From The Huffington Post’s Nima Ghadiri: Home Virtual Reality has seemingly been looming on the horizon for three decades, ever since VPL Research founder Jaron Lanier announced the EyePhone device which retailed for just short of $10,000. But motion sickness, and the astronomical price, pushed the technology into the wilderness.
This year, home Virtual Reality re-entered mainstream consciousness with no less than five new devices under the Christmas tree, ranging from premium technology room-scale experiences like HTC Vive (think Star Trek’s Holodeck) to more accessible smartphone-based products such as Google Daydream and Samsung Gear, and a price range from £12 (Google Cardboard) to £689 (HTC Vive). Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg calls it: The next major computing platform that will come after mobile
With these new devices, it will be interesting to observe which one finds most favour in 2017: Will Facebook-owned Oculus Rift make use of its technology and social media real-estate to market its pioneering product to the masses, or will Sony’s Playstation VR deliver the fun games to make VR a genuine prospect for a world of console gamers? Will people prefer affordability and portability with Samsung’s Gear over the need for a tricky room-based setup with the HTC Vive, arguably the most immersive and wow device of all?
At its core, Virtual Reality remains a gaming technology. However all of the various devices are equally adept at providing amazing storytelling experiences, 360° music videos, or plunging the user into historic galleries and exotic worlds. Entering a famous Vincent Van Gogh painting in Borrowed Light Studios’ “The Night Café” is, in equal measures, beautiful and surreal.
As the user base is small, the market for “Triple A” gaming titles lasting hundreds of hours is minimal. The fortunate side-effect is a booming market for short experiences and quirkier games such as “Accounting” from the Crows Crows Crows Studio which are both enjoyable and affordable. But there is still the odd zombie shooter, and zombies jumping up on you in virtual reality is very, very frightening.