The future of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is the new reality – and 2018 looks to be the year that VR comes within our grasp. The very nature of VR means that its scope is limitless. From VR gaming to VR movies, VR exercise equipment, VR house-hunting, and VR college applications – the world can be brought to us in new, virtual reality format.
In 2014, Google’s portable VR headset, Google Cardboard, made VR a consumer experience – as opposed to one needing loads of high-tech kit. For the first time, VR was delivered to the masses.
The Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google VR Daydream application will further drive down the price of VR to within reach of the average consumer through healthy market competition. It shouldn’t be long before VR becomes as much of a way of life as Siri, touch screens, and Skype.
Different industries have already begun trialling VR software, but there are still lots more that VR technology can touch upon and improve.
Marriott Hotels have previously trialled the usage of VR to showcase potential honeymoon suites to husbands and wives-to-be – and were also the first hotels to offer Marriott VR room service. But could the entire holiday experience be improved with VR?
If you have no time to take an actual holiday, is there a way you could enjoy one without having to pack your bags and find your passport? Thomas Cook has already trialled the ‘Try Before You Fly’ way of booking holidays but the future of VR could be providing a holiday experience – the sun, the sea, the sand, the cocktails – without the chance of sunburn.
The ability to game in VR might benefit the action gamer as being able to see all around you and interact with your environment will greatly improve the realistic nature of console gaming. And the upcoming Edge of Nowhere game that will allow Oculus Rift to be used is a coup for the gaming world.
But is there an argument that other games could benefit from VR technology? Take online bingo, for example. There are already technological leaps made by current online bingo sites, with the interactivity of playing against real competitors and being able to interact live with callers and moderators, but could playing bingo at home be revolutionised with the ability to see and speak to those playing with you.
Imagine the thrill of full-on casino or sports games being brought directly to your home, without having to actually go to a casino or football practice.
Source: @Icarosflight via Twitter
The advent of the VR exercise equipment – Virzoom, which allows you to visualise anything but what you’re actually seeing from flying horses to driving cars, instead of riding the exercise bike as well as Icaros, which allows you to move as your VR character moves strapped into a responsive piece of exercise equipment are definitely two big leaps in the development of VR for exercising.
But can the exercise process be further improved through VR technology? Could running in the park be turned into a game that combines VR with the real environment? Could the lifting of weight be transformed into some Thor-like activity of strength?
Changing how we view VR exercise will not only change the VR landscape, but may make even the most treadmill-phobic of us love feeling the burn.
The art industry is one often left out of discussions regarding virtual reality. Given that you can’t interact too much with the art in a gallery or exhibition rather than just viewing it, there could be some real scope for VR art exhibitions and beyond.
Artists can make their work more accessible to a greater number of people by allowing those with a VR headpiece to peruse through their artwork, and potentially buy some.
By opening channels across the world, the art gallery no longer is marred by issues of geography. Selling art would be revolutionised, and more and more people will become interested in a rather esoteric industry.
The most obvious use of VR is to see or experience something without actually having to go there. But VR technology doesn’t have to stop where it is.
Remember the early days of touchscreen and the amount of new games and apps designed to just allow fans to touch things? Remember Nintendogs? Why not use VR to allow people to see and do things they otherwise would never be able to do, from flying a broomstick to wandering around ancient civilisations? The scope for VR really is endless.