Virtual Reality Arms Race Is Center Stage at E3 Video Game Conference

Big names in the virtual reality dominated at E3 2016.

— -- Last year at E3, virtual reality tech became a dominant presence in the electronic entertainment industry’s largest show.

During this year’s convention, the VR arms race was out in full force.

Facebook’s Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, two of the most popular and widely available VR platforms for gamers, continue to dominate the E3 show floor. Massive lines were constant at any demo that featured their tech. Despite those two main players grabbing most of the attention, some other new players in the space excited exhibitors.

A new arrival to the virtual reality headset scrum at E3 is Immerex and their VRG-9020. Unveiled to the public on Tuesday, the VRG-9020 was by described by CEO Adam Li as a sleeker, compact end-to-end headset option for movie lovers. Li, who founded the San Diego based company in late 2014, views the focus on the end-to-end system, in which Immerex is their own and only content producer, as a vital aspect of their infant company.

"This is a lifestyle product that will eventually be involved in high end video and movie production,” Li said. “We want to attract modern, tech savvy people that want to watch videos on a mobile platform."

Although the complete product wasn’t available for demos, the VRG did boast impressive high-res video capabilities. The computer, pictured above, looks similar to a CD player and houses the battery and media storage that connects to the headset via a cable.

“The amount of attention we’ve gotten is unbelievable,” Li said. “We never expected this to happen so quickly.”

The VRG-9020 does not have a price point yet and will likely ship in the first or second quarter of 2017.

Another huge presence at E3 is mobile phone-compatible VR headset developers. The most recognized name in this space is the Samsung Gear VR, but a new arrival in the space is Zeiss and their VR One. Zeiss, which has been in the optical imagery industry for 170 years, is now playing catch-up to companies like Samsung, but boasts an impressively versatile product.

Unlike the end-to-end experience of the Immerex headset, the VR One utilizes a smart phone display that is inserted into the headset via a detachable tray. It is compatible with smart phones that have 4.7 to 5.5 inch screens and can be used with any virtual reality game or app that is available on Google Cardboard.

The VR One’s massive lenses and large frame, which allows people that wear glasses to use the headset, offer the user a more streamlined experience that doesn’t require manual focusing on two or three different optical channels.