Updated: Jan 17, 2020
Who would have thought Virtual Reality would make such a comeback as it has! I certainly did not!
When I was little I asked my grandmother to take me to Blockbuster and rent the Nintendo Virtual Boy in the 90's. Oh man, she was very kind to let me rent that. I think it was over $10 or $20 to rent. Maybe even $30. Just for 1 week! It came with 1 game, Mario Tennis. I played it for an hour and the red lasers burned into my retinas showing no mercy.
As you can imagine, I got bored. My grandma was suggesting I turn it off because it couldn't be good for my eyes. I knew she was right and let my brother get on and play a bit and he was even less interested in the whole thing. It was a very early virtual reality experience however, virtual reality headsets have existed since 1956. In full color, in 3d, with smells, vibrations, and even wind. Think about that. Don't believe me, right? Check it out here!
This should blow you away. Humans are incredibly clever and you are too! The problem lies in marketing and funding these kinds of products as well as the competition.
Remember what happened to the first electric cars? Yeah, Tesla is only the first that hasn't been crushed by its competitors but electric cars have been made since as early as 1832. Let that sink in. The first practical prototype was developed in the 1870s. That sounds exactly like what is happening with VR right now doesn't it?
The good news is, there are no mulitnational conglomerates killing off the top engineers and scientists in suspicious car accidents trying to bring VR mainstream! VR is the next level in entertainment consumption. Entertainment has become a necessity in modern society. It is a sad, hard truth. Try walking around without your smartphone for one day. I dare you. I can't even do it!
VR is being pushed by Facebook which gobbled up Oculus. While Facebook's platform may becoming less popular their infrastructure is already in place to make VR mainstream. They know how to market, in fact that's their specialty, running ads across their site. They know people want the next level in gaming and the new wireless VR headsets are going to provide that.
I myself was a hater and was curious so I purchased one with money I didn't have. Yeah, we all do dumb stuff. But when I first slipped my Oculus Rift CV1 over my eyes I was impressed. The immersion is unreal at first. The feeling when you are able to grab and throw objects, duck behind cover in a gun shootout in a VR version of CS:GO is incredible. I almost lost my lunch flying in DCS World with my headset on. There was a drop in resolution but I was better able to track bandits and it felt much more real and the next generation of lenses will hopeful increase the resolution. There was no turning back, it was that good!
The price point of the new headsets is perfect, nearly the same for the widely popular Nintendo Switch, people will pay for this.
The downside is the fact that we are already having difficulty with smartphones, oh boy I never liked that name. Should change them to "spy phones", really. That is what they really are. Collecting meta data for companies to analyze to better target you. People are glued to their smartphone screens and its still bizarre to see a couple go out on a date and not talk with each other but stare at their phones. Imagine the problems that wireless VR will cause. Anyone remember Pokemon Go?
People are going to get robbed and possibly murdered while completely immersed in these headsets. It is a scary reality that comes along with fantastic technology.
The bright side is you can soon experience virtually any job before going to college for it! You can receive additional training in a 3d environment in the comfort of your living room. People who are bed riddin or in hospice can enjoy the illusion of walking through a beautiful forest or a diamond sand covered beach. All technology can be used for both good and bad. The choice is up to us.
So, while it is exciting to see this technology finally come to light, much like Tesla's success with their electric cars, we need to better prepare and educate ourselves on how to use these technologies safely. That is something that is lacking. Imagine if we taught these things in schools! It would be interesting and relevant information for kids! But, I digress.
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