Virtual reality
Visitors play "Star Wars: Battlefront", published by EA, using a PC during the Gamescom fair in Cologne, Germany August 5, 2015. The Gamescom convention, Europe's largest video games trade fair, runs from August 5 to August 9. Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

Virtual reality gaming is ready for the big change this year with a number of VR headsets expected for launch. While the Oculus Rift will start taking Rift preorders from Jan. 6, other virtual reality headsets are also coming within the next few weeks. However, Nvidia warns that VR headsets won’t run on many PCs around the world.

Nvidia’s warning may make current PC owners wary and think twice before investing into virtual reality hardware. Nvidia's general manager of Shield, gaming, and virtual reality, Jason Paul, said in an interview with Venturebeat that just around 13 million computers worldwide are capable enough to run virtual reality properly. It means that less than 1 percent PCs around the world will be able to run the VR experience with high performance and high-frame-rate for VR headset users.

For the most part, virtual reality has been mentioned alongside features like better multi-GPU scaling and asynchronous shaders to improve the performance of virtual reality. Tech companies have affirmed these, which raised the expectations of people for the technology. Nvidia’s main concern as of the moment is that most PCs won’t even run these games at better frame rates.

Oculus Rift owners will need to equip their computers with an AMD Radeon 290 or Nvidia GeForce 970 graphics card. According to a report published by Bloomberg, the users will have to drop at least US$ 300 (approx. AU$ 417) for the improvements to power and run virtual reality technology smoothly. This is almost as much as the price of the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Along with the graphics card, the Oculus Rift will also require an Intel i5-class processor, more than 8 gigabytes of RAM, and two USB 3.0 ports.

Those who are planning to invest in VR experience through these devices should note that not every VR device coming out this year needs a powerful PC. While Oculus Rift and HTC Vive will definitely require powerful PCs, Sony’s VR headset is already set to work with its signature PS4. Google and Samsung Electronics have also introduced smartphone compatible VR devices.

Oculus Rift Reveal - Step Into The Rift (Credit: YouTube/Oculus)