Of course, we are all excited to peek into the 3D-stimulated world that mainstream consumer Virtual Reality will soon offer. If you’ve been living under a rock, unfamiliar with VR and its future, it may be wise for you to take a quick look into this.
This powerful technology is transforming our world in various ways – be it the scientific or entertainment domain – there is no stopping virtual reality. If you haven’t thought about it – consider the multiple ways Virtual Reality could transform our lives. Is it going to be as revolutionary as the internet? Probably not. As revolutionary as the smartphone? Perhaps.
A Quick History of Virtual Reality
To experience a virtual environment, you’re going to need a VR system with a simulator headset. We’ve had a few VR headsets in the distant past – such as Nintendo’s Virtual Boy (1995) and Sega’s VR Glasses (1993). Both were primarily designed for gaming, but were ultimately unsuccessful due to several drawbacks in their specifications. For instance, Virtual Boy offerered only a dual-coloured graphic.
2 decades later, our journey with VR is beginning to get better and more colourful. We’ve discussed the Oculus Rift, expected to be out in the market this coming March. Sony is working on what it calls Project Morpheus – a headset that will work along with the PlayStation 4 to bring gamers to the virtual world. Samsung has launched Gear VR headsets that will run on the Oculus VR platform. HTC Vive, Vortex VRTX One and LeECo VR are also among the well-recognized VR headsets that are on the brink of release.
We also have Cardboard – another VR device that works with smartphones. Cardboard is a simple and cheap Virtual Reality headset made of… well, cardboard. Google’s open sourced the technology, allowing other companies to work on the platform. Cardboard is already available for purchase and the modest ones cost only a few bucks. The platform is single handedly having the biggest impact on democratizing Virtual Reality – something the Oculus doesn’t seem to be aiming for.
The VR Industry Matures
Before Virtual Reality branches out to serve multiple needs – communication, entertainment etc – it won’t be wrong to say most of the VR systems were originally developed and designed for gaming. Oculus VR is likely to revolutionise the gaming industry. Of course, the internet is going to let gamers all over the world, in the millions, play together on a single platform.
An aspect that doesn’t need debate – gaming is going to get more real and engaging than ever before. Soon we may all have our own avatars in a virtual world. It’ll be possible for us to experience things in the virtual world that have originally beyond our reach. A startup, SpaceVR is actively working bring space down here on earth, courtesy Virtual Reality. It’s like the poor man’s space program.
Will Virtual Reality be the death of theaters?
As the industry matures, Virtual Reality is going to find itself serving more than just its gaming target market. The initial response to movie screenings on an Oculus headset have been consistently positive – leading many to suggest that it may be the de facto way to watch movies in the future.
We are looking forward to the cheap and handy Google’s Cardboard for this purpose. Cardboard headsets operating side by side with other VR devices in a hall will enable immersive viewing of VR movies. For this, we will need to make some arrangements from the time of shooting movies. Well-known movie directors including Stephen Spielberg and Ridley Scott are starting to work on movies that we can watch on VR systems. Now, with startups like Magic Leap, screens may be rendered obsolete.
Once VR movies are out, normal movie theaters may have to renovate and switch to enable VR or eventually close down. The good news is that the end of theaters will not be the end of live plays or entertainment; it will rather give way to the much-awaited VR enabled showbiz.