The movie industry, gamers, and tech enthusiasts from around the globe have been dreaming about virtual reality for the last few decades. Even with great strides in 3D technology and IMAX theater capabilities, the demand daily virtual products for use at home, work, in the class room, and healthcare field continues to grow. Google cardboard was released first, offering a fairly impressive, and inexpensive, virtual experience—but the release of Oculus has really taken things to the next level.
Pre-orders for Oculus Rift began in January, and at $600 per headset is quite an investment—but that is not the only investment that must be made. In order to use the headset, a virtual-ready PC is required, which retails for around $1,500. On top of that, you must invest in the virtual games and apps you want to use.
The gaming community is without the most enthusiastic virtual reality audience. As any gamer knows, many of today’s games are already designed with life-like accuracy, and with many virtual and customizable features. With the introduction of VR, it is now possible for gamers to fully immerse themselves in to the games they are playing—and to enjoy a full 360-degree experience. This includes updated versions of many classic and famous games, as well as a long list of new games designed specifically for VR.
During the Beta testing phase, Oculus and other VR technology was tested in Universities, healthcare facilities, and even many places of business. Beyond gaming, it is expected that VR will be used in conjunction with treatment of PTSD, to alleviate stress while in the hospital, to replace or enhance desktop or workstation capabilities, and for a multitude of entertainment purposes.
It is rare that a new industry is born, and VR reality is a true emerging industry. Even with all of the excitement around health, entertainment, fitness, and gaming apps and technology—it is really too soon to tell just how large of a role virtual technology stands to play in our daily lives.
While excitement for virtual advances is high, not everyone sees the benefit in such an investment. One of the largest areas of opportunity Oculus and other virtual headset companies need to address is delivering the firsthand experience before buying. HTC Vive is talking this head-on, by putting their headsets in select Gamestops and Microsoft stores for live testing.