There is no denying it; virtual reality is the new upcoming area in technology.
Do you remember that time when apple launched the iPod? Everyone stood back in awe to think that all your CD’s could fit into a tiny little box. Well Virtual reality is heading in that direction but VR has a problem at present. While there are plenty of products available for VR usage there has not been that wow moment yet. One of the difficulties at present is there is not enough content to use for VR devices. Google have gone down the VR route with their Google Cardboard. It is predominantly been promoted towards school children to explore parts of the world using VR. I tried this out recently and while it was cool to look out at the top of Matchu Pichu and I can see the benefit to schools, this has certain limitations and the novelty quickly wears off.
Daydream, Google’s new Android powered platform made waves at Google’s recent I/O conference. Their device which includes a remote seems to be the leading the charge in the VR community.
Facebook is really putting money into their VR product Oculus Rift. Their products include head devices, sensors, and their new controllers “Oculus Touch”. With the launch of this new product they are also releasing 30 new games to go with it.
What good are all these devices if there is no content to use with them?
I have noticed one or two concerts being filmed for VR which is quite cool however there doesn’t seem to be much else. I also tested out a VR device where I was in a cinema theatre watching a movie. I liked the novelty of it but I don’t think it is something I would go out and buy a VR device for.
The place where there is most advancement and usage currently is for gaming. The majority of advertisements for VR devices are using games. Games developers already need to create a complete 3D world for their players and I think this is where VR comes into its own at present. Vortex Omni have created a treadmill that works with VR to give you a complete experience, however it is miles from feeling like being in a real life situation. It is not the visual that is just the difficulty it is also the sound. Sound can be a difficult as you need to judge whether the sound is far away, where is the sound coming from and how to make that happen and sync with the visuals.
While gaming is definitely making headway, what about real life situations? Virtual Reality developers are trying to encourage movie directors to get involved in the VR system. This is proving difficult, as Directors and filmmakers want their movie to look a certain way and have control of the movie frame by frame. If you make a movie using VR the viewer has access to the whole area and then the director needs to work a lot harder to make the viewer pay attention to a particular part of the movie. It may also mean that two people could watch the same movie and actually not see the same story on-screen. Nokia just launched their 360-degree Professional VR camera that costs 60,000 dollars in the hopes to make money off of this new market. While I think that this may be a bit pricey, Disney amongst other companies have bought into the camera.
At a recent conference I attended a speaker advised it will be 5 years before developers have a complete handle on how to create VR. While I think that this will definitely shape how we interact with others in the future I don’t think we are all the way there yet, I think the wow iPod moment has still yet to arrive.