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I Really Want a DecaGear…

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 05/08/21 at 10:42 PM CT

Late last year, I was excited about the prospect of finally pulling the trigger on a VR setup to usher in the new 9th Generation of consoles… devices I will continue to steadfastly ignore unless something drastic changes. Of course, last year, we didn’t know there was going to be an earthshattering silicon chip shortage, causing the newgen consoles, new PC hardware, cars, and, yes, VR headsets to become somewhat scarce.

However, while reading up on VR a bit to see what the best 2021 options for the tech happened to be, I learned of a new contender in the VR headset space: Deca.

While Valve, HTC, and Facebook’s Oculus are the established names in the young VR space (with PlayStation VR and Microsoft’s Hololens coming across more as afterthoughts), in such a new technological space, there’s plenty of room for new contenders to appear, and so far, Deca seems to be quite impressive.

First, the company itself is a multi-national group with facilities in Thailand, Singapore, and Brazil – the good news: NO CHINA. It’s also good to potentially have a foreign competitor in the VR ring, since domestic American-designed (and Chinese-manufactured *shrug*) solutions from the likes of Valve and Facebook often fail to take into account that the entire world isn’t made of money.

Thus, one of the most compelling things about the DecaGear VR headset is the fact that it costs half of what a Valve Index goes for, weighing in at $450 instead of $999. At the same time, the DecaGear promises all of the best features of both the Index and Microsoft’s neglected Hololens, while also including some novel features of their own.

Parity
The DecaGear employs the same ‘inside-out’ technology as the Hololens, allowing the headset itself to locate the included motion controllers in 3D space. This is a huge cost saver when compared to the external Lighthouses the Index uses, but it’s also a significant space saver for those with limited room (or limited desire) to work with room-scale stuff.

Like the Valve Index, the DecaGear’s motion controllers have individual finger tracking capabilities. Unlike the Valve Index, a pair of controllers is included in the base price!

The DecaGear also promises full SteamVR integration. Combined with the third-party ReVive compatibility layer that makes Facebook-locked VR titles play nicely with OpenVR, it looks like DecaGear owners will have unlimited options when it comes to their VR libraries.

Novelty
In addition to combining the best features of and better pricing than the other big players in the arena, Deca also has a couple of unique cards up its sleeve. First, the DecaGear headset features not just head-tracking, not just hand-tracking, but thanks to a pair of cameras in the goggles themselves, also includes face-tracking, which will be great for all those VR multi-player experiences… that… don’t… really exist yet…

Next, Deca has released a separate device called DecaMove, which clips to a user’s belt/waistband, and then employs hip-tracking to enable a new form of in-game movement. While I’m not 100% sold on DecaMove, it’s gotta be better than an omni-directional treadmill… and it a LOT cheaper at $70 (the cost of a new PlayStation title *cough*).

So, if the DecaGear has me so hot-and-bothered, and I’m in possession of a new gaming PC with an RTX 3060 under the hood, why am I still pontificating about it instead of playing with one? Well, there’s the rub: I missed out on the pre-order window for a DecaGear headset and now, thanks in part to that darned chip shortage, I’ll be stuck waiting until the company opens up for pre-orders again, probably after they ship their initial batch in Q4 2021! So, here I sit, $450 burning a hole in my pocket, but the object of my desire is out of reach. I guess VR will just have to wait another year…

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