2022 looks to be the best year for VR yet with a slew of new anticipated headsets on the way including the Meta Quest 3, Apple's AR Headset, Project Cambria and PSVR 2, and it now looks like another firm could be entering the fold with quite the hotly anticipated device.
Arpara recently launched a Kickstarter fund for their VR headset that they state should come with 5K Micro OLED displays. The devices do look pretty good on paper if the feature list provided is to be believed, and it looks to be the case that people are excited about their release.
Let's take a closer look at what could be heading our way.
What Are The Arpara 5K Micro OLED Headsets?
Arpara's 5K Micro OLED headsets look to be the two latest VR headsets to join an ever-growing selection of devices, and backers on Kickstarter have evidently taken to the project, as the device reached its Kickstarter funding goal in just 15 minutes.
At the time of writing, the Kickstarter fund is sitting at well over $500,000 with 1200 or so backers, and it's still got 45 days to go until the middle of February 2022.
For context, the fund started on the 16th December so it could be possible for the fund to go even higher, maybe into seven figures if the hype is sustained for a decent period of time.
The headset comes in two varieties: an all-in-one variant like the Oculus Quest 2 and a tethered option that is more akin to older VR headsets like the Oculus Rift S.
It is also worth noting that this isn't the first time that we've seen a VR headset successfully backed on Kickstarter within the last couple of months as a Sword Art Online inspired HalfDive headset has also been funded on the platform.
When Will The Two Headsets Be Released Fully?
As this is a crowdfunded project, of course, a release date isn't as set in stone as with a normal product.
The Kickstarter listing provides a window of March 2022, which is just a handful of months away and would certainly put the pair of Arpara headsets well ahead of any competition it may have, including the Meta Quest Pro, the Meta Quest 3, and Apple's AR Headset, too.
If Arpara can bring the headset to market that quickly, it would make it the first 'new' VR headset to launch that could hold a candle to the Quest 2, which has certainly become a runaway success over the last year or so.
In order to do this, it will need a beefy spec sheet and feature list, especially given how versatile the Quest 2 is, with its ability to play Steam VR games alongside having handy features such as hand tracking and a large games library and some brilliant accessories.
Luckily, the Kickstarter listing does provide some reference to this exact point, with the fact it the all-in-one Arpara headset should have pancake lenses, alongside other features like WiFi 6 and a 6500mAh battery and featuring the ability to play Steam games with a compatible tracker.
Opinion: A Kickstarter Success Or One For The Tech Graveyard? Only Time Will Tell
There's no doubt that these two Arpara headsets do look rather good on paper, not least with the smashing of their Kickstarter goal in a matter of moments, but also looking into the respective, quoted specs of the device.
The Kickstarter listing refers to it having a Qualcomm XR2 chip, like the Quest 2, and a 90Hz refresh rate for the tethered version and a 120Hz refresh rate for the all-in-one variant, which is also the same as the Quest 2.
Their interface, if screenshots are to be believed, also looks rather similar to the Oculus headset, and features a similar Guardian system.
In addition, the Kickstarter listing makes reference to a virtual world for Arpara headset users, named 'arparaland'. This is where they can build their own world, customise their characters and meet people, which sounds rather like Meta's own virtual social space, Horizon Worlds.
Perhaps most striking though is the headline notice of the headset coming with 5K Micro OLED displays. We've seen Micro OLED displays on headsets before, most notably on an interesting Sony prototype with 8K displays, so if Arpara can put them in a more consumer-positioned headset at an affordable price point already, then they could be onto a winner.
However, crowdfunding has been around long enough for people to realise this project could go one of two ways. Firstly, it could go the way of the Pebble smartwatch back in 2013 with a ludicrously successful backing campaign with a great product that comes to market and then becomes adopted widely.
Or, it could go the way of the Ouya, which would involve the arrival of a subpar product later than expected that then gets slowly forgotten about following its release, before the assets are then sold on to another party. In their case, the Ouya brand and assets went to Razer.
On paper at least, the Arpara 5K headsets look more likely to go the way of Pebble, given the popularity boom in VR over the last couple of years and the renewed interest in it from big firms like Sony, Apple, Meta and others, but there are a few things to watch out for.
A recent article has discussed potential reservations towards the Arpara campaign which centred around a pair of hardware testers who got their hands on an early version of the headset and noted its cheap build quality, poor tracking and software integration.
If the real product ends up with these faults, then of course there is cause for concern. In addition, the March 2022 release date does perhaps seem a little soon, given the campaign only launched two weeks ago.
To go from putting down initial ideas on paper and launching a Kickstarter campaign to a full release and distribution in three to four months would definitely be something and arguably could be unheard of for a startup firm like Arpara.
Of course, a lot of this is pure speculation and what the actual user experience of the Arpara headsets will be like is unknown until their actual release date, whenever that may be.
In essence, they look great on paper, but there could be doubts over whether they deliver on every promise, or even make a competitive headset at all.
We'll be back with more VR news, guides and info, and don't forget that the PSVR 2 could also be on its way to us soon as well.