The concept of virtual reality (VR) has been around for several decades, but, until recently, even the best VR headsets were not very accessible to consumers from either a cost or usability standpoint. Apart from a few cool demos, VR seemed like vaporware. Now, however, headsets are becoming less reliant on external hardware, and developers are creating first-party games that take full advantage of the medium. Fans of nearly every genre have excellent choices and should find at least a few games of interest in our roundup.
Our list of VR games covers the top titles for the HTC Vive, Oculus Quest 2, PlayStation VR, Valve Index, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets (some titles will even work on discontinued or soon-to-be-discontinued hardware like the Oculus Rift S. Many of these devices (and the games themselves) have gotten cheaper in the past couple of years, which makes them a more easily justifiable purchase.
If you choose the HTC Vive, Valve Index, or a Windows Mixed Reality headset, keep in mind that you also need a powerful gaming desktop or VR-ready laptop to push pixels to the headset displays. For the best possible experience, make sure to find systems equipped with speedy CPUs, top-of-the-line GPUs, and a sufficient number of USB ports for connecting all these peripherals. PlayStation players are lucky that they don’t have to worry about specs; any PS4, PS4 Pro, or PS5 will work with the PlayStation VR headset. Some VR products, such as the Oculus Quest 2, are mostly self-contained units, though you can connect the Quest 2 to a PC to power more graphically intense experiences.
Other VR and augmented reality (AR) platforms, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Samsung Gear VR are not included in this list, as those headsets are intended for a different audience altogether. HoloLens, for example, has more professional and commercial applications. Nintendo Switch has also made a push for virtual reality with its Labo VR Kit, but that platform is also beyond the scope of this roundup. Google Daydream is sadly discontinued now.
Do you have any favorite VR titles that didn’t make the list or disagree with any of our choices? Send in your top picks. We’ll update this story from time to time, so your choice could appear in the next update.