Launch: HTC Vibe
The VR headset from HTC was released yesterday, at a 799 USD, not too far from it's competitor, Oculus Rift, and really seems to give the Rift some heat.
It has two very important elements lacking from other headsets: 1) Room sensors that track your movement around the room and 2) Hand controllers so you can interact and really move in the environment you're "in"
Between these two, you get "room scale VR" meaning, in case your mind was still functional and not blown to pieces after looking around a new world, you can actually move around (note: you need lots of space) this new world and interact with objects and things without pressing a pesky button to represent your hands and feet like on the cheap sets (all I can access or afford right now, no shame).
Here's a concrete example, or at least as concrete as it gets in VR. You're in a world, and there's a cute dog. You want to play with it, so you can grab a ball or stick and throw it. The dog goes after it. Happiness ensues. (View Valve video below)
All of this craziness doesn't come easily. Just like the Rift, you'll need to drop some serious cash, both for hardware and for space in your home. Recommended: PC w/ Intel Core i545-90 or AMD FX 8350 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 to get the 90 second refresh rate just like the rift. Others I've seen listed are Alienware X51 gaming PC with an Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card (1200 USD worth of plastic and semiconductors and metals)
Honestly, I'm a regular person and at the time of this writing, I have little idea what I typed in terms of computing requirements, but those things sound expensive enough for me to not buy.
According to an ign review, you'll also need a 6x12 feet space, so anyone that lives in a studio or one bedroom in Asia can just... make friends with someone that has a house. Not to worry, you can still play some games with more fulfillment than the Rift, as long as you can move your arms around comfortably.
Assuming you have all this down, you'll need to mount the senors on the wall (permanent) or keep them on stands. These are to track your head and hands. They're only 3 inch cubes so not so much of a hassle. Once you've found them a home on opposite corners of your space, you need to plug them in. Then you need to connect the two with the cable provided. To make a long story short, there's a total of five cables, three of which need to be plugged into the wall at all times. Rift has none.
-Hand controllers that actually feel like your hands in your virtual world
-Pass thru camera lets you get a glimpse into the real world when needed
-Chaperone system to alert you if you're going to collide with anything in real life
-Very high quality viewing and interactive experience
-Can do lots other sets can't
-1.2 pounds, kind of front heavy
-Frequent adjustment off the headset because it fits weird
-Lacks built in headphones (unlike Rift)
-Crazy amount of cables and power requirements and setup. A three cable bundle to your PC is a constant obstacle in your adventures
Valve's Review (hard to watch without getting jealous)
HTC Vibe Site
VR & AR are for everyone.