My previous column had me hating on VR a bit and I think those issues need to addressed for VR to be the beast it deserves to be. With that said there is still a ton of awesome experiences available on all VR platforms so let’s look at the best things about Virtual Reality.
Welcome to the desert of the real.
I have played video games all my life and too me it seems like it’s all been building up to VR. Within the last 6 months I have visited mystical islands, flew in space battles, and toured the depths of the ocean. VR puts you in the middle of any scenario you can imagine and it feels more real than any non VR game ever could. Looking around and seeing dinosaurs swimming around me (Ocean Rift), playing as Batman (Arkham VR) or simply jumping across a city (JUMP) are all surreal in VR. Worlds you’ve experienced in the past pale in comparison to experiencing them again in VR and I challenge any person to not flinch at jump scares in VR or move your head out of the way as debris passes by. It is in your face and amazing!
I’m not a magician, Spock, just an old country doctor.
Besides entertainment, VR is also helping with new advancements in difference medical fields. VR therapy is now being used to treat disorder like PTSD or other anxiety based mental issues. Other applications of VR include surgeon training and treatments for Autism. VR lends itself very well to aiding with mediation (if you’re into that) as well as treatments for all types of phobias. It’s not just a toy and will only become more prevalent in our lives in ways you may not expect.
Home-ec is a joke,no offense. I’m not putting down your profession, but it’s just the way I feel
Imagine having a 1st person perspective of some of the most important moments in our history. When VR is introduced to our education system kids will be able to experience all new ways of learning. Whether it be through watching animals in their wild habitats, as if they were right beside them, or exploring the inner workings of the body at the cellular level; the possibilities are endless. Even simple applications like class streaming would effectively put you in the class even if you couldn’t attend.
I’m not crazy. My reality is just different than yours
360 videos and pictures have actually been around for a long time, the ability to review them in VR is a much more recent phenomenon. Right now most of the content available are virtual tours or live action events (deep sea dives or moto cross…etc.). I’ve reviewed a few short films (SONAR and CTRL) and while both of these have their faults, they still show the potential of what may be possible. Figuring out how we view these movies is a large hurdle, but once we do, this will be a whole new way to consume media. Whether it is in the middle of a superhero battle in a large city or being present at an alien landing. Fictional storytelling will be a huge market once we pass the few hurdles slowing down its progress.
Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
Have you seen all the tech out there currently in development for Virtual Reality? It’s crazy!!! From gloves that send feedback to the things you touch in VR to a frictionless treadmill allowing you to walk around in virtual worlds. There is so much new tech being built around VR it’s hard not to get excited for the future. Sure, most of those innovations may be nothing more than dreams, but with the plethora of “out there” ideas that may not have a place in our homes, there is a brilliant new tech just waiting to be developed. Just check out kick starter and see what new developments are trying to get off the ground. It’s inspiring!
Virtual Reality is next big way we will consume media, once media catches up. With effectively limitless ways in which we can experience anything we imagine, it opens up endless possibilities. I have personally never liked race simulation games, especially behind the wheel view, but in VR it’s a blast. The way we view VR and its place in modern society is going to change dramatically in the next few years and with good reason. Perceived now as more of an entertainment device than anything else, once VR merges with more tech and media it will become a staple in our lives in ways we cannot even imagine, especially when VR and AR (Augmented Reality) begin to merge as well, but that topic is for another column.