VR is growing faster than ever before. However, continued growth of the technology will require it to step outside the bedrooms and home-offices of its current user base - tech and gaming enthusiasts. There are multiple reasons - both on a practical and metaphorical level - that this shift will be necessary.
To begin with, many VR experiences require space for the user to move around. Some even require motion or action. Often - not always, but often - these kinds of physical actions can be inconvenient, difficult or outright impossible to perform in the kinds of office spaces where VR-capable PCs usually reside. As the software and hardware involved evolves, it’ll become more and more difficult to get away with squeezing VR experiences into an office or study.
Bringing VR out of these spaces will serve to help it attract the new audiences it needs to continue growing. There are plenty of potential VR users who are either turned off by how ‘out of reach’ or ‘out of touch’ virtual reality experiences can sometimes appear. As with more-traditional console gaming experiences, moving VR from a private space to a common one will serve to gradually shift attitudes towards the technology.
In order for it to grow further and truly embrace its mainstream potential, VR is going to have to make the jump to the living room. In addition, given the technical demands required for high-end virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, high-end PCs are going to have to make that journey as well. Of course, in order for them to do so, they’ll have to become smaller. New form factors - like that found in the MSI Vortex G25 - will be needed.
New Form-Factors Are Needed
In the past, there’s been a clear divide between the slim and sleek designs of home consoles like the Playstation and Xbox and the lumbering towers of PC space. The idea that bigger equals better (performance) has been reinforced at every turn. However, these kinds of form-factors aren’t going to play as well in a living-room setting.
When it comes to these sorts of common areas, it’s more desirable to have your entertainment kit play quietly play nice together than have any single part of it become the center of attention. To this end, VR-ready PCs are going to have to adapt to their surroundings - and learn to fit in.
Such adaptations can already be seen in the MSI Vortex G25. The Vortex weighs just 2.5kg and features a set of VESA mount slots. This means that you can attach it to the back of a monitor or TV, further reducing the physical footprint of the PC within your living room to something that’s almost or completely out of sight. Even if you don’t make use of the VESA mount, the compact and slim form-factor of the Vortex G25 means it is easy to set up, pack away between use or move around to best suit your living room.
More Than Just Good Looks
Regardless, how your PC looks are only really going to matter if it comes ready to meet technical expectations. In terms of how powerful these living room PCs are going to need to be, the Vortex G25 again acts as a strong example. VR experiences require a lot of graphical grunt and processing power and the Vortex G25 is poised to deliver, courtesy of eight-gen Intel i7 processors and Nvidia GeForce 1070 graphics.
For similar reasons, VR-ready PCs designed for the living room will also need to incorporate the best possible cooling solutions. Technologies like the Cooler Boost tech featured in many MSI products will become more and more prominent. The most-advanced version of this feature - Cooler Boost Titan - incorporates 15 heat pipes and multiple dedicated fans, allowing users to achieve the best possible performance without compromise. It can be found in both the Vortex G25 and the GT83VR gaming laptop.
What’s more, unlike similar ultra-compact gaming PCs, the Vortex G25 has been designed to be upgraded (tool-free!) over the long term. This is important because, over time, VR is inevitably going to get both more advanced and more technically-demanding. In such circumstances, being able to upgrade your living room PC becomes more than just a perk - it’s all but going to be required.
The Bottom Line
We’ve always thought of gaming PCs as these big bulky boxes or towers. However, with the rate at which technology is advancing, these might soon seem as antiquated and old-fashioned as computers from the 60s and 70s do today.
Virtual reality is set to be big. However, before it gets big, it’s going to have to move to outside of the office - and PCs like the Vortex G25, which deliver the optimal blend of portability and power required for this, are likely along for the ride.