There are more head-mounted displays on the market than ever before with tons of games and accessories available. This gift guide outlines the headsets, accessories and games you should look for with each of the major VR systems available this year.
Also be sure to check out our breakdown of the market for VR headsets in 2017 that we prepped for Black Friday that was more focused on the pros and cons of each system.
$200-$500 PlayStation VR Bundles
For millions of PlayStation 4 owners this bundle of the PSVR headset, camera and Gran Turismo is likely the lowest cost way to get VR in 2017. The bundle is typically $300, but Sony announced a deal starting Dec. 10 that would bring it down to $200. Lots of really interesting virtual worlds like Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption require the Move controllers to play, and even games like Skyrim VR are better with hand controllers. So lopping that $100 off essentially makes the Move controllers free. The PSVR experience really isn’t complete without them.
There’s also the $400 Doom VFR bundle to consider as well as the Skyrim bundle which includes the controllers for more than $500. One thing to consider is if you have a PS4 Pro and an ultra high definition television with HDR, the Doom and Skyrim bundles include a slightly updated PlayStation VR system that allows HDR pass through so you don’t need to unplug the system to get that feature on your TV.
$400 Oculus Rift And Touch Bundle
Oculus Rift is very comfortable and includes the best hand controllers on the market at its now-standard price of $400. For the greatest level of freedom with Rift you’ll want to buy at least one more $60 sensor.
$600 HTC Vive
Of the three major wired VR headsets, HTC Vive offers the greatest amount of freedom to explore a virtual world. Two base stations installed around the outside of your space and plugged into power is all you need to move your head and hands freely.
- $25 Pair Of TrackStraps attaches the Vive Tracker to your feet so you can see your full body in games like Island 359.
- $30 VR Cover waterproof facial interface can take care of sweat
- $45 2x Stands to hold base stations instead of mounting them to the wall
- $100 Deluxe Audio Strap makes audio more convenient
- $115 VRGE Dock-SE for Vive charges controllers and holds the headset when not in use
- $150 Hyper Blaster bundle includes a Vive Tracker with a colorful gun that fits right into a game like Duck Season
- $150 Racket Sports Set bundle includes a Vive Tracker as well as a realistic ping pong paddle and tennis racket for increased immersion in some sports games.
$130 Gear VR and $100 Daydream View
Gear VR powered by Oculus offers the largest selection of quality mobile VR apps, so if you’ve got a recent Samsung phone it is a relatively low cost way to enjoy a limited but convenient VR experience.
Don’t discount the Daydream View, however, which sells for around $100, includes some great Google apps and integrates beautifully with Chromecast so people outside VR can see what the person in VR is seeing. If you’re getting a Galaxy S8 or S8+, you could get both Gear VR and Daydream View and enjoy VR apps from both the Oculus store and Google Play.
$400-$500 Windows-based VR Headsets
VR headsets based on Microsoft’s technology have been on the market the shortest amount of time. These headsets range from $300-$500 and come from manufacturers including Lenovo, Acer, HP, Dell and Samsung. They are much easier to set up because they track themselves, but the Windows Store is still lacking many big titles that are big draws on the other systems. You can also play games from Steam too, but as of this writing it requires you have a powerful PC to make it work.
These headsets are really new, but with the exception of Samsung’s, which has a better OLED display, the differences between each of them are fairly minor. The prices below should be considered rough guidelines, however, as the manufacturers are offering a variety of discounts across different websites.
In addition to the exclusives outlined earlier, there are some standouts that can be played PlayStation VR, Rift or Vive that we recommend checking out including Star Trek Bridge Crew, Eve: Valkyrie and Werewolves Within. Each of these games offers cross-play between different headsets so finding people to play with is easier.
And if you want to go it alone we recommend checking out Arizona Sunshine, Doom VFR and Superhot VR.