The world is filled to the brim with technology. Indeed, it is practically everywhere we look. We’ve all become so accustomed to it that every new development only seems game changing for a few months or so before it becomes so ubiquitous that we can’t remember a world without it.
However, there is one area of tech that has been on the horizon for decades now but, as of yet, hasn’t really broken through. It’s one area so fundamentally different to everything that has gone before it that if it did realise its potential it could change the way we, as humans, experience day-to-day life. That technology is virtual reality (VR).
Yes, we might already be familiar with Google Glass and, although that hasn’t really caught on as promised, the early capabilities were intriguing and exciting. Perhaps it was just the price point of a pair of spectacles that put people off (or that non-glasses wearers would feel odd donning a pair for such use?).
So, what’s coming next? What’s the advancement that could stop us all in our tracks and take notice? Glass looked to find its feet in the world of information, offering navigation and prices of goods etc. Another Silicon Valley-funded project, the Facebook-backed Oculus Rift, looks set to be launched publicly next year and promises IMAX-like experiences through a head-mounted console. And, aside from films, one industry that will certainly be getting excited about this project’s development is that of gaming.
Just imagine playing your favourite sports games using VR headgear like Oculus. Everything from first-person shooters, driving simulators and even online casino games would feel so much more realistic, making you feel much closer to the action. It’s no wonder there’s so much hype surrounding its release, especially now that Oculus have signed a deal that will see them partner up with Microsoft for VR streaming through the XboxOne. Sony, meanwhile, have been developing their own VRHeadset, called ProjectMorpheus, which will also be released next year and allow games, videos and the like to be played via the PlayStation 4 console.
Of course, this is all very exciting, and there is another tech, similar to VR, that has been making waves recently – augmented reality (AR). For those of you who have been paying attention to this nascent technology, apps such as Blippar have been harnessing its current capabilities for a while, with limited success in terms of uptake from the public at large. That is probably why there hasn’t been as much chatter surrounding AR.
However, instead of creating a completely digitised world in front of our eyes (as is the case with VR), AR augments (well, there’s a surprise) digital assets onto the existing physical canvas, creating a blend of real and virtual which has the potential to be much more compelling.
One of the companies leading the way with this technology is Magic Leap. Check their website to see what they’re up to. It’s quite something and, if what they’re proposing becomes actual reality, it could be the start of a seismic shift in the way that we game. Just imagine sitting down at your kitchen table to play poker with your friends, while they’re in different parts of the country but it feels and looks as if you’re all in one place. Creepy for some, exhilarating for others, whether we like it or not, gaming is about to change forever.