I'm not sure I'd ever use a VR headset with my tablet in public

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: June 18, 2014

I am so glad that gaming on mobile devices has come as far as it has. Don't get me wrong, when I look back at the "old days," when I was trying to get the high score in Snake or Brick Breaker, I remember them fondly, and generally get a pretty big smile on my face. But we have so many great games available for our smartphones and tablets these days, ones that look genuinely beautiful and play remarkably well (even on a touchscreen), it's hard not to be happy we've come so far.

It's obviously going to keep getting better, especially as our phones continue to bring to market impressive specifications under the hood to make better looking and bigger games possible. As a gamer, I can't wait to see what happens next, and to see what kind of games developers come up with. Titles like Monument Valley are genuinely gorgeous to look at, and a ton of fun to play. There's the Modern Combat series that aims to try and reached console-level graphics with each new iteration, and the results are outstanding for mobile devices.

And as the mobile gaming market matures, and the number of people playing games on their devices continues to rise, we're going to see developers and companies start to branch out into new ideas. The home console market is seeing a big focus on virtual reality right now, with the company Oculus starting the push and Sony jumping into the fray in a big way.

It looks like mobile isn't going to miss the VR train, either.

Samsung may have just officially announced a better Galaxy S5 for South Korea, that shouldn't have surprised anyone. We've been hearing about it for awhile (and I'm sure we'll be hearing about it again, if it takes up another model name and launches internationally). But something else we've heard about from time to time is Samsung's rumored VR headset, which is meant specifically for mobile devices.

The last time I used a virtual reality headset, was when VR was a big thing back in the late 90s, maybe early 2000s, I believe. (It was a long time ago!) I remember being in an arcade and being strapped into this huge machine, with a gigantic helmet and visor put on top of my head. I got to feel like I was really running around a digital landscape, my head turning every which direction as I walked in place. I looked ridiculous, and so did everyone else I saw who tried it out.

The benefit of having an Oculus Rift unit in your home, or some day Sony's Project Morpheus, is that it's in the comfort of your own home, so even if you do look ridiculous staring up at the ceiling for minutes on end, no one else can see you (unless someone's there with you, obviously). Samsung wants to make it possible for people to enjoy VR wherever they are, but I'm not entirely convinced that that's something people actually want.

I remember when the iPad first launched, and I watched people play tilt-based games on the device. They'd be sitting in their chairs, tilting the giant screen this way and that, usually lost in the game and not really paying attention to the people around them. Could you imagine someone doing that on a plane or train, or even in a waiting area? They've got their Samsung-branded tablet on their lap, they hook up their VR headset and put it on, then start playing some intense first person shooter so they have to look around frantically?

Virtual reality was something I thought had died all those years ago, but I'm glad to see it's making a comeback, mostly because the technology we have today makes it genuinely worthwhile. Still, I'm not sure that that's something I want to use while I'm out in public. More than that, though, I'm not sure I'd want to ever haul that particular accessory around.

But what about you? Would you use a VR headset while you were out in public, waiting for a doctor's appointment or while you're traveling? Or is a VR headset something you'd skip? Let me know!

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