Mainstream VR: The Genie that ain’t Going Back in the Bottle

By Michael Sylvester

It has begun. Forgive me, perhaps that’s a bit melodramatic. That being said, virtual reality is making due on some promises the industry has been aiming at for decades now. Companies are not only making the mark, they are seeing possibilities open up with the technology that only give a glimpse of its future.  Admittedly, what once felt like a novelty is starting to blossom into the next generation of human/machine interaction.

As a vr hobbyist and self-admitted technology junkie, I have had the pleasure of observing the steady progress of this emerging medium, and what I am observing is a trend of snowballing popularity and collaboration that is only in its infancy.

Now for a bit of wild speculation and a personally-biased opinion about vr... have a Merry Christmas. Yes, in six months from now, Black Friday is going to be a feeding frenzy of vr consumption and demand for content and hardware alike.  With Oculus releasing its highly touted new Touch controllers and Playstation’s release of a new Aim controller, immersion is approaching a whole new level. The rising popularity and availability of vr is definitely approaching a boiling point this holiday season, if you ask me.

A new age of gaming is rapidly evolving and the competition for the next big advancements is brutal.  With Microsoft practically cornering the augmented reality market, the software giant has officially weighed in and has always been a force to be reckoned with (anybody remember Xbox losses before they had edged out a corner of the console market?).  Facebook has consumed Oculus and the Vive is clearly proving to be a solid competitor.

The hardware is of course, only a single facet of the diamond that is the virtual revolution. I personally can attest that the software is what is really starting to explode in terms of quantity, quality, and commitment from the big name companies to invest in this new medium. Initial vr “experiences” were amazing for their novelty, but with real powerhouses like Eve: Valkyrie solidifying all of the elements needed to really hook gamers, the novelty is being replaced with practical and effective game design.  Vr is rapidly losing its reputation as a gimmicky experiment and gamers are poised to consume the content that is leaving them drooling like idiots as the art and style of professional game design is finally entering the arena.    

The burning question of course, is what does this mean for the future of gaming?  I find myself at a bit of a loss in this regards because I grew up in a generation where the NES left me and all of my friends in a state of wonder.  Watching the evolution of technology has proven one thing above all else, and that is it will continue to grow and astonish me until the day I die.  The concept of “immersion” is starting to flesh itself out as the headsets become partnered with greater innovation and the melding of input devices becomes more and more seamless.

Predictions as far as technological advancements in the digital age go have continued to be underestimations even by the leading pioneers in the field.  Even Bill Gates thought it impossible for anyone to ever need more than 1080 k (!) of RAM at one point.  This new era of gaming is simply going to astonish the new and older generation of gamers alike. I expect it will leave us all scratching our heads saying, “wow, what the hell just happened?”.

In the end, the real burning issue that remains in my mind about the explosion of innovation that I see starting to take place is the fact that it’s all in it’s infancy. We are just getting started, and it’s going to be a wild ride!

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment