CES was full of incredible demos and possibilities for new technology in the VR space. 4K VR is essentially already here, with better headsets coming. But the big deal this year was that 8K was on the horizon. It seems like only yesterday 1080p was the optimal resolution, and we’re already at 8K.
So, we’re here to look at the basic question of whether it’s worth it to even consider an upgrade at this point.
Pros and Cons of 8K VR
First, let’s look at the pros and cons of 8K VR.
Higher Definition Virtual Immersion
The first benefit is the most obvious: everything will look absolutely incredible. Every blade of grass will offer incredible insight into a living world that was only skin deep and already so amazing. Higher resolutions and output definitions allow for more detail at a closer view, like the way more megapixels in a camera mean you can zoom deeper into a high definition photo. At 7680×4320, you have a lot of space to pack incredible detail into.
In fact, photo-realistic might not be all that far off from what 8K can output. I’m including some screenshots of Black Desert, Battlefield Hardline and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor to give you an idea of what’s possible.
These are major games with a massive development effort behind them, known for being visually stunning. Bethesda could be one of the first in this space to do something like this with Fallout 4 and DOOM VR.
Potentially Better Eye Tracking
This one’s a little tricky, but the science suggests a few things about what causes motion sickness. Essentially your eyes and hands are doing things your brain is having trouble comprehending, which causes a kind of nausea.
8K, and the computers that run it could do a great deal in providing a more realistic experience that translates better to what the brain sees as the real world. We might also have details that help orient us in the environment with 8K applications.
Requires a Beefy PC
Let me say that the luxury experience involves Nvidia Titan GPUs. Two of them. It’s possible you built something like this if you bought an HTC Vive, or are anticipating the Vive Pro, but it’s not likely for most people.
You need an incredible PC that has been blessed by divine hands to run 8K with current requirements. That said, if you’re a professional you might have one of these PCs lying around with some unused space.
How Many Titles Use 8K?
Basic practicality. The titles offering 8K already have a massive development effort and major community behind them. We are VR advocates here, but we’re realistic that 8K VR at the consumer level just isn’t here yet.
Cost and Availability?
The closest you can get to an 8K headset at this point in time, as a consumer, is a PImax headset that isn’t quite ready for mass deployment yet. Most likely, if you’re interested in 8K right now, you’re a developer looking to create something new and interesting.
A Few Questions…
Who is going to use 8K VR? You are if you’re fortunate enough to live near an amusement park or gym or studio that employs one of these incredible devices. You will use one for a variety of interactive museum exhibits and learning experiences. You might even use one for product design. Probably not for fitness just yet, but 4K gaming is exploding so you’ve got enough definition to hold you over for now.
So that begs the next question: what totally awesome VR experiences are waiting right around the corner to utilize 8K?
Final Thoughts on 8K VR
8K is a really cool idea, although I admit I am personally experiencing a tiny bit of tech fatigue in the process. My PCs are set to get upgrades to accommodate VR, one for fitness and the other for racing purposes. The prospect of 8K means I am in the unique position of choosing to go all in on 8K, or baby steps into 4K. Both are sizable investments.
Some of you probably just upgraded, which is where tech frustration sets in. Don’t worry. The trends we see, point to 8K staying at the professional level for the time being, but 8K gaming is already here if you want to invest that kind of cash. You’ll certainly be ready for any headset VR will throw your way for the foreseeable future.