This week brought futuristic news for gamers all around the world. Two big companies are getting on the “backpack computer” ban. MSI and HP announced new portable computers that support VR technologies and can be carried out as a school bag. The MSI backpack PC was announced by the company on its website on May 25, and the Omen X VR PC was announced on May 26.
Smaller companies approached the concept of a portable VR-PC (Aorus and ZOTAC), but no one really paid attention until HP and MSI joined them.
In the past, a Japanese arcade brought a very interesting concept. The game used a scale under a mat which sensed changes in weight to move the protagonist of a shoot ‘em up. In other words, you had to move your own body to move the character. It was kind of a trend when it was released, but nowadays, everything you can find about it is YouTube videos. However, technology is amazing, and researchers from all around the world have been working on making games “more real”.
When video-game fans around the world heard about VR, most of them got very excited. The idea of controlling a light saber with your own hands, or putting on Master Chief’s shoes on a futuristic gunfight can be very enticing. However, gamers form one of the most exigent and curious internet communities, and they knew how difficult was to make that possible.
There are two key components required for these devices to be considered VR. First, you need something that lets you “live” the fictional world, something that lets you at least see and hear the game. In this regard, there are lots of goggles that allow you to do such things, the Virtual Boy by Nintendo and the VXF1 Headgear by Forte Technologies, for example.
Then, you need to be able to control the character using your own body, and this is when it gets tricky. However, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony provided some options with the Kinect, WII Remote, and PlayStation Move, respectively. These companies are working on their own projects to fuse VR-goggles with a movement detector controller.
“Free from the restraint of a fixed VR platform, users get to move around and enjoy VR with big movements and total immersion. No more worries about accidentally unplugging the wires between the VR device and the platform. MSI Backpack PC renders greater mobility and freedom for VR gaming.” Reads MSI’s official website on its backpack PC.
The master race
But it seems that they are taking too long to achieve it, and computer makers took the lead by creating the backpack PC. It is basically a desktop in the form of a school bag that connects to VR-googles and body sensors that track your movements.
Two big companies entered this arena, and they are trying to best position their products. HP’s Omen X VR PC is going to work with Intel processors I7 and I5, ram memory up to 32GB, and solid state hard drives. It will work with HTC Vive Headset, and its swappable batteries are expected to last around an hour. The company is expected to reveal all the details by summer.
On the other hand, the MSI Backpack PC is shrouded in mystery. The company has said almost nothing about it besides the fact they are planning to use only I7 processors and the GTX980 graphic card. The specs are going to be released to the world on the annual tech “stravaganza” COMPUTEX Taipei 2016 which is going to take place in 4th floor of the Taipei World Trade Center Nangang in June 2016.
Hewlett-Packard may be one of the most famous companies in the mainstream, but MSI has been a favorite for gamers and PC builders around the world for years, so it is too soon to predict who will deliver the best device.