Technically, virtual reality (VR) is very cheap to operate. Simply purchase some Google Cardboards for $10ish, pop in your cell phone and have fun. If you work in a low income community, it’s not that simple. I work in a low income community and my teens either don’t have cell phones or the phones they have don’t have a gyroscope. We have several Google Cardboards but they are virtually useless-LOL.
The Oculus Rift can be a solution if your library can afford $400 per goggle and you have an Xbox. If you don’t have an Xbox, that’s gonna cost you a couple hundred more. The other downside to the Rift is that only one person can play at a time so if you can only afford one that means long lines or appointments.
Good new, friends. Oculus has created a cheaper VR experience called Go. The Oculus Go retails for about $200/goggle. You don’t need a cell phone or a video console to operate it. The OS is in the goggle! I bought a two sets and here’s my assessment. Disclaimer, I’ve never played with the Oculus Rift but I’ve done Google Cardboard so I can’t compare the Go to the Rift.
Pros to the Oculus Go:
- It’s easy to set up. Once you put on the goggles, the instructions are easy to follow. You do have to download the app to an iPad or phone and create an account but that’s it. You don’t have to attach the iPad or phone to the goggles.
- The graphics are great. The graphics are clear and you feel like you are in the room/game.
- You get two hours of game time on a full charge. I’d recommend allowing patrons to play for 10 minutes and you can get ten patrons to participate in two hours on one pair of goggles.
- The games are fun. There’s horror, dinosaurs, roller coasters, blockbuster movie tie ins, and educational apps.
Cons to the Oculus Go:
- Apps. There are some free apps but the good ones do cost anywhere between $2-$15. If you have the budget, go for it.
- It takes three hours to charge so if you only have one and a lot of patrons, you’ll run into troubles. I’d recommend having VR as part of a program. This way everyone can get five to ten minutes on it. You can also make appointments for patrons if they want to use it longer. It is recommended to not play while it’s charging.
- You need wifi. If you take it off site, make sure your location has wifi or invest in a personal hotspot.
- It gets sweaty. The games can be intense and you can get pretty sweaty. The cushion will get sweaty between patrons so just be aware.
- Most games require the player to stay in one place. A staffer who plays the Rift tested it and he said you can move in the Rift. There are some Go games where you can walk but most are stationary.
I think it’s worth purchasing. I’ve played the horror games and was totally scared and I love scary stuff and don’t scare easily. We had teens test it and as you can see below, they loved it. The teen in the video is playing Face Your Fears-a free app. Lower the volume a bit; there is screaming.