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Hands-on experience with Acer’s Mixed Reality VR headset

by Tarvin Gill

When I was in Taiwan, attending Computex, the nice people over at Acer invited me to visit their popup booths that were set up in the shopping district of Taipei 101. There, they were displaying all of the products that they showcased during their Next@Acer event that happened a month back. The Predator and Nitro gaming devices were there and they even had an e-sport arena that they set up for a competition that was going to happen later in the evening. The booth that peeked my interest was the VR experience section where they allowed me to try the Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset, and I must say, I was quite impressed by it.

This headset did not come with a strap that holds the head unit to your face but rather, they mounted it on a helmet because we were playing a Mecha game that placed us in the pilot seat, which was pretty cool I must add. Not only did they take the effort to give us an immersive viewing experience, they also placed us in hydraulic powered chairs that will shake and move according to the actions in the game. If one of us took melee damage, the chair will rock left to right and when I was using the boost to cover a wide distance of the map, the chair will tilt backwards simulating inertia.

Even if I was in the VR world and the chair was moving and shaking a lot, I did not even once felt any motion sickness, I even tried it out twice and I was totally fine, something that other headsets can’t seem to overcome. The image quality, however, is slightly lower when comparing it to something like the Oculus Rift, but that helps in reducing the cost of the headset, unlike big price tag on both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive

The only difference, the Acer VR headset compared to other VR alternative is that it does not require external sensors as the cameras mounted on the front of the headset allows it to know your position in the 3D world and helps warn you when you are going to walk into a wall or getting close to an obstacle. I believe that will be its biggest selling point of the headset, the fact that you don’t have to worry about calibrating the sensors or the number of wires you will have to be careful not to trip over.

Acer’s Mixed Reality headset is not available in Malaysia as of yet, but the experience I got was very close to the feel of my Oculus Rift back at home. Coupling the VR experience with the hydraulic chair, Acer could very well have the power to change how arcades operate. Rather than sticking with the traditional arcade machines, they could well enough place these kinds of setups in mall arcades or even VR Cafes around Malaysia. This gives the chance for more people to experience inexpensive VR and opens the way to a new market of VR gamers in Malaysia.

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