Developing for VR in 2020 — A Beginner’s Guide

Gerald McAlister
6 min readJul 17, 2020


I’ve seen a lot of folks asking about how to get started developing for virtual reality in 2020, with a particular focus on those who have never dove into it before. As someone who has been developing for VR for nearly 7 years now (and AR for just over 10), I figure I can help provide some perspective on this. For this Story in particular, I’m going to focus on 3 main things:

  1. Lowest Cost — Developing for VR can add up in costs very quickly, so I want to help folks to figure out how to keep these low to make it as accessible as possible.
  2. Publishing Now — Some platforms for VR (such as the native Quest store) don’t allow for people to publish what they build right now without being approved. I think that publishing what you build is essential however, so this Story will focus on platforms that you can publish on immediately.
  3. Future Proof — While things in the VR industry are changing rapidly, you still want to try and future proof yourself for development as much as possible. You don’t want to find out that in a year from now, your entire development setup is now obsolete for example.

Buying a Headset

There are a lot of options for VR headsets today, and buying the right one can really make or break your development process and platforms you can target. There are a few things to consider when deciding what headset to buy:

  • Are you targeting enterprise customers?
  • Are you looking for the best headset in terms of specifications?
  • What is your budget?

At this point, there are only two headsets to consider that I think are worth talking about here: The Oculus Quest and the Valve Index:

  • The Oculus Quest is the best all around headset at $399 USD. If your customers aren’t enterprise customers who absolutely need the highest end headset (like military contractors, or some other specialized industry), then the Quest is the only headset that makes sense. It can run both as a standalone headset AND as a PCVR headset (using the included cable).
  • The Valve Index is the highest quality, but comes at a premium price of $999 USD. The Valve Index is without a doubt the highest quality VR headset…



Gerald McAlister

Software engineer, hardware tinkerer, focused on VR, AR, AI, & Web3. I write about whatever crosses my mind, but try to focus on business vs tech vs philosophy.