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MSI's gaming PC backpack makes tether-free virtual reality real

MSI Backpack PC

A few days ago MSI teased its PC backpack system and now at a press event in Taiwan we have a more concrete idea of how it will power untethered VR experiences.

Aside from looking like a cross between a motorcycle backpack and the rocketeer's jetpack, the MSI Backpack PC is actually smaller than Mini-ITX systems as well as both the Xbox One and PS4. Despite its diminutive size, it features a mobile-based Intel Core i7 K-series processor and a desktop grade Nvidia GTX 980.

MSI Backpack PC

Though, don't get too attached to this specification as the product is still on a long road to development. The Backpack PC we saw was merely a working sample (without a finalized name no less) and MSI has plans to integrate Nvidia's new Pascal-based GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 GPUs.

MSI is also treating this backpack system as a full-on PC, which means users will be able to upgrade the components from the graphics to storage and memory. One thing users will constantly be changing out is the batteries.

MSI Backpack PC

Early design sketches and a mockup of the Backpack PC (Image Credit: Joel Burgess)

The Taiwanese electronics firm project users will get at least an hour and 30 minutes in virtual reality on a single charge. Unfortunately, the hip-mounted batteries aren't hot swappable as it is on HP's own VR backpack concept

For longer play sessions as either a VR system or a portable gaming desktop, users could plug in the Backpack PC into the wall.

Pricing and availability has yet to be announced, but stay tuned to this space for our upcoming hands on review.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is the Hardware and Roundups Editor at IGN Entertainment. Prior to IGN Entertainment, he worked at TechRadar.