Game developers are learning how to use virtual reality (VR) and immersive technology to engage their audiences.
When I visited the rAge gaming expo two years ago, it seemed like VR was on the verge of going mainstream. You couldn’t walk two steps without walking into someone wearing a headset pawing disbelievingly at the air.
Unfortunately I was out of the country during 2018’s rAge, but it’s still somewhat disappointing to note two years on that we’re still very far from VR becoming a meaningful part of our everyday life.
Whether it’s gaming or any of the many other applications of VR that we’re just beginning to think of, we still have far to go. Market research does suggest that the steady growth in VR will continue to speed up.
The VR gaming industry is booming
VR expected to be a $38 billion market by 2024. At this point, it’s still likely that the smartphone-enabled VR headset will dominate as the largest market segment, with gaming and entertainment being the biggest software category.
VR is still making its way into the gaming space, with game developers learning how to use immersive technology to engage their audiences.
However, VR as a technology is more than just games. We have barely scratched the surface of the ways in which we can harness the technology to enhance existing industries and new industries which possibly don’t exist yet.
VR in entertainment
Music is another space in which VR could be a game-changer. Currently, musicians rely on live performances for a big chunk of their income.
VR could break down geographic and physical barriers, allowing performers to create experiences where a VR audience can be part of the crowd or even up on stage.
Black Mirror briefly touched on this idea with the episode titled Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too. Naturally, this same model could apply to live sporting events as well.
VR hasn’t had an impact on film and television that it’s had on gaming yet, however, much like 3D technology film, and TV often takes a long time to adopt disruptive technology.
It will be interesting to see how VR begins to make its way onto our screens.
While some applications like documentary filmmaking seem apparent it’s just as exciting to wonder about how feature film and television producers begin to imagine new and innovative uses for VR in visual storytelling.
VR in tourism
Virtual tourism is another space that will provide the tourism industry opportunities to offer access to sites, sounds and attractions that previously required expensive travel for.
Reducing cost and danger could make virtual tourism experiences very popular in the future.
While the idea of being immersed in a shark tank is excellent in practice, I might prefer to tick that experience off my list as a virtual one and with all my fingers still attached.
All of these are just the fun commercial application let’s not forget how important VR could become in education and training and facilitating in-person type activities like interviews and presentations.