Throughout 2016 we kept hearing about the “year of VR,” but it’s starting to though it will be 2017 instead. With most of the companies working on VR having released their devices, this is the year we’ll start to see the release of more refined games and exciting applications on the new medium. But now and then as we cross new thresholds in tech, it’s actually worth asking how did we get here.
Where VR is concerned this may help to dictate where we’re going. The trends and preferences that helped to inspire the rise of virtual reality headsets may hint as to what those headsets are being built for. Here’s a look at a few of the trends that appear to have led us to where we are at the outset of 2017.
The Rise & Fall Of 3D-TV
Remember 3D-TV? Barely? Well, that’s because it hardly got off the ground before it was deemed a massive consumer flop. An article at the Daily Mail concluded that, despite massive investments and tons of 3D-TV sales, the factor that wound up dooming this technology was the goggles. Despite the amazing technology and thrilling potential of 3D television, people just weren’t willing to keep track of and regularly wear 3D goggles in the comfort of their homes. It’s one thing to see the latest summer blockbuster in 3D at the local cinema and wear goggles for a couple of hours; it’s quite another to put them on every time you turn on your TV.
This would seem to bode ill for VR given the necessity of goggles and headsets, but the key distinction is that VR is a separate activity altogether. There is no version of VR without headsets, so they don’t seem like an inconvenience. So in a way, 3D home entertainment, despite failing miserably, might have been the most direct precursor to VR. The latter is just a better way to do it.
General Improvement In Gaming Graphics
This is a less tangible shift in technology, but as the leading consoles have continued to adapt and improve, graphics are only becoming more realistic. Pocket-Lint’s account of the new PS4 Pro called the newly updated console a “4K gaming powerhouse,” and the Xbox One S is on the same level. These consoles have substantially better graphics than most VR experiences, but the underlying idea is immersion. We want better graphics because we want games to feel more realistic, and it seems as if they improved so much that the next natural step was immersion through VR.
Manipulation Of Casino Environments
For nearly two decades, online casino gaming was about simple imitations of casino games. You could play just about anything, but there was never any illusion that you were doing more than video poker or arcade roulette. More recently, casino site environments have been manipulated to present an incredibly realistic take on the games they recreate. Betfair’s live roulette rooms demonstrate the trend in perhaps its most impressive form. Unlike poker, which requires plenty of dealer interaction, roulette relies less on the human touch. However, that hasn’t stopped the platform from promoting live video feeds of dealers for real-time gameplay that’s more dynamic and engaging than your typical user interface. This is further evidence of the industry’s effort to simulate virtual reality without a VR device, which speaks to the desire of players for more realistic gaming options
Introduction Of AR Gaming
Augmented reality came along as VR was also beginning its rise and might offer the best hint as to where this industry is going. These days, AR has become synonymous with Pokémon GO as the mobile gaming sensation took advantage of smartphone cameras to create an immersive AR environment. Fast Company’s explanation of how this game may have proven that AR is more mainstream than VR pointed out that the game became nearly as popular as Twitter in about a week’s time! That’s faster growth than we’re ever going to see for a VR device, and while the Pokémon GO excitement has tapered off, it’s a strong indicator AR will continue to have a place in the market.