VR in a Nutshell
Virtual reality (VR) stands for a simulated experience that can be identical or totally different when compared to the real world. VR is an IT branch still in development, trying to find its place and purpose in human history. Its applications currently include, as you can probably assume, areas such as education (i.e., various forms of VR training, including medical and military training) and entertainment (i.e., various forms of VR gaming, including arcade games, online casino games, etc.).
And wouldn’t it be just great if you could have the feeling like you’re immersed in what seems to be an actual gaming environment? For instance, playing your favourite free roulette game, while having the feeling like you are holding the chips in your hand for real! And all this could eventually be done from the comfort of your very home!
How Does It Work?
Current VR systems are based on two totally opposite concepts. The first of them is a VR headset, while the second concept includes multi-projected environments, which, of course, takes a lot more space than a device such as a headset.
The headset contains a head-mounted display which is located just before the eyes, through which the person who carries it immerses into the virtual reality. Multi-projected environments are, in fact, specially equipped and designed large rooms containing multiple large displays through which virtual reality gets projected.
So far, headsets are shown to be more practical for usage. The person wearing a VR headset is able not only to see the virtual world but also to move through it, as well as to interact with various virtual objects inside it. Standard VR incorporates visual and auditory stimulus. However, this can be improved by adding haptic feedback technology, through which the person can also experience sensory stimuli, as well as force feedback.
VR & Gaming
The history of VR in gaming goes back to the 90s’. The first-ever VR gaming headset was announced back in 1991 by the giant gaming corporation at the time – Sega. The headset was named Sega VR, and although it released not before 1993, and never for consoles, it was incorporated in a motion simulator arcade creation named Sega VR-1, which was widely popular in 1994.
In 1997, Sony released the Glasstron VR headset, which included a positional sensor, allowing the perspective to move along with the head of the headset carrier, therefore providing a sense of immersion.
After a long break from VR gaming headset tryouts, back in 2012, a crowdfunding action was raised to support the Oculus Rift project, which was later, in 2014, acquired by Facebook for around $2 billion, along with its parent company – the Oculus Rift VR! Today, the company Oculus produces two more VR gaming headsets, next to Oculus Rift – Oculus Go and Oculus Quest.
2014 brought two more VR headsets to the public – the Sony PlayStation VR and the HTC Vice, a result of the co-operation between two prominent companies – Valve, specialized in various gaming solutions, and HTC, a well-known manufacturer of mobile phones and various additional equipment. Five years later, in 2019, Valve has released its own headset named Valve Index.
VR Headsets & Mobile Phones
Manufacturing VR headsets for mobile gaming became a new trend, most likely to hold itself in the years to come, while it managed to involve some leading corporations, such as Google and Samsung. Smartphone VR headsets were basically specially created containers for your mobile device, which contain no display on their own, but rather depends on the one built in your phone. The picture goes through a series of lenses which act as a stereoscope, providing a sense of deep virtual immersion.
What Has Changed?
So far, we have experienced major progress when it comes to VR gaming solutions. This was mostly due to the fact that some companies have not only built VR games from scratch but also redesigned some of their most beloved titles in VR manner.
For instance, nowadays, via the Oculus Rift, the player can enjoy popular titles such as The Witcher 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, as well as some older ones, such as Dead Space trilogy or the World of Warcraft. When it comes to these redesigned titles, the controls pattern and the gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same. The only thing that has changed is that you would need to move your head around in order to observe the environment, which is still a bit challenging for a total beginner to get used to.
What Will Change?
One thing is certain, VR will eventually become a part of our everyday life, probably in so great extent, that it will exceed the boundaries of VR gaming. But, when it comes to mere gaming, the players can rejoice, while it is the most popular trend in the gaming industry right now, a trend over which major companies are starting to compete between each other. And such competition definitely ensures one thing as a result – better and better VR gaming solutions!
VR simply has one thing that will always surpass traditional gaming, and that is the feeling of immersion, which simply cannot be reproduced with standard 3D gaming consoles we are used to. And the way of playing the game is changing and developing as well. A perfect example for that are games such as EVE: Valkyrie, Windlands, and Edge of Nowhere, in which the main accent is not on complex control buttons, but rather on sightseeing and exploration, which involve a different kind of approach.
So, we are all excited about to see what will the future years bring for VR gaming. Will it be in the form of a new device, or will current headsets be brought to perfection? And until we are able to obtain the answers to such question, there is a palette of VR games waiting to be tried out by you via headsets such as Oculus Rift and Quest, Play Station VR, and HTC Vive, or through smartphone VR headsets, such as Samsung Gear VR!