Is virtual reality the next big thing?

Discussion started by bill18ization

There is a lot of hype regarding virtual reality being called the next big thing in gaming, with Sony and Microsoft informing us that they are working on virtual reality devices? Is virtual reality really going to leave a mark in the gaming world or is wearing that huge goggles like gear, going to be just a bad headache?


Posted about 8 years ago

Hi bill18izatio,

VR technology is popular because its relevance extends to many fields, not gaming alone. Basically VR is a different way to inform, it is meant to immerse the viewer in the information content itself. Think of the implications for art, sciences, space exploration, medical visualization, architectural visualization, engineering, learning and simulation, also entertainment, for example 360° 3D film (James Cameron fully digital Avatar movie for example) and of course games.

I funded the original kickstarter Oculus rift campaign way back and was one of the early ones to receive a developer kit (over 50.000 prototype units were sold now). I must say the first impression with the device (however low grade it may be) was pure magic to me. I was immediately convinced that this medium is going to play a big role in how we (or at least some of us) consume information in the near future.

At this moment screen resolution and overall display performance are limited, but the technology is evolving very fast. The ergonomics are also limited, but I can imagine in the near future we would 3D scan our face with a kinect device and then print a custom fit base or something. Probable the next generation devices will weigh less and the out of the box ergonomics will be far better.

All that being said, apart from all the shortcomings, the currently offered developer versions gives a fairly good representation of the potential of VR. The wide field of view display in combination with relatively good head tracking gives a remarkable immersive experience. It is best described as having the feeling being present somewhere else and having a look around there. (sort of electronic teleportation of the mind) It is something you have to experience yourself actually, words just don't do it any good.

For example, there's this VR demo (one of my favorites) called Titans Of Space, which is an experience that launches the observer (from a viewpoint sitting in a flying seat) into space to explore the planets. It is just absolutely fantastic (and very enjoyable) how the information is presented through a total immersive experience, the sense of perspective and scale are truly astonishing. It's just way more interesting to learn and experience things at the same time in this way.

There's also things like VR tourism, like viewing google earth panorama's in combination with the head tracking, that actually gives a nice sense of presence and perspective on real life locations as well. And then there's the 360° videos, also very interesting.(

Personally I'm more interested in art creation/exploration and ways to immerse myself in the art itself. I'm looking forward to have direct VR capability in content creation software like Zbrush, 3ds max and Cryengine editor.

VR is going to get popular for many reasons, not Games alone. Remember that Facebook acquired Oculus recently, so you can imagine social media will extent to VR in the near future as well. Probably a lot of people would want to have a nice and stylish VR place of their own to invite their online friends. I think that's a nice field to explore, watt kind of places would people want, how would they look like, watt kind of architectures are we going to see there? We can let our imagination run completely wild here and that's watt attracts me most to VR in general.

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