MVR Global, a British VR startup, is set to produce the first cross platform, backwards compatible, tether free VR headset in 2017. The VR system, called the Ascend, has the ability to turn existing and future PS4, Xbox One and PC games into tether free VR. At this present time there is no other VR system such as the Ascend which also promises to be affordable from around $245 (£199) when released. The Ascend will bridge the gap in the market between basic smartphone based plastic versions of the Google Cardboard and the immersive but expensive tethered high end systems like Vive, Rift and PSVR – systems which also
have a lack of high quality AAA game content.
The MVR Ascend is a headset which doesn’t function in a conventional way like others – one of its most compelling features is that it will be able to play existing AAA franchise games like Call of Duty of GTA, for example, in tether free VR – something no other headset can do. Another interesting feature of the Headset is that it has a flip-up front end which allows users to easily interact with the “real world” unlike all other headsets that need to be completely taken off to do so. The system works with smartphones or a dedicated screen that can be purchased and is necessary for Xbox One users. The Ascend headset also has built in headphones that are very comfortable which makes it easier and clutter free compared to other headsets that need additional headphones, hence more wires, connected.
The system was on show at the EGX exhibition, in September 2016, where a number of industry professionals and public alike tried and highly rated the very early stage prototype on show.
The company was founded in 2012 and since then has been in R&D to create this affordable and tether free system. It will be a long time until a AAA franchise game comes to the Vive, Rift or PSVR – developers will not focus on VR until it is a viable industry with a large install base. The Ascend will be released in summer 2017.