Virtual Reality headsets (in one form or another) have been around for decades, famously being used in films such as Tron (1982) and The Matrix (1999), and although the popularity is currently increasing, perhaps recent advancements may just help tip the scales in favour of pro VR becoming a real mainstream game player?
The future of VR is hotly disputed. Some claim that this is another technology fad, a bubble, destined to inevitably burst into an irrelevant state like Betamax, Virtual Boy and Google Glasses. Others claim that the future potential of Virtual Reality is endless, and in the very near future, the entire world will be gripped by this ground-breaking development.
Whatever your opinion is, undeniably VR is a topic which is gaining the attention of some major industries. Perhaps the best-known use for Virtual Reality is in gaming and entertainment, yet the possible implementation of VR exists in dozens of industries that you would never have expected. VR is already being used to help train emergency respondent staff such as firemen and police officers, by providing a simulated dangerous situation while wearing the headset, without them being in any real-life danger.
Theme parks and attractions can also enjoy the use of VR, as they can add additional content to their already produced rides, giving the attractions even more visual and auditory appeal. VR can be used to provide holidaymakers guided tours, without the need for a present trained tour guide, and surprisingly, VR has been found to be extremely effective at treating some mental illness’, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Thus, it is hard to deny that VR is an exciting, and promising platform, which could potentially change the way we live our day to day lives.
A recent article by Meredith Alexander Kunz outlined some of the work that is currently being done regarding VR by Adobe Research scientists.
Adobe is working with NVIDIA and University Researchers to create a new Virtual Reality technology that would enable you to navigate a full-sized fabricated city, without leaving the comfort of your home. By slightly altering the *saccades that occur naturally in your eyes, this newly developed technology will alter what the user sees, according to the real-life available space in their environment.
It means that you could (in theory) spend an entire day navigating the entire city centre of Toronto, Tokyo or Taipei having never left your bedroom. That’s been one of the critical problems that have been holding virtual reality back from the mainstream.
How many people do you know that spend 2/3 hours a day using a VR headset? Chances are not many; hence the predicted growth of the ‘VR community’ has been much slower than expected.
Another thing that is holding VR back is the eye-watering cost of the equipment. One of the most popular pro VR headsets is the HTC Vive, which could set you back at least £500.00 for the headset alone, plus an additional £1000+ for a compatible PC. (HTV Vive UK price).
This high cost could be a stumbling block for most hobbyists, who are not willing to spend the equivalent cost of a holiday on essentially a concept, which is still very much in “early stage”.
So back to the original question… what does the future hold for Virtual Reality? In our opinion, the developments that are currently being made by Adobe could be ground-breaking and are indeed a step towards making VR a real game changer. However, we still believe that more needs to be done to reduce the cost of pro VR equipment before it could be considered as a serious mainstream hobbyist gaming platform. What do you think?
Leave a comment below and let us know what you think the future holds for VR! Long-term game changer, or short-term fad?
*saccades are the rapid movement of the eye between various fixation points. These range between the movements made while reading, to the larger movements made while you are visually navigating a room