At Computex 2016, one of the major themes was gaming. And, because it’s 2016, that meant there was a ton of VR tech at the show, with tons of new components, PCs, headsets, and games showcasing the hottest new growth market in tech. And really, these early days are just the best, because no one knows what works and what doesn’t yet. You get a bunch of companies throwing anything and everything at the wall, and then you get a VR-ready gaming PC you can wear as a backpack.
It’s not (just) a publicity stunt. The MSI Backpack PC was created because right now, home VR is about the least mobile form of gaming there is. If you have an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, you get the freedom to explore virtual worlds only when you’re tethered to a desktop PC that is not prone to movement. You can’t go too far away from the PC you’re tethered to, and if you opt for longer cables, chances are you’re going to end up sprawled out on the floor of your 15′ x 15′ VR room within a few minutes.
So, here’s a PC you can wear on your back! MSI hasn’t made waves so much in the west aside from being a trusted GPU supplier, but globally they’ll pretty well known for their gaming notebooks and PCs — they know what’s needed to make VR work and work well. They managed to cram everything needed into the shape of a backpack, including a huge standalone battery so you can really go wireless. The result? Well, it’s a desktop PC on your back. Let’s just say you get a workout with your VR game time.
While there’s something undeniably plucky about a backpack PC with a host of cables coming out of the top to connect to the VR headset (the Vive, in this case), it’s not exactly the most practical product unless you’re going to set up a VR LAN party, in which case these backpacks would be a practical necessity. But, if we’re being honest, the odds of the Backpack PC actually getting a release are pretty long. MSI didn’t have all the specifications specified, only saying that they used a 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor, a next-generation NVIDIA graphics card (we guess the 1080), 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and some amount of SSD storage, along with a battery big enough to power one hour of VR gaming.
The size of the battery alone would probably make this thing’s price go through the roof, so yeah, we’re not super optimistic. We’re definitely going to hold out hope, though!