How VR will take over your home entertainment

Virtual Reality (VR) is no longer a far-fetched and idiosyncratic concept. Developers, game makers and some of the largest companies in the technology industry have been developing hardware and software designed to enable players to enter virtual environments.

For decades, the idea has been used in Hollywood films, and even prototypes have been created now and then. Now, high-profile VR devices are finally on the verge of turning into consumer products. At the Game Developers Conference in 2014, Sony unveiled Morpheus, their first virtual reality headset for video games. Soon after, Oculus VR was purchased by Facebook, which was a sign that VR is back and is on its way to take over home entertainment.
Now, high-profile VR devices are finally on the verge of turning into consumer products.

This move by Facebook was followed by the introduction of VR goggles by Samsung for their Galaxy smartphones, while Google collaborated with LG and Mattel on a VR headset that anyone can make from cardboard. Back in January, even Microsoft unveiled their own VR headset named HoloLens, through which 3D images can be overlaid onto everyday scenes. Even the applications for virtual reality are no longer limited to just games; rather they have expanded into education, film, health care and sports. Indeed, one could argue that in some instances, educational use or health care use exists side by side with entertainment use: just take a look at Linden Lab’s Second Life, launched all the way back in 2003!

Even the applications for virtual reality are no longer limited to just games; rather they have expanded into education, film, health care and sports.

Valve, also been working on their own VR headset, the Steam VR. Similarly, the high-performance gaming hardware manufacturer Razer has their own virtual reality device that they have named the OSVR headset. Many smaller companies are also creating new applications to offer a new approach to virtual reality. However, Sony is currently under the spotlight, and their Morpheus has likely been finalized, although they may not release it until next year.

Despite the above advancements and developments, virtual reality has not reached its peak in the mainstream market due to some issues that need to be overcome. The power of virtual reality can not be fully and properly showcased to consumers due to the lack of compatible games. Although, the concept has been proven through often impressive demos, they are always short. Consumers rarely buy gaming hardware based on their looks; rather they expect the hardware to provide them with a great experience. Secondly, consumers only pull out their wallet when the hardware is affordable.

Some are also concerned about what effects virtual reality might have on our bodies and brains. Sufficient research on the neurological and physical effects of using a VR headset for long periods of time is still lacking. However, those who have tested the current virtual reality systems that are being developed have reported experiencing dizziness and nausea.

Electronic Arts, the world’s leading game developer, is also not yet convinced about the virtual reality concept.
virtualreality
Photo: David Kamm, NSRDEC

That is why combat simulation training for members of the U.S. Armed Forces involves the use of VR systems that are far superior to the virtual reality headsets that are currently in development. Electronic Arts, the world’s leading game developer, is also not yet convinced about the concept of virtual reality and games . Motion sickness is something gamers could experience if they were playing one of EA’s Need For Speed games while wearing a VR headset.

Nonetheless, consumers remain excited and intrigued about the possibility of being transported to an alternate reality simply by putting on a headset. To them, it still seems like a part of science fiction but that day is not far when VR will take over your home entertainment as a gamer.

Links:

Project Morpheus (Sony): https://www.playstation.com/en-gb/explore/ps4/features/project-morpheus/

Google Cardboard (Google): http://www.google.com/get/cardboard/

Second Life (Linden Labs): http://secondlife.com/

 

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