Among the Advances in Gaming Technology, Virtual Reality is the most fascinating way to travel using nothing more than the power of technology. With a headset and motion tracking, VR lets you look around a virtual space as if you’re actually there. It’s also been a promising technology for decades that’s never truly caught on. That’s changing with the current wave of VR products.
Oculus has the popular Rift, HTC and Valve have the Steam-friendly Vive, Sony launched the excellent PlayStation VR, Samsung recently added a separate controller to its Gear VR, and Google’s Daydream is steadily growing from the remains of Google Cardboard. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows 10 mixed reality platform and a variety of hardware manufacturers working on it are slowly creeping into the market with their own unified platform. Then there are the new standalone headsets, like the Oculus Go, Lenovo Mirage Solo, and the upcoming HTC Vive Focus.
The Constant Advancement of Technology Itself
New iterations of gaming consoles come out more often than they used to. Microsoft and Sony both released 2.0 versions of their current generation systems. Xbox One evolved into the Xbox One X. The PS4 evolved into the PS4 Pro.
Why the upgrade? New TV tech! The original systems weren’t designed to support 4k/HDR picture modes.
What does this mean for you and the industry? It might mean constantly pushing the boundaries. By the time a game goes live, it’ll be time to start thinking about the next iteration of gaming technology.
It might also mean a lot of porting and backward compatibility opportunities.
The older sibling of augmented reality– the virtual reality is full-blown immersion gaming.
The world has seen attempts at the virtual reality before. It didn’t catch on. This time around, virtual reality looks like it’s here to stay. And it’s not just being used for entertainment!
Science and Medicine fields are experimenting with VR as a way to teach paraplegics how to walk again. That’s insane.
What does this mean? Right now VR is limited by a time cap (play too long and the nausea sets in). Another issue is spatial limitations. How do you explore the world without the help of a handheld controller and without bumping into everything in your physical space?
That’s just one of the questions you’ll have to answer as virtual reality moves forward. Virtual Reality can take users anywhere, let them do anything, and we’re only scratching the surface of those possibilities.
The Big Question: What Type of VR?
Modern VR headsets fit under one of two categories: Mobile or tethered. Mobile headsets are shells with lenses into which you place your smartphone. The lenses separate the screen into two images for your eyes, turning your smartphone into a VR device. Mobile headsets like the Samsung Gear VR and the Google Daydream View are relatively inexpensive at around $100, and because all of the processing is done on your phone, you don’t need to connect any wires to the headset.
You can’t count on accurate position tracking with mobile headsets. Most use three-degrees-of-freedom (3DOF) motion tracking, which means they can follow the direction you’re facing very accurately, but can’t tell if you’re moving forward, backward, up, down, left, or right. To accurately track your position, you need a headset with six-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) motion tracking. All tethered headsets have this thanks to either external sensors or outward-facing cameras.
Graphics and the Screen Power
TVs are pretty insane now. The 4K HDR picture is wild. And the graphics are keeping up with this power. It’s almost jarring to fire up an old game and see how rough around the visual edges it was.
What does this mean? Life in a simulation, here we come…Ready Player One
Try and Keep Up
With the pace technology is keeping these days, this article will be mostly out of date by the time we can publish it. It is an amazing time for tech, and we really don’t know what the future holds.
When the television was invented 90 years ago, showing its first broadcasted image in black and white, no one would have predicted where it would go.
We are in the same boat now, except in just 10 years we’ll look back and be amazed at how far we’ve managed to come. Try and keep up!