VR: cheap and mobile or expensive and immersive?

On one hand we have Facebook's Occulus Rift charging $599. On the other we have McDonalds give a VR viewer away with a happy meal. Which approach will win?

There has been more than a little consternation at the launch price of devices like Oculus Rift – at $599, it’s a long way from being a mainstream and accessible entertainment device – especially when you consider the high-end PC specs you need to run it.

And yet, as attendees at NEXT15 learnt, you can get access to the technology of VR for a lot less money – with your mobile phone and some cardboard.

Which is what makes initiatives like this so very interesting:

Yup – McDonalds is giving away free VR headsets, of the Google Cardboard style. That’s one way to get VR to a whole bunch more people. And the fast food giant isn’t the only company making initiatives like this. The New York Times has been giving away VR headsets to its subscribers. You can get a sense of the sort of VR storytelling they’re doing by looking at some of the examples.

And so we get this interesting situation where you have high-end VR demanding serious computing power – and low end VR making use of your phone and a few Euros of cardboard. Will the two eventually converge – or will one approach come to dominate. And if the latter is true – would you bet against the phone and viewer solution?