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How virtual reality will shape the future of your PC hardware

Mark Hachman | March 28, 2016
VR's very specific set of hardware requirements is already influencing the components that go into your PC.

VR catches consoles mid-cycle

Sony may have launched—and quickly sold out of—its PlayStation VR preorders, but the PC seems to be well-positioned to capture the market. That’s because consoles like the PlayStation 4 are already several years old, while PCs can be constantly refreshed.

“VR will be a multi-tier experience, like all entertainment platforms,” graphics analyst Jon Peddie said in a statement. “Consoles will appeal to the casual user, whereas the PC with three to four times the processing power will be the platform for the intense gamer.”

It’s also the sort of challenge that has the PC industry smacking its lips. Of late, the PC industry has put forward a tired old argument that says hundreds of millions of PCs are five years old, and PC owners really ought to upgrade with new components. With VR, this argument becomes more compelling since it means a customer can actually do something new with his or her machine.

“With VR, the analogy that I’d use is that [PC makers] climbed a big set of stairs, turned a corner, and—there’s an even bigger set of stairs,” Bob O’Donnell, the principal analyst at Technalysis Research, said. “There’s nothing like a new set of meaningful challenges to drive them forward.”

 

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