General VR discussion thread

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Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Perfect timing. Should still be able to cancel my Rift pre-order if it looks like there's more value here.

It's a mix...the Vive has some really neat technology like the lighthouse beacons & front-facing camera, but the Oculus is shipping with a couple games & has already shipped over 100,000 units to developers so far. That's a huuuuuuge development base. I'm considering getting both, especially since I'm sure it would be easy to flip (and probably for a profit) if one turns out to be significantly better than the other. Gizmag has a good article on how important the developer aspect is:

http://www.gizmag.com/oculus-rift-review-hands-on-2016/41264/

They have an excellent point at the end of the article...this is just like when the first iPhone was released. We are early adopters & are paying a premium to play with solid but as of yet under-developed hardware. I got an iPhone when it came out & have never looked back...this is the same feeling, where I can see potential in the first-generation product, and it's useful enough to pick it up now rather than once it gets further refined.
 
Nov 20, 2009
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Is 360 degrees as a term being used simply for 2D capture? Was thinking more along the lines of all three axis being captured. For instance, if I were using a drone in my home with some sort of setup to capture every nook and cranny that my own eyeballs could see as I walk about, looking up, down, left and right, etc., that is what I would want to capture, have coordinates mapped to everything spot, etc.

The 360 degree seems limited in terms of viewing up and down.
 

Subyman

Moderator <br> VC&G Forum
Mar 18, 2005
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That is a good point about developer acceptance.

What I like about Oculus is that it is all they do. They are nothing but VR, but are backed by a wealthy company. The other guys chasing this market are large companies that are testing the market, but it isn't an all or nothing mentality. They can always pull out and continue to do well in other areas. If I had to rank the probability of doing well, I'd go:

1. Oculus- They've shown restraint and took their time cultivating a developer base and developing commercial hardware
2. Vive HTC/Valve- HTC can make nice hardware and already has ties to manufacturing and sourcing. Valve can leverage their platform. Valve has a poor history of abandoning projects or simply letting them stagnate. Valve seems to have project ADHD.
3. Sony VR- Addon console peripherals have notoriously had poor adoption rates within the industry. The console market is much more price sensitive than the gaming PC market, so initial acceptance may be poor.
 

Ns1

No Lifer
Jun 17, 2001
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I was thinking about this last night....

Microsoft Flight Sim or Star Citizen on VR? O_O
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Is 360 degrees as a term being used simply for 2D capture? Was thinking more along the lines of all three axis being captured. For instance, if I were using a drone in my home with some sort of setup to capture every nook and cranny that my own eyeballs could see as I walk about, looking up, down, left and right, etc., that is what I would want to capture, have coordinates mapped to everything spot, etc.

The 360 degree seems limited in terms of viewing up and down.

Correct, 2D spherical capture. You can do it with a single camera using a panoramic stitcher program (iirc Cardboard has a free one available). Same idea as taking a panorama, but you fill in all of the areas. There's 3D 360 as well, where you use dual cameras to capture a 3D image & then use a stitching app to merge your spherical panorama, but that requires extra hardware. LOTS of extra hardware in this case:

http://www.360heros.com/2014/01/worlds-first-fully-spherical-3d-360-video-and-photo-gear/

The problem with 360 is exactly what you mentioned, you have to have a mounting point somewhere - a selfie stick off a motorcycle, a tripod on the ground, or a drone attachment gimbal. There are a variety of clever ways to hide it...you can take a photo of the area & photoshop it in, you can blur it out, you can black it out, you can put a menu there (like in the Viewmaster apps), etc.

There's also 3D POV, but that's a different discussion :biggrin:
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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But no price on the Vive yet eh?

Nope, but it will mostly likely be more expensive than the Rift due to the extra hardware. Pre-orders start February 29th, shipment date is April.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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That is a good point about developer acceptance.

What I like about Oculus is that it is all they do. They are nothing but VR, but are backed by a wealthy company. The other guys chasing this market are large companies that are testing the market, but it isn't an all or nothing mentality. They can always pull out and continue to do well in other areas. If I had to rank the probability of doing well, I'd go:

1. Oculus- They've shown restraint and took their time cultivating a developer base and developing commercial hardware
2. Vive HTC/Valve- HTC can make nice hardware and already has ties to manufacturing and sourcing. Valve can leverage their platform. Valve has a poor history of abandoning projects or simply letting them stagnate. Valve seems to have project ADHD.
3. Sony VR- Addon console peripherals have notoriously had poor adoption rates within the industry. The console market is much more price sensitive than the gaming PC market, so initial acceptance may be poor.

I thought their leak was funny. "Hey, let's test the waters since the Oculus is $600 plus a $1k PC" ... "$800? No freakin' way!" & then all of a sudden "uh, that leak was an error" lol:

http://www.roadtovr.com/sony-playstation-vr-price-leak-800-error-amazon/

Yeah, as far as rich backing goes...Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion & said they need to clear 50 to 100 million units to be meaningful, which they also said they know they can't do in just a few years:

http://www.pcgamer.com/facebook-oculus-rift-will-need-to-sell-50-100-million-units-to-be-meaningful/

The money is staggering though...if they sold 100 million units at the current $600 price, they'd rake in $60 billion. For comparison, the PS4 has only sold 35.9 million worldwide so far, so they'd need to do something awfully compelling with the Rift to make it meet their desired quota.
 

Subyman

Moderator <br> VC&G Forum
Mar 18, 2005
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The money is staggering though...if they sold 100 million units at the current $600 price, they'd rake in $60 billion. For comparison, the PS4 has only sold 35.9 million worldwide so far, so they'd need to do something awfully compelling with the Rift to make it meet their desired quota.

They'd need to fill out the lower price points with product before they could even sell more than a few million units. I would be surprised if they preorders numbered more than a few hundred thousand.
 
Nov 20, 2009
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Correct, 2D spherical capture. You can do it with a single camera using a panoramic stitcher program (iirc Cardboard has a free one available). Same idea as taking a panorama, but you fill in all of the areas. There's 3D 360 as well, where you use dual cameras to capture a 3D image & then use a stitching app to merge your spherical panorama, but that requires extra hardware. LOTS of extra hardware in this case:

http://www.360heros.com/2014/01/worlds-first-fully-spherical-3d-360-video-and-photo-gear/

The problem with 360 is exactly what you mentioned, you have to have a mounting point somewhere - a selfie stick off a motorcycle, a tripod on the ground, or a drone attachment gimbal. There are a variety of clever ways to hide it...you can take a photo of the area & photoshop it in, you can blur it out, you can black it out, you can put a menu there (like in the Viewmaster apps), etc.

There's also 3D POV, but that's a different discussion :biggrin:
I'm imagining a drone with a colored guard around its periphery that stitching software from above/under spherical lensed capture devices would make it easy.

While the capture devices are capturing, a pass-through video feed (wireless, of course) for production videographers would allow for on the fly navigation and capturing, else use some sort of programmable interface to map out spaces--but that is another problem.

Damn, maybe something less sophisticated like a stick held horizontally with an above/below capture device, but you would need to render out the monkey holding the stick. LOL Then again, maybe two above and two below capture devices to provide that stereo (2-scene) capturing for best VR.

BTW, my interest isn't personal. Well, it is, but more for someone else.
 

PrincessFrosty

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Feb 13, 2008
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Now that we have 4k smart phones like the Sony Xperia Z5 Pro it's just a matter of time before we have 4k VR and I think that's going to be worth the wait, the Oculus CV1 just isn't worth the upgrade over the DK2 especially considering it's price, the Vive might be quite good it just depends on the final specs.

This is a product space that I think will have aggressive competition especially given that the main problem is the screen itself and we already have insane competition in the screen market due to smart phones. Let's face it, all the smart phones in the next 3-4 years will be 4k in the same way that all of the smart phones now are 1080p or some rough approximation.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Now that we have 4k smart phones like the Sony Xperia Z5 Pro it's just a matter of time before we have 4k VR and I think that's going to be worth the wait, the Oculus CV1 just isn't worth the upgrade over the DK2 especially considering it's price, the Vive might be quite good it just depends on the final specs.

This is a product space that I think will have aggressive competition especially given that the main problem is the screen itself and we already have insane competition in the screen market due to smart phones. Let's face it, all the smart phones in the next 3-4 years will be 4k in the same way that all of the smart phones now are 1080p or some rough approximation.

The only problem with that right now is the available GPU capabilities. The absolute minimum recommended is a GTX970, which is second only to the GTX980, so you need one of the top two gaming cards on the planet to even run the current Oculus CV1. If 4K could even be done today (dual 4K screens @ 90fps, that is), it'd probably require multiple 12-gig Titan X's in SLI or something (and afaik, VR-SLI support doesn't even exist at the moment), which would cost thousands of dollars. But with how rapidly phones are improving, I'm hoping things will change rapidly & we'll see that dream of 120-FOV & 8K-resolution happen sooner rather than later!
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
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The absolute minimum recommended is a GTX970, which is second only to the GTX980, so you need one of the top two gaming cards on the planet to even run the current Oculus CV1.

Actually, you're ignoring the consumer variant of "Big Maxwell" (GM200), aka the GTX 980 Ti. Given the delta between the cards (about +30%), you really shouldn't be doing that. :p
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Actually, you're ignoring the consumer variant of "Big Maxwell" (GM200), aka the GTX 980 Ti. Given the delta between the cards (about +30%), you really shouldn't be doing that. :p

Meh, I consider that a 980 too, just a more powerful 980. Have it in my build specs actually:

http://forums.anandtech.com/showpost.php?p=37940719&postcount=12

Couple that with a good power supply, a Gigabyte G1 mini-ITX board, 3.4ghz i7-6700 CPU, 32GB RAM, 512GB Samsung 950, and a 6GB eVGA 980Ti (it will fit the case, as it's 267mm & the Corsair box takes up to a 290mm GPU).

Afaik, that's still the most powerful card short of the 12GB Titan X, and the 980Ti itself is really just a baby Titan X:

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/...itan-x-performance-at-a-fraction-of-the-price

Overall, the GTX 980 Ti is a very modest step down from what the Titan X offers. It has 22 SM clusters as opposed to Titan X’s 24, for a total of 2816 GPU cores (a roughly 9% reduction). Trim the texture units by the same ratio (176 as opposed to 192) and keep the total number of ROPS the same (96). Then cut the RAM in half, for a total of 6GB, down from 12GB, and voila — you have the GTX 980 Ti.

So I guess if you want to break it down:

1. 970
2. 980
3. 980Ti
4. Titan X

All I see is 970 & 980 though, so Pascal better hurry up before my Oculus comes :D
 

PrincessFrosty

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Feb 13, 2008
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The only problem with that right now is the available GPU capabilities. The absolute minimum recommended is a GTX970, which is second only to the GTX980, so you need one of the top two gaming cards on the planet to even run the current Oculus CV1. If 4K could even be done today (dual 4K screens @ 90fps, that is), it'd probably require multiple 12-gig Titan X's in SLI or something (and afaik, VR-SLI support doesn't even exist at the moment), which would cost thousands of dollars. But with how rapidly phones are improving, I'm hoping things will change rapidly & we'll see that dream of 120-FOV & 8K-resolution happen sooner rather than later!

Well there's a lot more than 2 cards better than the 970, and with the option of SLI/Crossfire that expands the options a lot. However yes the power requirement is a concern, but like all technology video cards are improving consantly as well. In fact we've been quite off the mark with GPUs, we've not managed to stick to moores law for quite some time now, being stuck at the 23nm node for ages.

There's a lot to look forward to with things like 16nm Finfets around the corner and stacked DDR RAM, we could be looking at a huge performance increase. We can already comfortably run a lot of games in 4k at decent frame rates anyway, I do this already on my 980. Sure some of the most blisteringly on edge graphics don't run completely maxed out, but as a general rule of thumb, most games work OK in 4k with playable frame rates.

The 90hz deal with the displays isn't a deal breaker to be honest, dropping frames in the DK2 doesn't cause huge issues for me, it can quite easily run below the 75hz mark and still give a good experience.

I think by the time 4k VR is doable the hardware will be there to support it, it will just be the higher end. The vast majority of Rift games and tech demos so far don't have particuarly awesome or taxing graphics anyway, they don't really need them to provide a fun experience.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Lol, that's a pretty big omission.

What will be interesting is if NVIDIA ever actually implements VR-SLI, so you can do one GPU per eye. $2600 for a pair of Titan X cards, ouch! And no 4K Oculus yet.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Well there's a lot more than 2 cards better than the 970, and with the option of SLI/Crossfire that expands the options a lot. However yes the power requirement is a concern, but like all technology video cards are improving consantly as well. In fact we've been quite off the mark with GPUs, we've not managed to stick to moores law for quite some time now, being stuck at the 23nm node for ages.

There's a lot to look forward to with things like 16nm Finfets around the corner and stacked DDR RAM, we could be looking at a huge performance increase. We can already comfortably run a lot of games in 4k at decent frame rates anyway, I do this already on my 980. Sure some of the most blisteringly on edge graphics don't run completely maxed out, but as a general rule of thumb, most games work OK in 4k with playable frame rates.

The 90hz deal with the displays isn't a deal breaker to be honest, dropping frames in the DK2 doesn't cause huge issues for me, it can quite easily run below the 75hz mark and still give a good experience.

I think by the time 4k VR is doable the hardware will be there to support it, it will just be the higher end. The vast majority of Rift games and tech demos so far don't have particuarly awesome or taxing graphics anyway, they don't really need them to provide a fun experience.

That's the thing tho, SLI etc. is currently unsupported, so it's useless at the present time. So they have to fix the software first, and then start beefing up the hardware to support higher resolutions.

I'm really curious as to how long it will take to reach the pinnacle of 8K @ 120 FOV. They're showing off 8K TV's at CES & Samsung was talking about an 11K mobile display, but we'd still need the hardware to back it up. Either way, I've been having fun with my Viewmaster & I'm excited to get my hands on a CV1. I'll probably pick up a Gear VR in the meantime just to have something better than my iPhone 5S to use as a VR display (SDE + VHS lol).
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
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I'm actually curious how well it will work with mobile devices. I have a laptop with a GTX 980M, which is the minimum mobile GPU required, but the thing is... there's really only one better GPU: the GTX 980. Nvidia recently setup the desktop chip to work in laptops, and given that the mobile chips are more like 1 step lower than their namesake (i.e. 980M ~= 970), the 980 is the best that you can get. The 980M would actually be pretty awesome with the Vive as I could set it up in one of my rooms that is fairly empty without much of an issue.
 

Subyman

Moderator <br> VC&G Forum
Mar 18, 2005
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Oculus has already received enough flak from people A) not being able to run the VR headset or B) thinking the price is too high. I don't see a way for them to have gone down the 4k road just yet as much as I would have liked it. The cost would have probably been another $100 or so if the tech was even available to them. On top of that, people have been complaining enough about the 970 minimum, just think what the blow back would have been if you needed a 980TI minimum to run the 4k at 90hz (even that is likely only possible in old source engine games.)

Oculus has had a hard time finding the right balance of performance, price, and image quality. I think they have a decent mix of accessibility to enthusiasts and quality, but that is yet to be seen completely until they are in our hands.
 

JTsyo

Lifer
Nov 18, 2007
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There are a variety of ways to do it, for example:

1. Using your cell phone's camera (360 still photos & side-by-side video)
2. Using a dual-camera setup (3D)
3. Using a 360 camera setup (360 video)
4. Using a VR camera (multiple cameras built into one rig)

Stuff like Homido Player has a video recorder that translates the footage into side-by-side video for you to watch in your Cardboard. A dual-camera setup is better because then you get real 3D (because it's two pictures that are offset so you get the 3D effect). You can also do a 360 camera rig like with a bunch of GoPros:

http://www.360heros.com/

https://gopro.com/news/happy-sweet-sixteen-introducing-gopros-360-camera-array

There are a lot of VR cameras starting to come out. Nikon just beat everyone out of the gate with a VR action cam at CES:

http://www.roadtovr.com/nikons-4k-360-camera-rugged-ready-maybe-not-vr/

Or the professional Nokia Ozo for $60k, which is a bubble of cameras:

https://ozo.nokia.com/

VRSE shot "The Displaced" using eight GoPros on a pole. The Odyssey from GoPro holds 16 cameras for $15k:

http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/8/9261745/gopro-google-odyssey-virtual-reality-camera

So, there are a lot of ways to do it. The Viewmaster comes with a Destinations app that you can download on your phone, which uses 360-degree still photos to let you look around your location - you don't need a 360-camera rig for that, just an app that does panoramas. The Google Cardboard app itself actually lets you do that - instead of just Pano, it's a full 360 shot that you spin around for:

http://www.wired.com/2015/12/google-cardboard-camera-app/

So the equipment & capture method depends on what kind of still or video footage you want to create. I think a really good example of what you can do with VR is VRSE's "Take Flight" experience, which has high-end photography (well, video - well-lit floating actors) & a neat flying/falling/floating feeling, plus a bit of CGI & stuff. The amount of work & planning to execute stuff like this in VR is insane though, but I think it would be really fun to shoot a movie like that (whereas I'd probably never ever shoot a 3D movie - I did like Avatar, but literally nothing else I've seen in 3D has been good so far - but VR is a very immersive experience & you can do some really neat stuff in it).

Didn't the ill fated Amazon fire phones come with 3D cameras?
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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I'm actually curious how well it will work with mobile devices. I have a laptop with a GTX 980M, which is the minimum mobile GPU required, but the thing is... there's really only one better GPU: the GTX 980. Nvidia recently setup the desktop chip to work in laptops, and given that the mobile chips are more like 1 step lower than their namesake (i.e. 980M ~= 970), the 980 is the best that you can get. The 980M would actually be pretty awesome with the Vive as I could set it up in one of my rooms that is fairly empty without much of an issue.

I don't have the link handy, but from what I was reading yesterday, the mobile GPU's didn't stack up quite enough. I'd like to get solid information on that however. I was considering a BRIX with a 2GB 970GTX:

http://www.amazon.com/Gigabyte-i7-4710HQ-Barebone-Components-GB-BXi7G3-760/dp/B00OJZVGFU/

The quad i7 in that is a laptop model & ran a bit under a desktop i5 iirc. I set those up on a regular basis tho, so when my Rift comes in, I'll have to give it a try. Would be cool to have a micro-box to power the headset!
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Didn't the ill fated Amazon fire phones come with 3D cameras?

Yes, but for a different purpose - gaze tracking:

http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/20/how-3d-works-on-the-amazon-fire-phone/

Basically, it had four IR cameras on the front of the phone that tracks your head sixty times a second. That creates the effect of "looking through a window" when playing supported games & stuff - it basically tilts the camera in the game left or right (or up & down) for a kind of digital depth perception trick that lets you peer through the looking glass. You can do that to some extent with the front-facing camera on a regular phone, but the IR camera lets it work in the dark too (plus has more accuracy because there's more cameras).

For 3D to be captured for video, you need a pair of cameras so that the perspectives are slightly off to create the 3D effect. Then it merges those two images (for example, using a left & right picture with a lens, like on Google Cardboard) into a 3D image for you to see. You can do a 360 panorama with just a single camera, but it won't be a 3D 360 panorama unless you capture it with dual cameras. And if you want to do 3D 360 video, then you need a bunch of camera pairs (or offset cameras that overlap) to capture the full 360 scene in 3D (stereoscopic 360 video capture), like this:

gopro-google-camera-array-rig-0096.0.jpg


DSC00633.0.jpg


Ultimately, it depends on the effect you want to create. Like the Gear VR has Netflix theater is just a 2D image in a 3D environment - the video isn't 3D, it's 2D video painted onto a screen in 3D space. So you can watch movies in a little cabin:

netflix-vr.jpg


And it does the left & right eye trick to merge the 3D room together:

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/cSU_7ZPOYHA/maxresdefault.jpg

The effect is actually pretty cool. I tried the Google Cardboard video player on my buddy's Galaxy S6 and it basically put the videos he had shot onto a 10-foot projector screen in front of you. It was a little soft & the pixels were visible (not nearly as bad as my old iPhone 5S tho!), but once you started watching, it was a very usable experience. Would be cool to chill on a recliner & watch a movie without having to have a whole home theater setup, haha!
 

PrincessFrosty

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Feb 13, 2008
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That's the thing tho, SLI etc. is currently unsupported, so it's useless at the present time. So they have to fix the software first, and then start beefing up the hardware to support higher resolutions.

I'm really curious as to how long it will take to reach the pinnacle of 8K @ 120 FOV. They're showing off 8K TV's at CES & Samsung was talking about an 11K mobile display, but we'd still need the hardware to back it up. Either way, I've been having fun with my Viewmaster & I'm excited to get my hands on a CV1. I'll probably pick up a Gear VR in the meantime just to have something better than my iPhone 5S to use as a VR display (SDE + VHS lol).

Ah, I wasn't aware SLI isn't yet supported, my apologies.

A few things to keep in mind is that advancements won't always come from raw power. For example the angle of your vision which is actually able to discern a lot of detail is about the size of your thumbnail at arms length, very tiny. The rest of your vision has increasingly less ability to discern detail. So it's plausible that we'll see specialized panels in future which have varying degrees of quality resolution across them with patches of higher resolution.

This can also be done in software, Nvidia worked on a technique of lowering the effective rendering resolution of the edges of VR screens because these are pre-warped by shaders which the lens's inside the Rift unwarp to give you apparent flat surface, however this causes compression loss of information, so it's possible to render these areas with lower resolution prior to the warping and next to no information is lost.

In general though, resolution is just something that goes up over the years, once you've been present in the hardware enthusiast community you see these trends, I remember the days of 640x480, it's just continual growth in both resolution and graphics hardware to push it, and games tend to be targeted at a balance between these things.

In the very short term though the stagnation of GPUs for probably the last 4 generations is something that we're about to overcome and I think that's going to unleash a lot of power, we're behind that moorse law curve of growth and when we make a leap to catch up with it I think that's going to be epic. I can't wait to see what Pascal provides, if we really do dive to 16nm processes skipping several failed generations at once, I think we can expect single cards that can handle 4k just fine on 99.9% of games.

The amount of mis-information about 4k is dumb anyway, people continue to bleet that it's not ready yet because there's no single GPUs that can run it, but the simple fact is that there's only a tiny number of extremely high end games which aren't suitable for 4k on something like a 980/titan right now. Once you adopt the position of averages, such as the average person is playing DOTA2, TF2, CS:GO and things like this, which easily run at 4k maxed out, and that maybe 0.01% or less of games really aren't do-able on 4k, it starts to make much more sense.