Menu
Computex: I try out MSI's Backpack PC portable VR gaming rig

Computex: I try out MSI's Backpack PC portable VR gaming rig

This innovative gaming PC lets you dive deep into virtual reality -- without the long cables

When the combined armies of Zorg are firing photon weapons at you, 5 kilograms doesn't seem like much.

Even the cables and straps that are a necessary part of MSI's Backpack PC fade into the background when you're immersed in a virtual reality game.

That's what I discovered when I took MSI's new Backpack PC for a test spin on Wednesday at Computex in Taipei. The device is an entire gaming PC built into a backpack that allows for completely untethered virtual reality gaming.

Current VR games run on a computer that sits on a desk or floor and stubbornly won't move as you jump around in a virtual world. It means long cables are needed and that can be a hazard and a hassle.

With the Backpack PC the cables aren't completely gone, but they are shorter and don't get in the way.

160601 msi backpack 1 Martyn Williams

The whole ensemble looks like the kind of thing James Bond might slip on to go scuba diving.

Slip on the backpack, then the virtual reality headset, the headphones and finally pick up the controller and you're ready to do battle.

At Computex, I had two MSI employees help me put it on, but it's not the kind of thing you really need help with once you know what you're doing.

The Backpack PC was running a demonstration game that involved small round spaceships coming towards me from all directions.

If I didn't blast them with my laser weapon fast enough, they'd emit little energy balls that would drift towards me. I couldn't blast those and had to jump to avoid them hitting me. If one got to me, it was game over.

Game over happened a lot.

In part it was because I was scared to jump around. I didn't feel comfortable moving around freely in the new space because I feared bashing into things. It's certainly something that will be easier at home although it's really easy to become disoriented.

160601 msi backpack 4 Martyn Williams

MSI's Backpack PC during a demonstration at the Computex trade show in Taipei on June 1, 2016.

But the overall experience was a lot of fun.

Helped by the rich graphics that are the result of using a high-power gaming laptop and the HTC Vive headset, it was easy to forget about all the gear I was wearing -- even if I couldn't forget the walls and desks around me.

And as I took it off, I realized that's perhaps the key thing for any piece of VR gear. If the image is good enough and the content engaging enough to allow you to immerse yourself, then the rest of it doesn't matter too much.

MSI says the Backpack PC will be available in the second half of this year but there aren't any more details. An MSI employee told me the specifications and design are likely to change -- this isn't the final commercial version -- so the company isn't saying anything more about when or where it will launch or how much it will cost.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags computexmsi

Featured

Slideshows

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Reseller News has honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry at the 2019 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards recognised standout individuals across six categories, spanning Entrepreneur, Rising Star, Shining Star, Community, Technical and Achievement. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA
Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

The 2019 Reseller News Innovation Awards has kicked off with the Judges Lunch in Auckland with 70 judges in the voting panel. The awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors. Photos by Christine Wong.

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch
Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2018 inductees - Chris Simpson, Kendra Ross and Phill Patton - to the third running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing landscape of the technology industry in New Zealand, while outlining ways to attract a new breed of players to the ecosystem. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments