Are your kids interested in a VR gadget for Christmas this year? I’m sure lots of children around the world have one on the shortlist to pass on to Santa so we will make that decision about what one is the best for you easier.
For families that have younger children that are curious about VR devices, the best option is to start off with the cheap, entry-level VR offerings such as the Google Cardboard ($14.99USD), the SmartTheater Virtual Reality Headset ($19.99USD), the Google Tech C-1 Glass VR Viewer ($14.99USD) or the View-Master Virtual Reality ($29.99USD). All of these devices are cheap as they will connect to your existing smartphone and you can download VR compatible apps from the Google Play store or iTunes store depending on your platform of choice. At this end of the spectrum there aren’t a great deal of amazing apps but for the most part there’s a good selection of educational ones that are good for young children.
Families with teenagers
In this category we have VR Headsets which are more expensive than the entry-level VR Viewers but they offer a much higher quality virtual reality experience. Google Daydream View ($79USD), Merge VR Googles ($79USD) , VR Kix Virtual Reality Headset ($49.99USD) and the Samsung Gear VR ($99USD). As with the viewers, these headsets also work with smartphones so you can download VR apps straight from the app store of your platform with wide range of apps being free or relatively low cost.
Families with teenagers and a higher budget
So if you’ve got a couple of teenagers and you’d like to spoil them, there’s some high end VR devices that are on offer such as the PSVR which works paired with the Sony Playstation 4. If you don’t own a Playstation 4 yet, you can pickup the Playstation VR Launch bundle which includes everything you need (cables, console, headset and camera, motion controllers for $499.99.) Sony has said there will be lots of VR content constantly added as they are investing a lot of money into this sector so your kids will be entertained for a long time. It’s also good to periodically check the Sony PSN store as they will offer free games and free demos.
If your kids don’t own a console and/or prefer to do their gaming on a PC, your options are the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. The Vive retails for a whopping $799USD and the Rift sells for $599USD. These are the current flagship devices and will offer the most realistic VR experience with lots of content available on the Steam store. There are a lot of cheap VR games available from Indie studios on the Steam store so keep an eye out for those. Also another thing to keep in mind is that there is a lot of adult only content available that is compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift so as such the manufacturers have listed the devices as ages 13+.