If you’ve been alive for more than a few years, you’ve probably seen at least one movie which involves alternate realities. Whether it’s The Matrix or Inception, virtual worlds have been the subject of interest for many, however it only recently has become accessible to the masses.
At the recent International CES a panel comprised of Jaunt CEO Jens Christensen, ADR1FT developer Three One Zero’s Adam Orth, and Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan all offered their insights on the current state of virtual reality and where it will be headed in the coming years.
Gaining Steam Rapidly
While virtual reality has been a niche technology for awhile now, you should expect to see it go mainstream within the next 24-36 months. Since the final five percent of any product development is the longest phase, the availability of the Oculus to the public is only a blip on the timeline of VR development.
Fortunately other organizations such as Google have opened the floodgates when it comes to content creation by offering Google Cardboard at no charge to the public. This is a collection of tools designed to allow anyone to create VR content for mobile devices.
The general consensus of the panel is that VR isn’t something where a consumer version can be rushed to the public because doing so would hinder adoption.
Unlike the console wars of the past, virtual reality will be about open standards between devices so content creators can maximize their audiences.
Not at Hollywood Levels (Yet)
When you hear virtual reality you probably think of experiencing shootouts and flight from the comfort of your recliner. Unfortunately due to the limits of human biology, most virtual reality experiences are going to be limited to cinematic VR rather than first person rapid action experiences.
This is where a 360 degree camera is used to create VR friendly movies. Unlike video games, this technology is easier to adopt because the calculations can be done in advance whereas video games require the rendering to occur on the fly due to many possibilities during game play.
Fortunately according to the panel, 2015 is going to be the year of virtual content where studios will begin to start adopting these systems.
Overcoming Physical Limitations
Best illustrated in a recent episode of South Park virtual reality is a new frontier of technology where the implications are completely unknown.
Due to the way the body works, one of the challenge to action packed VR is the inability of the body to safely process movement when the body isn’t physically moving. The human brain also has trouble keeping up with the high refresh rate of the systems.
Right now it’s possible to snap someone from point A to point B instantly but when it comes to handling acceleration, that’s currently out of the question.
Aside from the previously mentioned issues, there’s also the fear of entering a VR world. Virtual reality has the potential to change the world but changing human behavior will be a challenge even for companies with the deepest pockets.
For now the key to widespread adoption of virtual reality will be for developers to focus on gentle applications of the systems while developers keep the seven deadly sins of technology in mind.