Are you considering buying a VR headset and want to know if you can only use it for gaming? Well, that’s a great question. The popularity of VR headsets has exploded over the last five years. New games like Beat Saber and Superhot have been all the talk. But are VR headsets really only for gaming?
Today, VR headsets are used not only for gaming but also for things like attending live events, touring foreign countries virtually, and watching movies. The ability to virtually experience real-life situations is revolutionizing how companies and even the military train their workers.
As technology becomes more accessible, more industries will continue tapping into the possibilities of VR headsets. Here’s a list of some of the ways VR headsets can be used outside gaming:
- Virtual Tourism
- Watching movies
- Attending Events (including concerts)
- Training (Work/Military/Medical)
When you are deciding on the right VR headset, it’s best to go with a well-known brand to avoid issues, such as compatibility, in the future.
Using a VR headset as a computer monitor
A VR headset can be used as a computer monitor, and there are some great benefits to doing so such as more privacy, distractions can be avoided from your surroundings, and there is no desk space required compared to monitors.
Most VR headsets have a few different ways to connect to a computer. The most popular method is by using a Link Cable or connecting wirelessly.
There are third-party applications to help you do this, such as Virtual Desktop; however, when in doubt, contact the manufacturer of your headset for the best recommendation.
For instance, to use an Oculus VR headset as a monitor you need to follow the following steps:
- Open the Oculus app on your computer
- Select the Oculus button on the right controller
- Select Oculus Desktop
Using a VR headset with a computer is the perfect option for users who have limited desk space for multiple monitors. It also avoids distractions present in your room or office and cell phone, helping you focus on the task at hand.
For those who need privacy, no one will be able to peep at your screen while you are working. If you haven’t used your VR headset as a computer monitor, you should try it out!
Using a VR headset on a laptop
Some laptops can work with VR headsets, but not all of them. If your laptop uses Windows 10, is moderately powerful, and has at least 8GB of RAM, then it should be capable of running VR headsets.
Gaming laptops with fast processors and high-performing graphics cards are perfect for VR headsets. Unfortunately, top models like the Oculus are not compatible with macOS, but that could change in the future.
For those who haven’t yet purchased their VR headsets, check out the laptop VR requirements for the top models. A few laptops in the market allow you to upgrade them with new processors and graphic cards to meet the requirements.
The following video explains how you can connect your VR headset to your laptop:
Watching movies using a VR headset
VR headsets can be used to watch movies and are an excellent way to re-experience your favorite films. You can use your VR headset to watch movies on most streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.
Keep in mind that unless specified as a 3D movie, your viewing experience will be in 2D. However, it’s still an excellent way to submerge yourself in the film.
If you are interested in watching Netflix on your Oculus, follow these simple steps:
- Open the Oculus home screen
- Select Netflix
- Install the Netflix App
- Sign in or become a member
- Start streaming
Using VR controllers without the headset
Most VR controllers can only be used with a headset, but a few exceptions exist. VR controllers are equipped with tiny LED sensors that the headset continuously tracks and takes images of. Without the headset, the controllers wouldn’t function properly.
There are a few games that have a flat-screen mode, like PlayRoom VR, that can be played without a headset, but these are rare.
It’s technically possible to trick your headset into thinking you are wearing it, allowing you to use the controllers without the headgear, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. The gameplay would be inefficient and clunky. So, unless you play games in flatscreen mode, you’ll need a VR headset.
Using the PlayStation VR headset a PC
A PlayStation VR headset can not work on a PC without the help of third-party software. Your computer won’t be able to recognize your headset when it’s plugged into your computer. You’ll have to download SteamVR software that allows you to connect your PlayStation headgear to a Windows PC.
However, you still won’t be able to use your controllers. So, you’ll have to find games that support Gamepad or Keyboard and Mouse controls.
Playing computer games through your PlayStation VR will have slightly lower resolution and frame rates. But it is still a fun and unique way to use your headset and experience games in a new way.
Check out the video below to learn how to set up your PlayStation VR headset for a PC.
Is a VR headset a computer?
A VR headset uses computer technology and motion-tracking sensors to let users experience a virtual environment, but it’s not quite a computer. Although headsets are improving at a remarkable rate, they’re still restricted in what they can do. Most have short battery life and need to be tethered to a PC.
However, users can now surf the web with their VR headsets and access popular apps, such as Facebook, Wall Street Journal, YouTube, and several more.
In April of 2022, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Meta team would focus on designing VR headsets that replace laptops and workplace setups.
The company will have to figure out how to include word processing and spreadsheet creation in VR headsets, but it’s possible that your next laptop could be a VR headset. Who knows!
VR headset technology has made great technological leaps over the last five years. Today, the devices are no longer just for gaming. There is a wide range of uses for headsets. From attending live events to training medical workers, the possibilities are limitless.
VR headsets might not be as capable as computers, but that could change in the next few years. Users can already surf the web and access their favorite apps. With large companies like Sony, HTC, and Meta working on the future of the VR experience, it’s safe to say that we are only in the beginning stages of what VR headsets can be used for.