Skip to main content

Absolutely immersive VR isn’t right around the corner, AMD says in new white paper

Oculus Rift
In the virtual reality world, the last year or two has been defined by specs, regulation, performance numbers, and all of the other technical details that must be navigated on the road to a consumer release. Over at AMD, however, the discussion has been a bit more ethereal, according to Tom’s Hardware. During a Gamescom interview, the GPU manufacturer shared thoughts on the perfect, totally immersive VR setup.


With computers and graphics cards purpose-built by AMD for VR applications already in development, the White Paper on Immersive VR instead focuses on the methods of thinking and planning that will lead to more sophisticated development. Rather than dealing exclusively in the resolution, headsets need to be thought about in terms of field of view degrees, as well as pixels per degree, or PPD. In addition to the center of our vision where we focus both eyes, modern VR needs to take the full range of our peripheral vision into account.

In addition to reconsidering how we view and measure displays, the resolution also has to be much higher than any that we have access to now. The AMD white paper explains that the human visual system is incredibly detailed and sophisticated, and accurately reproducing graphics at the quality required to fully harness that would require a 116 megapixel display, 29 times the resolution of current 4K monitors.


Latency has been an issue for VR use as well, and one with dire consequences. If a system and display aren’t responding quickly enough to head movement and controls, users will quickly become nauseous. Current display refresh rates are typically around 60, and as high as 144 for high-end gaming, but AMD says 200 is a better target.

And it’s not just about how you see the VR world, it’s about how you interact with it. For traditional gaming, a keyboard and mouse is great, but head and gesture tracking will largely take the forefront of near-future VR. In an ideal world, fully immersive VR would combine the newest input methods like haptic feedback and positional audio with unseen new input and response methods.

There are any number of hurdles between current computing capabilities and the world that AMD envisions, from graphical performance and display manufacturing, to the fact that AMD cites as-of-yet unidentified input methods as necessary for immersion. Still, it’s clear to see that the technology has a bright future ahead — and one that manufacturers are already preparing to support.

Editors' Recommendations

Brad Bourque
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Brad Bourque is a native Portlander, devout nerd, and craft beer enthusiast. He studied creative writing at Willamette…
The Pimax 8K VR headset isn’t actually 8K, but it’s still pretty cool
pimax 8k vr headset 2

Sometimes it feels like CES is all about big numbers -- whoever plants their flag in the biggest, most impressive spec, wins. Pimax is a Chinese startup company which made waves in 2017 with its virtual reality headset that it claimed was the first 8K VR headset. The promise of the highest-resolution VR experiences won over nearly 6,000 backers invested more than $4.2 million into the Kickstarter campaign.

Here at CES 2018, we got to try out the newest iteration of the company's VR headset. It still promises an 8K resolution, but now includes head-tracking technology this time around, which was missing in previous models.

Read more
You can't beat HTC's new bundle packing Vive, the GTX 1070, and 'Fallout 4 VR'
GTX 1070

If you’re looking to take the plunge into high-resolution, hardcore virtual reality experiences, HTC has a mad-crazy deal for you. For a limited time, you can purchase a bundle containing the HTC Vive VR headset kit, a GeForce GTX 1070 add-in card for desktop PCs, and the upcoming VR version of Bethesda’s Fallout 4 game. All of this can be yours for the low price of $800.

On its own, the Vive VR system costs $600, and includes the headset, two external motion-tracking sensors, two motion controllers, and a box connecting the headset to your PC. Meanwhile, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card for desktops has a base price of $400 while Fallout 4 VR will cost $60 when it arrives on December 12. Add all that up, and normally you would spend $1,060. HTC’s new bundle brings a savings of $260 to your wallet.

Read more
Jump into virtual reality using new HTC Vive with free 'Fallout 4 VR' bundle
Fallout 4 Vr

Looking for an excuse to finally get a virtual reality headset? After already decreasing the price a few weeks ago, HTC Vive has announced a new hardware bundle that includes a pre-order of Fallout 4 VR. Starting Monday, October 2, anyone who purchases a Vive will receive a free code for the upcoming title.

Fallout 4 VR takes the acclaimed post-apocalyptic adventure from Bethesda Game Studios and brings it into the virtual world. Players can interact with the full game using new combat, crafting, and building systems that take advantage of the immersive headset. This marks the first full-length AAA open-world game to make the jump to VR.

Read more