Do you want to make a VR headset? First, you should look at the cost it takes to do that.
Read this article to find out.
How Much Does It Cost to Make a VR Headset?
If you’re starting from nothing, the minimum costs for from-scrapple projects can often begin at around $15,000 (or even less).
A typical project for an artist would cost between $50,000 and $100,000, but budgets can vary depending on requirements.
The Ultimate VR Headset Buyer’s Guide
When considering VR, which devices should you consider? There isn’t just one device that’s right for everyone; in fact, once we start talking about cheap VR devices, there are far too many to list here.
For most people, the biggest decision will be choosing between the three main types of VR.
- Do you want to start out with the easiest tools available?
- Do you want the best possible experience?
- Are you somewhere in between?
Here’s everything you need to know.
The most basic type of virtual-realty experience uses nothing but a pair of cheap plastic lenses and a piece of paper as a display device.
It wasn’t called “Google Cardboard” until recently when Google started branding it.
Cardboard-compatible headphones, some made of plastic or even aluminum, are easily available.
They don’t allow you to use them for long stretches of time, and they aren’t designed to be worn for extended amounts of time.
Cardboard boxes are surprisingly uncomfortable, but even more comfortable plastic ones like the Mattel Viewmaster are only enjoyable to hold up for about 5 min at a go.
If you’re going to a technology convention or live in a big city, you can usually get a Google Cardboard for nothing.
Many companies partner with Google or another manufacturer to make branded headset products, like Verizon’s StarWars Cardboard giveaway.
You can also buy some cardboard and plastic lenses online, download a template from Google’s site, and make your own. Recently, Google has begun offering its own version of Cardboard called “Google Cardboard.” It costs around $15 per unit.
More than three-quarters of Americans own smartphones, and that’s all they need to use Google Cardboard. This is good if you don’t want to buy a new phone.
It’s also great if you’re an Android user, even though Google usually delays pushing new Cardboard functionality to the Android version of apps like YouTube
The basic cardboard shape folds into a stackable cube, and the smallest version is just slightly bigger than a pair of glasses.
The most well-known cardboard experiences are live-action short films that don’t need any motion capture at all, so the lack of motion capture isn’t much of an obstacle.
A headset must have exactly one input for it to be considered fully Cardboard compatible.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be a physical “on” switch; the simplest headsets on offer today are simply boxes and lenses with a small hole for one fingertip, allowing you to touch the screen directly.
On headsets that have touch screens, the buttons are usually little levers that push the screen for you.
The simplest VR headsets are not just the cheapest, but they’re also the most readily available.
There are dozens of cardboard-compatible headsets available for purchase through Google’s site, including some that look even better than the original View-Masters.
Cardboard headset lifespans are usually short, but they’re easy to replace.
Mid-range headsets offer a range of features that are a step up from Google Cardboard.
The best-known and by far the most advanced mid-range headset is the Samsung Gear VR.
There are also some less well-known options, like the Zeis VR One or the French HOMIDO device.
If you want a good quality mobile headset with a comfortable headband, expect to spend between $75 to $150.
With the Gear VR headset, you’re paying for an optimized version of Google Play Games, a better controller, and a whole bunch of attention to detail, from a dedicated app store to a custom design.
If you plan to trade in your old phone, it might be worth considering buying a new one that works with VR. Only the newest Samsung and LG smartphones support these devices.
There aren’t any specific headphones for iPhones, but they’re not too expensive either. We don’t know when (or if) anyone will change that.
Mid-range headsets offer a good balance between portability and comfort. They’re easy to use and provide a decent experience, but not quite as immersive as full VR.
Positioning tracking which senses the spatial movements of your head instead of simply sensing its rotation can mitigate this problem significantly.
However, at present, VR requires an external tracking camera to function, so it’s really only a useful tool for tethered headsets.
Mid-range headsets come in a wide variety of different types of controls.
Some headset manufacturers, like Homido and Zeiss VR One, offer nothing more than cardboard.
The Gear VR has one of the most advanced systems so far, a laptop-style trackpad that sits on the right hand of the headset. It isn’t perfect, but it offers various input options including swipes, taps, and presses of a separate back key.
You can technically connect a Bluetooth game controller to most smartphones and tablets, but that’s usually an awkward, inconsistent user interface, and it just adds another piece of equipment to carry around.
After a period of being hard to get, the Gear VR has become easier to find than ever before.
You can buy generic headsets like the Zeiss Vero One now. Otherwise, it’s just a waiting game.
Right now, the Gear VR has the most substantial non-cardboard app selection. It even has a few hundred apps, including some really cool ones that use its more complicated control scheme.
There’s no single answer to the question of how much it cost to make a VR headset.
For the most part, it depends entirely on what you want to do with it.
If you have any questions feel free to comment below.