Virtual reality or VR has been hanging around for a long time, always threatening to be the next big thing without actually delivering. It has been twenty year since the first VR systems were introduced and the technology has never really done what it promised. But this year has seen the real rise of VR and it looks set to finally deliver on its promise. But how will VR affect gaming in the future?
New VR systems
This year has seen several big name VR releases that promise to make the world a different place and look like they might. The biggest headline maker is the Oculus Rift, created by a Kickstarter project that looks to be top billing in terms of fulfilling that promise.
The system has a headset that is filled with sensors, offering a display for each eye and even coming with integrated headphones. The camera inside the system registers movement detection information. Currently there is compatibility with Xbox One though custom controllers are in the pipeline.
The HTC Vive is a similar system to the Rift and also allows you freedom of movement to walk about while using it. IR sensors mounted on the walls of the room map out your location to integrate into virtual space. You do need to use separate headphones for this system and it has bespoke controllers available.
How VR will change gaming
So finally, the technology such as these and other systems are proving the reality of VR that so far has been lacking. But what are the real ways that these systems can changing gaming? And why would we pay out what can be a decent amount of cash on one of them?
One of the criticisms thrown at VR systems is that they are isolating, cutting the player off from the world and immersing them in a virtual one. But VR developers have hit back at this saying that one of the big trends in VR gaming will be playing with friends. The interaction can be realistic due to the movement sensors of the technology and will allow game developers to create new multiplayer games where you meet friends and tackle the challenges of the game.
Another way that VR isn’t isolating is when it can be used in physically collaborative games. An example of this is the hugely popular Pokémon Go game that allows individuals to join into a group to play the game. Other ideas include the use of VR with casual casino games where players can get together then play the game as if they were at a real casino, while sitting in one person’s living room.
Other VR related changes
Of course, it isn’t just in the realm of gaming that VR looks set to create major changes. VR has the potential to change workplaces, schools and education and even health care. One example was a doctor who was practising a very delicate surgery on a tiny baby’s heart using a VR system so that he was able to see what was to be done and practise before attempting it in the real world.
Google Expeditions have already been making their way into schools, where virtual reality lessons are being experiments with. Children can visit the moon while learning about the Solar System or see the Pyramids when learning about Ancient Egypt.
Even the nature of games could change, where people seek experiences as well as games. Riding an unrealistically large roller coaster is one idea – the system will convince the mind that the body is actually experiencing the ride and it will react accordingly so keep that sick bucket handy!