Is it going to change the world or is it just a fad?
Virtual Reality is starting to take the world by storm. Youtube has their 360 degree videos, video games are starting to take advantage of this new technology and you can even use special apps on your phone to play games and watch other videos in VR space. But why? Is Virtual reality really going to be the next big entertainment breakthrough? Or will it just fizzle out of the mainstream in a few years?
So how is VR going to affect how you get your entertainment? Well, imagine you are watching a video about someone who is traveling, lets say to a beautiful temple. In the traditional format, you only get too see what the camera sees at that moment. With VR you are no longer limited to these constraints, YOU the viewer can physically look around and see what you want to see. This video gives you an example of how this looks in practice. You can use the arrows at the top left of the video or click and drag your mouse across the video to look around.
This is one of many examples you can find on Youtube of how VR can change the way we view videos. But how else can it change how we view entertainment?
Video games are leading the charge with new technologies for VR. Many companies have already developed and released VR headsets for in home use. Some of these include Oculus, Vive, and the PS VR for PS4. Of course each comes with its own unique way of playing, Oculus and PS VR use standard controllers and are stationary VR experiences, where you stand or sit in one place and look around. While the Vive allows for complete body movement, where you physically move in a small area of your room and use your arms to control your character.
Here is a funny and excellent example of this in practice. You play as a store clerk and have to move around your work area to give the customers what they ask. Using the two controllers he can use them as hands to grab, press, toss, open, etc. different items to complete his task. This is a much simpler example of how the Vive can be played. If you are interested in more extreme examples of how the Vive is being used you can check out another game called Onward.
While video games are all well and good for showing VR off, many people don’t want to play video games. So what’s the next best way? Using your own phones! Companies like Google and Samsung have come out with what many will call “VR boxes”. You put your phones in these headsets that hold them so you can get the up close experience of VR without holding on to your phone. It works the same way like the Youtube 360 but you use your own head movement to look around instead of a mouse. One of the best examples I have found is the app “Within”. Even if you don’t have a VR box you can still use this app to get an idea of how VR works for yourself. You can download the app for Android and iPhone.
My Thoughts on the future of VR
Virtual Reality is growing extremely quickly, way faster then most people thought it would. Big companies to individuals are now racing to be the first to create that one big app, game, or experience that will draw people in and make having a VR headset the next big thing. VR still has a long way to go but I can see VR being used for every day use at work or home for varies reasons in the next five to ten years. I’m excited to see where VR goes in even just the next couple years.