The Power and the Problem with Virtual Reality

Virtual reality, or VR, is here to stay, or at least that’s what the VR producers and headset manufacturers are saying. People in tech circles have been talking about VR for years and we can’t deny the huge potential it holds. But why hasn’t it been more successful amongst consumers and users? Let’s take a closer look at the possibilities and problems with VR.

Is VR About to Die?

The expectations for VR were huge and it was assumed that everyone would quickly own a VR headset. A few years have passed since the new generation of headsets hit the shops and the success hasn’t gone quite as predicted. The technology still has a way to go until it becomes easy and engaging enough for everyone to get onboard. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Oculus boss Jason Rubin talked about how VR isn’t dying but, on the contrary, is about to flourish. Software and hardware issues still need to be solved, such as the resolution and cables that connect the headset and screen. VR technology producers are focusing on overcoming these challenges, so who knows? Maybe soon we’ll see the VR headset becoming as important a part of the home as the TV.

For consumers, the point of VR technology is unclear. As with 3D technology, there was a lot of hype when it was launched but the enthusiasm quickly died down.

Producers developed games to show new ways of using the tech instead of focusing on offering a deep, lasting gaming experience. The entertainment value was high but short-lived, and the benefits were few.

It’s also noteworthy that the price tag is hefty. An Oculus Rift will set the shopper back about €449 for one headset, two sensors, two touch controllers and seven VR apps. Samsung Gear VR is more reasonable at the €150 mark, but can only be used with the latest Samsung Galaxy S models. HTC Vive Pro starts at €879, while the HTC Vive is at a slightly lower price point at €700.

Engaging Gaming Experience

When producers start developing games that meet players’ need for an engaging experience, the technology is likely to become more popular. 2019 will see the launch of a VR game from Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment which promises a bigger, more meaningful gaming experience. The game is a collaboration between Respawn and Oculus and ahead of its launch, expectations are soaring – perhaps enough to attract gamers to VR.

Similarly, online casino platform developer NetEnt is getting in on the action. As the creator of online slot machines such as Jumanji, Starburst and Mega Fortune Dreams, NetEnt is taking the step into VR with the announcement of an upcoming real-money virtual reality slot machine. This will be welcome news to anyone who enjoys online casinos with VR taking the Live Casino experience to a whole new level.

VR technology was originally meant to serve the individual but the producers have shifted this to bigger groups in order to sell in the VR experience. VR headsets are often available for group events such as “bachelor party” or team building activities. It’s also been successful in Escape Room experiences.

These areas provide great situations in which to show off the tech, but the end goal of producers and manufacturers is for VR headsets to be found in people’s homes.

VR’s Big Potential

VR’s popularity is clear in tech circles, but that is about it. In those circles, gaming is particularly popular, notably adventure, explorer, driving, shooting and horror genre games. Soon, this will also include the VR casino experience with realistic games of chance, slot machines and live casinos.

The technology offers plenty of opportunity and the foundation for its success as a mainstream product has already been set. As the popularity of VR increases, its appeal should reach beyond being a tool for engaging gaming experiences. We can already see this happening from the increasingly more popular use of VR content in education, training and 360 degree films, and in the adult film industry. VR could also be used for exercise classes, property viewings and product visualisation. Imagine viewing a property in 360…how undeniably practical!

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