One of the big trends at Computex was being VR-ready, and everyone from Asus to Zotac was there showing off systems made to support the latest VR headsets straight out of the box. But when it came time to choose one of those headsets to demo that VR readiness, it was clear that there was one headset PC makers overwhelmingly prefer.
That's because nine times out of 10, the headset that was hooked up to all those VR-ready PCs was HTC's Vive. Sure, there were a handful of stations showing off the Oculus Rift, but as I walked from booth to booth, it was impossible to ignore the forest of tripods holding up Vive lighthouses and the excited shuffling of helmeted attendees exploring new virtual landscapes.
And really, it's not hard to see why. With its room-scale tech that lets you feel and move around in real space, the Vive can offer engaging VR experiences like the WWII-based first person combat in Front Defense, or a VR skydiving simulation the Oculus can't match. But even more than its top-tier tech, the Vive is also pushing innovation in a way the Oculus Rift isn't.
That's because at Computex, there were no fewer than three companies showing off self-contained VR rigs that put everything you need to explore alternate digital worlds right on your back. And while these forward-thinking devices may be a little rough around the edges and are bound to be expensive, just a few minutes playing around with the true, untethered experience from MSI's VR backpack was enough for me to know that this is where VR is heading.
On top of that, Microsoft announced that the Vive will be one of the first third-party devices to run Window's upcoming Holographic OS. So not only will the Vive offer industry-leading VR, you'll also be able to check out augmented reality apps without needing to purchase a second device.
By contrast, there was almost nothing noteworthy that came out of the Oculus camp, which seems like a sin by omission considering Computex was the first major trade show since the Rift and the Vive became available to consumers in late April-early May. If there was ever a time to plant an early flag on the VR battlefield, last week was it. And the Rift didn't even show up.
That doesn't mean the Rift can't claw its way back with big announcements at its second Oculus Connect conference, which is coming up in late September, but for now, the industry has spoken. So while VR may still not be ready for the mainstream, for those who really want to be on the leading edge of the virtual revolution, the Vive is the headset to get.