Have you ever been using your Oculus Rift — or other virtual reality (VR) headset — and accidentally stumbled into a coffee table, sofa, or even another person in the room? If so, you’re not alone, according to recent industry reports.
With VR sales up by 70% in 2021 vs. 2020, according to International Data Corp., the odds of VR-related injuries and household damage has also risen, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. Casualties, according to The Wall Street Journal, include everything from broken vases to broken kneecaps.
While one obvious solution is to find a relatively empty space to play, home construction firms have taken the concept to the next level with the addition of “metaverse rooms” in today’s homes. Sparsely designed with minimal furniture, such rooms include padded walls to allow users to traverse the metaverse and other VR realms safely.
Some of the VR rooms designed by the architectural firm Fine Homes by Hearthstone include surround sound speakers and vibration sensors in the floor to create a more immersive experience, per WSJ.
The price to retrofit a so-called metaverse room in your home, or to include one in new construction, varies based on the technology and design features you want to include, as well as the size of the room.
The Cost of Building a Metaverse Room
Lifewire recommends a safe space of at least 3 feet by 3 feet in order to interact in a virtual environment — but for a whole-room VR experience, you’ll want at least a 9-foot by 9-foot room.
You may want a large-screen TV in the room for friends to watch and interact with the VR experience. If you have the space, you can set a soft couch (no hard metal or wood surfaces) to the side of the room for people to sit and watch or play.
Let’s break down the costs for a 10-by-10 room, which could be a spare bedroom, an area of a basement, or even a space in a garage.
- Foam tiles for flooring: $1.99 per square foot, or $200 for the room, based on pricing from FoamTiles.com.
- Padding for walls: 2-foot by 6-foot mats run between $62 to $145. You’d need 5 across for a 10-foot room. Expect to spend at $1,000 or more to cover two walls.
- Surround sound system: A Vizio 5.1 surround sound home theater system runs $299 at Costco, but you could also spend thousands more on a high-end system.
- LED TV: Like your surround sound, the price for your LED TV or projection system can vary greatly. A Samsung 65-inch 4K Smart TV from Costco costs $549, plus add $150 or so for the television mount.
- VR gaming set-up: VR gaming sets also vary widely in price, from the Meta Quest 2 (Oculus) for $299 at Walmart or the PlayStation VR bundle for $349 at GameStop (a new PS VR targeting the PS5 is coming). The Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 2 can approach $1,000 or more.
- Gaming console or PC: You can purchase or build a gaming PC for your VR system, but you don’t have to. The Meta Quest 2 operates with just a smartphone required for some gaming apps. The PS VR requires a PlayStation 4 or PS5 console, which can run anywhere from $289 for a refurbished PS4 at GameStop up to $799 for a PS5.
Of course, extras like professional installation, floor vibration features, and furniture will increase your costs. But as the desire to develop a presence in the metaverse grows, you may find this room getting lots of use. And, if that’s the case, you can’t put a price on the peace of mind that comes with creating a safe space for your family to interact in a virtual environment.
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