By Evan Cassani

The holiday season is coming up, along with the annual hype of the new generation of gaming. This year, we are expecting Microsoft and Sony to come out with newly evolved versions of their consoles. The XBox One will become the XBox Scorpio, and the PlayStation 4 will become the PlayStation Pro.

You may be asking, what has been added this time around? This is just what the companies are advertising ever so strategically – virtual reality.

Virtual reality is a new technology that allows submersion into the gaming world. A headset blocks out the world and replaces it with an HD screen that bends to the face, allowing the movements of the head and body to register in the virtual world. 

Three years ago, the last generation systems were released with a huge impact on the public. During this time, motion sensors without a controller (such as Kinect) were the “big thing,” which they advertised this to be the “new age” of gaming.

It is happening yet again. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented (AR) reality games have taken the gaming scene by storm.  Sony recently released a virtual reality headset for their current system, which also advertises the technological boundaries that they are achieving. They want to showcase the future of gaming consoles, which will be featured in their new console, the Pro.

Microsoft is not far behind. Their new system ensures VR compatibility but has yet to develop a VR headset. Microsoft is rumored to be partnering with Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset developer.

It will be interesting to see how the companies advertise the partnership between the major powerhouses of Microsoft and Oculus Rift. It will also be interesting to see if Microsoft buys out Oculus Rift in order to get full credit. Microsoft has not only been a stand-alone company, but even more so, a stand-above company. History shows that they try their best to exclude credit to everyone but their own brand name. To buy out Oculus Rift would be a powerful move that would work in their favor – if they can manage the transition.

Currently, Oculus Rift is setting the price for its products pretty high. The Oculus Rift headset and touch pad together will cost more than $800. Buying the headset alone will cost around $600.

Maybe to some, the price is fulfilling of Oculus Rift’s slogan of  “[reaching] out and [touching] the future.” Through personal perspective, the price is a little high for the products at the moment. 

As for PlayStation, Sony has priced their headset to be about $400. It will be interesting to observe whether this strategy is smart, and whether they get better sales in the “console wars” during the holiday season. As the past has shown, Sony and their cheap prices during an initial release is eye-catching, but the raw power of the XBox alone may win over many people this season.  

Both companies’ goals have always been to accommodate the gamer. This includes the hardware, software, controller feel, console look, as well as the reputation of the company.

For me, it has always been about the games, and Sony is really making it clear that their console has something for all. Their exclusive PlayStation 4 games are rapidly gaining attention and their exclusive franchise is continuously growing.

Maybe it’s time for me to switch over to the Sony life. However, it is important to consider all these factors in order to decide if this is the new age of gaming and to choose which console fits best.

But all in all, this should turn out to be another great season for gamers.