HTC Vive does not have the years of content designed exclusively for it, as does the Oculus Rift, nor the time tested ecosystems for developing and deploying new content like PlayStation VR.
It won't even have any exclusives at launch, but there will be about 50 or so compatible titles available for the HTC Vive when it arrives next month, and the critics have settled around a few choice experience early adopters should watch for.
At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last week, Valve revealed a list of 38 games that will be available for the HTC Vive when the consumer version ships on April 5.
Vanishing Realms: Rite of Steel – The critics haven't printed any opinions on this one yet, but according to Valve's Chet Faliszek, writer and virtual reality evangelist, this is one to watch for.
It's an RPG game filled with high fantasy tropes, but it might be the "presence" that makes this much more than your run of the mill batch of fetch quests.
"Grab your sword and fight life-sized monsters in epic face-to-face melee combat," says the game's description. "Explore mystic domains, outwit magical wards, seek lost artifacts, wield sorcery and steel to take on denizens of the Undead Realm."
Hover Junkers – Crews battle it out at a graveyard for hovercraft, collecting salvage parts to improve their own transport, while firing at rival craft and players.
The premise of getting into paintball-like fire fights while about a floating platform keeps the pace fast and makes efficient use of the real-world space that players have available to them. It's exhilarating, according to Gizmag's Will Shanklin.
"I can't wait to jump back into these gunfights and burn more calories than I ever did on that Wii Fit that sat in my closet for years, collecting dust," writes Shanklin.
The Lab – It's a collection of 12 mini games set inside of Aperture Laboratories, home of the most insidious AI of all time and setting for the Portal series.
Two of the more appealing experiences for PCMag's Tom Brant were a photogrammetric nature expedition up in Washington State's North Cascade mountain range, and a medieval tower defense game in which he threw back gingerbread men with arrows.
He found the most compelling experience to be a "Fruit Ninja-style game."
"The controller becomes a tiny spaceship, and you point its laser beams at enemy ships to destroy them," Brant says. "Careful, though, because if you hit one of the enemy's red orbs, it's game over."
Bonus: The Brookhaven Experiment – This game won't launch until April 26, but it's a sleeper pick for one of the hottest games to arrive on the Vive early on. Players use everything from pistols to light sabers to fend off waves of nether realm menaces.
While there is a range of weapons to choose from, it's likely the gun play that will stand out in this gloomy world in which worst case scenarios would involve those who have two legs and crave for human flesh.
"My first response to everyone is to ask 'have you ever fired a real pistol?' Generally the people who have are the ones that do better, as they know pistols lose accuracy pretty quickly as the range increases," says Jeremy Chapman from Phosphor, the game's developer.
For those who'd like to do their own homework on what experiences will arrive on the Vive early on. Here are some other compatible games.
Cloudlands: VR Minigolf
Giant Cop: Justice Above All
John Wick: The Impossible Task
Space Pirate Trainer
The Gallery: Call of the Starseed
The Rose and I
Thunderbird: The Legend Begins
Waltz of the Wizard