Why are VR games so hard to run compared to normal games?
The field of view in a VR game is much wider in order to be more immersive and is therefore more resource intensive. There’s also more spatial awareness to be aware of in VR sounds and light have to be exactly right and coming from the right directions or the immersion won’t work
VR games have to process double the volume of graphical data and perfectly synchronize it, while front loading head and controller movement data as well. There’s just way more data to crunch that has to perfectly synchronize or the suspension of disbelief is shattered.
It’s running in full resolution twice. There is a separate display for each eye, meaning each frame has to be rendered twice in the same amount of time a typical pc would be expected to render 1 frame.
That’s a lot more work for the hardware.
The game essentially has to render to two hi-resolution monitors simultaneously, from slightly different viewpoints to create the stereoscopic illusion, both of them at a frame rate double that of your average monitor, while maintaining millisecond latency to avoid input tracking lag, with enough performance headroom to guarantee there will be no frame stuttering, and it has to do all of this perfectly to minimise the risk of causing nausea to the user.
Nausea is one of the biggest hurdles that VR headset designers have to take into account. When you are sat in front of a monitor on a desk , you can tolerate the odd drop in performance, but when the game world is your only frame of reference for spatial awareness and balance, any sort of interruption is incredibly jarring.
I was using my phone with a cheap AliExpress headset and Vridge for a while just to get a taste of what VR is like, and while it’s fine to just experiment with, the moment the video feed starts to glitch, it’s like having your head ripped off your shoulders and then shaken about as if someone’s trying to make a frappe out of your brain matter.
That said, there is nothing technically stopping you from running VR on lower spec hardware, it’s more of a case that the developers of the games would rather wash their hands of any responsibility for you having to hire a carpet cleaner.
Because you have to have it run in real time, no lags, no glitches, no freezing, no buffering. With every other game there’s *some* leeway in performance, but when VR has performance issues, the game gets unplayable, causes dizziness and tires the eyes very quickly.