiver Windows, Mac, Linux TBD FPS
RedFrame Windows TBD First Person Adventure
RELOCK Windows TBD Multiplayer
rFactor 2 Windows TBD Sim racing
Rogue System Windows TBD Space combat simulator
Routine Windows TBD Survival Horror
RuneScape Windows, Mac, Linux TBD Fantasy MMORPG
Sandman Windows TBD Exploration
Second Life Windows, Mac, Linux TBD MMO
Site 37 Windows TBD First Person Adventure
Solus Windows TBD Exploration, Survival
Space Hulk: Deathwing Windows TBD FPS
Space Nomads Windows TBD Tower defense
Spectre: Virtual Reality Horror Windows TBD Survival Horror
Star Rift Windows TBD Simulation
Star Sonata Windows TBD Sandbox Space MMO
Stranded Deep Windows TBD Survival Horror, Simulation
Super Mega Mega Windows TBD Platformer
The Long Dark Windows, Mac, Linux TBD Survival simulation
Theme Park Studio Windows TBD Design and Simulation
Untitled game by Somavision Windows TBD Adult
Victory: The Age of Racing Windows TBD Sim racing, MMO
V I V Online Windows TBD MMO
Wander Windows, Mac, Linux TBD MMO, Exploration
Wanderift Windows, Mac TBD Art Game, Exploration
Will of Creativity Windows TBD Music visualization
WingSuitFlyer Windows TBD Simulation
Wishful Lie Windows TBD Survival Horror
XING: The Land Beyond Windows TBD First Person Puzzle, First Person Adventure
XStoryPlayer Windows TBD Adult, Simulation
ZED Absolution Windows TBD Arcade Shooter
Zombies on the Holodeck Windows TBD FPS
Hypatia Windows Undetermined Sandbox



About Paul Harrison 287 Articles
Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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