Virtual Reality (VR) is set to take the world by storm in 2016, with a load of new products hitting the shelves from this spring onward. With a multitude of VR options to choose from, I decided that it would be worth giving the thoughts of a normal person (me) on this new wave of tech. When I say ‘normal person’ what I mean is that I’m someone who’s interested in the new tech, but I’m not currently invested in it in any way, and I don’t have loads of cash to blow on the best of the best VR devices.
Let’s start with a quick breakdown of some of the big players in VR at the moment. I’ve got this data from a brilliant article that explains all of this in long form, and if you’re interested in doing more reading into this topic, I recommend that article as your next destination.
As you can see, there’s a lot going on in the VR world. So what should we expect?
One of the main uses that the headsets have is gaming. The fact that both Sony and Valve (the owners of computer gaming company Steam) are involved is a dead giveaway. I have to say that I look forward to the day that I get stuck into a fully immersive VR game. It’s the kind of thing that until recently had been confined to the realms of science fiction, and I would very much like to see it become reality.
I imagine that there will be many other people excited for this aspect of VR, but the price has to be right for VR to take off with the public. For current owners of a PS4 (sadly, I am not one of these), the PlayStation VR looks to be a great place to start. With some games already announced, and a much lower RRP than the Oculus Rift and HTC headsets, I can see this going down a storm, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar released for the XBox in the near future.
But gaming isn’t the only application for these devices. Travel is another big area that could benefit from this, and it’s easy to see how a version of Google street view could be integrated into a VR system. You could also check out hotels and holiday destinations before you buy, or even just enjoy ‘travelling’ from the comfort of your own home, as you walk around real and fictional landscapes. Imagine travelling to Middle Earth whilst never leaving your living room!
There are also sales applications. Apparently, some car showrooms already make use of the Samsung VR, but imagine the application for other retail outlets. What if a furniture store made a virtual showroom? It could transform the way their ecommerce works! Or imagine if you could use augmented reality technology to see what a new TV would look like in your living room?
VR has the power to be truly disruptive. I’m not just using that as a meaningless buzzword, I mean it. I can see multiple industries, not least gaming and ecommerce, being shaken up by the new technology, and that’s going to become a reality as this stuff becomes affordable and more widely available. I look forward to the day that I own my own VR headset, and I’m excited to see where the tech goes in the future.