Virtual reality was clearly the talk of the town at this year’s Game Developers Conference, held last week in San Francisco. VR panel sessions were by far the most crowded talks, and you’d be hard-pressed to stand anywhere on the show floor and not be in sight of someone demoing a VR headset.
But while a headset will be your primary entry point into the new virtual reality future, it’s only one piece of the puzzle to attain the VR holy grail, “presence” — otherwise known as the point at which your mind and body feel that they’ve been fully transported to another world.
That’s why you see the current major headset manufacturers — Sony, Oculus, and HTC — creating special controllers that mimic the movements of your hands in 3D space. And that’s why a number of companies have devoted themselves to creating accessories that will allow you to do things like feel a dragon’s fiery breath on your neck, or run in place to simulate sprinting across a battlefield — anything that helps users achieve presence quickly.
We spoke to four of these accessory makers about their products and how they create the optimal VR experience. Here’s what they had to say.