Will there be new peripherals for games? Can they take our gaming experience to the next level? Virtual reality is moving forward, although it has not yet entered the mass market.
We will look at what VR devices are currently being developed, what VR discoveries should be expected in the near future, and what gamers can expect. We will also study the prospects of the industry, enumerate what feelings virtual reality can bring into play and tell you what the gaming world of the future will look like.
What new technologies are used in these devices?
Virtual reality is not limited to glasses or optical devices.
After all, the abbreviation VR implies that all elements of reality, including physical sensations, are used in real time in the generated computer world.
Therefore, VR technology should ideally involve not only the eyes, but also motion or even speech in the process.
To make this a reality, a whole range of technologies can be used. Stereo-projection, gaze tracking systems, power feedback – this is only a small set of technologies that can be used by developers.
And as these technologies improve, the virtual reality comes to the players more diverse and expressive.
VR glasses, Kinect and other peripheral devices
Despite the close attention of journalists in the first days after the release, the popularity of VR headsets remains more than modest. The transmission of virtual reality through glasses was widely practiced long before Oculus VR launched its first model. The relatively high price, in turn, scared off many potential customers.
But despite all the above, VR glasses make a pleasant impression. They allow players to explore game worlds differently. Glasses provide the widest viewing angle, and the player feels part of the virtual world.
When you wear VR glasses, you can look around in the game environment by simply turning your head. It’s a great invention that opens up a whole new world for gaming – apart from the fact that prices are still biting (VR headsets for mobile devices are cheaper, but their power is much more modest).
An alternative to the high-performance Oculus Rift model is the HTC Vive and PS VR headsets (although the latter is only compatible with Playstation 4).
Oculus Rift is equipped with touch controllers and allows you to use the joystick or keyboard or control the game with gestures. At the same time, HTC Vive offers many more accessories – headphones, base station and tracker can be purchased separately.
Sulon VR glasses are not bad either, but they are not very popular. There are other manufacturers (Durovis, Avegant and Gameface), but their products are available only on the mobile market.
But even before the appearance of VR-glasses, such devices as Kinect raised the process of game management to a completely new level. For the first time, this technology allowed gamers to control gestures, particularly hand gestures.
It opened up completely new games and changed the gameplay itself. The same type of control was used in Nintendo Wii. These devices created a new world of gaming – tennis, bowling and even boxing – that required not just pressing a button, but doing the right thing.
Combined with gesture control, the VR glasses create the ideal environment for a virtual reality that will engage human senses and motion control.
Why are gamers still indifferent to virtual reality?
If VR technologies are already on the market, why haven’t they penetrated every home yet?
The first reason is the price. Even now VR-devices for home use cost several hundred dollars.
There are some relatively cheap alternatives, but they are not able to attract customers.
The second reason is that you can play on these devices not every game.
VR-glasses and other VR-devices allow you to play only new games developed specifically for this technology. So we will have to wait until the gaming industry begins to seriously consider the technology of virtual reality at the stage of development to offer the client a wider choice of game parameters.
But this is a very slow process – VR-technology can not be inserted into the game in a couple of days. First, game developers have to explore these new possibilities and find suitable applications for the technology.
Although there are already a few games that successfully use VR technology, most of the latest major releases do not have this functionality at all.
The third reason is the hardware requirements of the VR equipment. Not every gamer can afford a device with the latest electronic stuffing. This is especially true for PC players.
Consider the cost factor of upgrading components (or even buying a new computer) to support VR devices, and the price of the technology will increase significantly.
Last but not least, the fourth reason why virtual reality is still far from the gamers. Global innovations are always difficult to sell at first, because they require explanation.
Unfortunately, you can’t just plug in a VR device and play your favorite game right away. Anyway, that’s what worries many gamers. That’s why most customers are so skeptical about the idea of compatibility of VR-devices with their gaming systems and the possibility of their theoretical use.
The future of VR technology
We’ve already mentioned VR glasses and gesture control in games. Let’s take a closer look at the prospects of VR-technology.
Ideally, to create a stronger effect of presence, virtual reality should involve the whole range of human feelings. However, so far we have seen only glasses and several motion capture systems that use only a small set of pre-conceived positions and movements (so called proprioception).
What can a virtual reality become that involves all the movements of our body and the entire spectrum of sensations? The answer to this question can be Virtualizer, a new project by Cyberith. A gamer who wants to experience virtual reality is placed in a special design. He can jump, squat, walk and even run in it.
And you can rotate through 360 degrees. If you step inside this structure, you move in the game as well. Special sensors capture the movement of your gaming weapon and move it into the game, unlike the classic game controllers.
This way, you can move a wide range of movements into the game, including aiming and pulling the trigger. VR glasses support this device and make this version of virtual reality even more plausible.
Will gamers of the future play games with these devices? Of course, yes! However, the main question – the price – remains open.
It would be interesting to see to what extent in the future the interaction of virtual reality with our feelings will reach. It would be great if we could touch, smell, or even taste what we can see in the game.
And we’re already working on that in the FeelReal project. Its developers create two products – FeelReal VR and Nirvana VR. FeelReal VR is a wireless device compatible with most of the existing virtual reality glasses.
It can transmit wind, vibration, water vapour, hot air and so on. In addition, it can even synthesize a variety of smells. The Nirvana VR is a fully face-covering mask that further extends the sensory stimulation range.
It is worth mentioning technologies such as VR Dome and VR Cave, which can be used to create a virtual environment throughout the room.
There have been many changes in the world of virtual reality in recent years. The first VR devices are already available and offer a completely new gaming experience.
Despite the fact that they could be a revolution in the world of games, this has not yet happened. The reason for this is both economic and psychological factors.
Many are skeptical about this technology, and its functionality and applications still seem to be unobvious. To convince gamers, VR devices need to be demonstrated, promoted and offered for extensive testing.
In addition, high prices make them unaffordable for most gamers, and the gaming industry takes this into account.
To increase the acceptance and credibility of this technology, you need to develop many new games with virtual reality support.
If these barriers can be overcome, the new technology cannot be stopped. It’s only a matter of time before VR technology appears in every home.
Much has already been said about how augmented reality technology can change our lives in the coming years. However, Microsoft HoloLens costs several thousand dollars and remains inaccessible to most customers.
Nevertheless, this technology is developing rapidly and sooner or later will be available to everyone.