vr: the price of buy-in

So yesterday I found myself pondering if I would like to get a Playstation 5 now that the supply chain is not going entirely into the hands of scalpers. I’ll wait until they’re down a bit, honestly, or until a PS5 Slim comes out. There’s very little in the way of games on my radar that I can’t play just fine on the PS4 Pro, and I don’t have a 4k TV to push more pixels to.

This escalated into stonedly estimating how much I have spent on the entire ten-year tenure of my PS4, including every single game I’ve bought on it, and the PS4 Pro that I effectively got for half-price after selling my PS4 to a friend. And then that lead to me contemplating if I wanted to remain on the Sony version of the Sit On Your Ass In Front Of The Interactive TV Channel for the next decade or so.

What if, instead, I got a Windows box and subscribed to the Dance Around In VR And Also Sit On Your Ass Channel? So I asked my friends and followers: I currently own zero Windows boxes; about what would it cost to put together a system capable of letting me bounce around in Beat Sabre and VRChat with a custom avatar of my fursona, and track enough of my body to see that avatar in a virtual mirror as I dance around the studio and/or living room.

It seems to look like the buy-in from scratch is about $1-3k. And now I am going to have a long, boring list of prices and suggestions that I copied out of the various replies.


  • $600-1200ish
  • here’s a $900 PC build suggestion that’s also suitable for work uses (Intel Arc 770 video card, $350)
  • here’s a $630 build suggestion that’s just good for games (Radeon RX660, $200)
  • VRchat is single-core-performance constrained, which translates into a lot of heat, you want liquid cooling. Especially here in the sub-tropics.

Graphics cards:

  • a PC with a 980Ti is “fully sufficient for that” (~$500 video card)
  • NVidia GTX 1080 or better at least, an AMD RX6600-XT is the cheapest example ($350), an Nvidia GTX 1080-Ti is a bit faster for not much, an Nvidia RTX 4070 costs and performs 2x if I want some future-proofing.


  • Quest 2: ~400 new, has Zuckerberg’s pasty fingerprints on it.
  • secondhand HTC Vive (“you can upgrade to Index controllers without having to buy the whole Index set!”) $450-1000 used
  • HP Reverb is great for minigolf but the person with it would recommend HTC for full-body tracking (Reverb v1 was $600 new, Reverb G2 is the same, also Windows Mixed Reality is nigh-dead as a VR platform)
  • Apple’s rumored to have a $3k headset coming this year, with a cheaper model and a more powerful model in the pipe for later on. Will they let me be a porny dragon with tail and titty physics though?
  • Sony does of course have a VR headset but, again: can I be a porny dragon with tail and titty physics in anything they offer?
  • Vive XR Elite: $1k, super adjustable
  • Vive Flow: just for phones, my phone is too old for it
  • Vive Pro: $1400
  • all the vives would also need 3-4x trackers @$130 each = $520
  • Valve Index full bundle: $1k, plus 3-4 trackers


  • slimevr does some full body stuff but is no good for dancing, disrecommended (open source, ~$400 for a body’s worth of assembled trackers)
  • $1000 for Valve Index full bundle plus $300 for three more trackers should be able to handle dancing
  • a Kinect can do full body tracking pretty cheap but a little less accurate, and it needs more space. Might have to keep facing the Kinect too. $12 used to $30 new is pretty good though.

so let’s add up some minimums:

$600 PC + $450 used Vive + $60 2 Kinects = $1100

$600 PC + $450 used Vive + $520 4 trackers = $1570

$1000 feels in my comfort zone, $2000 feels like too much, and I think $1500 is right at the top of my comfort zone for this unless I get multiple thousands of unexpected dollars in the next few months. I don’t expect it to stay usable for VR for more than 4-5 years. Probably fine with sit-on-your-ass-and-play games for a while though, I feel like I’ve been seeing a lot of interesting indie games come out on just Steam and the Switch lately.

Meanwhile the hotel down the street that throws regular poolside raves has some rather confusing prices, I’m not sure if the Swim Club yearly membership is just for using the pool, or for the raves as well. $300/y or $10/visit, maybe more for rave nights I dunno? Check next time I pass. I’d be in my normal fleshy body but I’d sure be subscribing to the Get Off My Ass And Dance channel.

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