Virtual Reality, the New Kid On The Block
We are now witnessing Virtual Reality’s first full-on push on the consumer market, coming at you with everything it’s got to establish a flourishing industry. While skeptics are calling it the second big bubble in technology, developers, early-adopters and investors firmly believe otherwise. To them, this is the time to establish a new medium and rush to gain a foothold in an emerging market with enormous potential.
This time around, the big selling point is affordability. More precisely, 2016’s big VR endeavor is defined by a wide approach to pricing, with an amazingly low entry barrier. Google Cardboard Systems start as low as 15 $ – with wildly varying quality, mind you. Although this is great for establishing interest in VR itself on a big scale, the experience provided is more of an effort to give consumers a sneak peak of VR’s full potential, rather than a comprehensive implementation.
At around 100 $, the next step up in VR-Hardware – the Gear VR – offers the best bang for your buck, but requires to buy into the Samsung Mobile’s hardware ecosystem. Similarly, PlaystationVR seeks to build upon it’s already vast assortment of (tracking-) peripherals to slide its way into the market, which makes it more affordable than the top-of-the-line VR solutions. However, if you’re serious about this new frontier there is no way around a fleshed out, more ambitious system. Enter Oculus and HTC’s Vive, starting from 599$ plus whatever you have to spend for capable hardware to run it. As a trade-off, these provide bar none the most immersive experience and sense of presence, sans motion sickness caused by visuo-vestibular delay of less capable systems. With big names in the industry like Carmack and Abrash attached to them and the financial backbone of Facebook’s & Valve’s wallet, these two contenders are sure not to run out of steam anytime soon.
A new sandbox for innovation has arrived.
Across all shapes of the Virtuality Continuum, Mixed Reality systems are gaining massive traction. Pokémon Go’s install base already surpassed 11% of all US-smartphones a while back, breaking all kinds of records on the way. The Poké-Craze also made it’s way to Twitch.tv, where it caused a huge splash from the get-go, still ranking among the top 10 games . One can only speculate what content developers and streamers can come up with in terms of other forms of Mixed Reality, like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Undoubtedly, there are huge implications and possibilities for Education, Industry and Entertainment
This is only a glimpse of the future of Social Virtual Reality, but already an enormously alluring one. Think Streamers meeting up with Viewers in the same space, cheering in a virtual theater, or playing alongside the host in the virtual game environment itself.
Needless to say, you can count on vAudience to step up and take Virtual Cheering literally in the future.
Lenn from vAudience, 8/16