Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Future is VR?

The hot item in the technology industry right now is virtual reality as a new way to experience digital content.  I will be the first to admit that my knowledge base on this topic is limited, and I decided to make a post surrounding what I am most interested in: the games.

Being a PlayStation fanboy, the launch of the PS VR Headset has my nerd senses trembling especially the visions I have for what could be accomplished with this technology and the amazing experiences as a potential result.  Please keep in mind this post is one of ignorance.  Starting now I will be doing my homework on the details surrounding VR, what it can do, and what it will look like in the future.

Dat Price Tag
While writing this post, I have been wondering about what the future of gaming will look like once VR has launched.  I feel that we are still a long way off from a Sword Art: Online experience (full body immersion, a literal virtual reality), but being able to immerse myself in a world entirely in a virtual reality setting has been a dream of mine for a long while.

With that said, the Occulus  is currently priced at roughly $600 while the PlayStation VR's price has yet to be announced other than a statement stating that it will be similar to the price of a new console.  This is some immense sticker shock for a gaming peripheral.  Early adopters are a given, anything new that could change the face of the industry is always going to have some initial success as long as there is enough content to keep the early adopters busy.  I am going to guess that the final product will be roughly $500-$600 to stay in line with their competition.

Consumer Concerns.
I have to pause and wonder how virtual will this reality be?  It doesn't take long for advertisements and other real life mechanisms to make their way into anything considered modern and mainstream.  This concerns me, and it probably my biggest concern.  I game for the experience, and if VR services begin popping into existence, it is my hope that there are limitations put into place on how much marketing can be done while inside of the experience.  I hope the success of VR is well enough to prevent ad campaign insertion, or if there are ad insertions that they are done with taste without blatantly interrupting the experience.

A second concern I have is how great the support will be once the excitement of a new avenue of experiencing a game wears off. If VR is accepted as a new medium, it needs to push the boundaries of current technology to spur new ideas and thought processes for the future.  .  Having VR simulations in the medical and educational fields could bring about positive change considering the funding would be there.  However, bringing about change from a consumer perspective is a bit trickier since the entire goal is to introduce an audience to a new way of entertaining themselves.  For those who are older (myself included) this will be a significant investment towards the unknown.

My final concern involves the experience itself while in a game.  I don't mind standing up, but if I have to be fully mobile with my head while my eyes are covered I an curious as to what the reaction will be like.  I generally don't experience any  motion sickness when I drive or fly, but I will probably have a bottle of Dramamine handy just in case shit gets weird.  Another oddity that I am a bit concerned about is while wearing the headset as well as headphones, and  how claustrophobic the experience will be.  I am not a huge fan of closed in spaces (big guy problems), and having multiple senses removed from reality will probably take some getting used to.

Final Thoughts
Regardless, I am getting the PlayStation VR headset when it launches. While I am not excited for the upfront cost of it, at the same time the hype surrounding it makes me wonder how well the final product will compare to the hype.  If VR is successful the creative possibilities could provide experiences that could have never been done in the past.  

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