Virtual reality has long been at the center of a lot of science-fiction media. From books to movies and of course games, the topic has been brought up a lot; humans being able to create and interact with these life-like worlds and yet it’s merely a simulation. Our natural drive of curiosity and thirst to be stimulated are at the center of ideas like this, and that’s why so many are moved by it.
Due to the fact that gaming is fully interactive, developers have tried to mesh it with the concept of virtual reality for quite some time now. One of the more successful attempts can actually be considered to be motion controls, which allowed players to interact with the world around them like never before. That’s why it appealed to literally millions of people. As we can see, that craze has now subsided. Now, the more original concept of VR is starting to come into the forefront, and once again people are getting excited. With all the activity that it’s now generating, does it have the potential to take off like motion controls did?
The hype around today’s VR technology definitely started with the Oculus Rift. From since its inception, it was able to garner a sizable following from the gaming community, and the crowd simply continued to grow as time went on. Since then, we’ve seen a whole truckload of companies step up to the plate, of course including Sony with PlayStation VR.
I must admit, I’m very impressed with how quickly the development of VR has progressed. While it’s true that it technically isn’t new, its revival has still been considerably swift. The fact that so many companies have now adopted the idea and are trying to put their own spin on things is proof enough that the sector has gained a lot of steam. All of this is very similar to that of motion controls. Just like VR, motion controls weren’t new, but after Nintendo decided to revisit the idea and push with the Wii, it didn’t take very long for the industry to simply go ahead and follow.
While motion controls took over at a very rapid pace, like most fads, it didn’t take long to die out very quickly either. After Microsoft and Sony jumped on the bandwagon with the XBOX Kinect and PlayStation Move, in addition to it becoming a main feature of smartphones and tablets, people quickly became used to it. It lost it’s “wow” factor and simply became one of the many commodities in the entertainment world.
That’s why I’m left to ask: will VR simply become another fad?
I began the article by posing the question if it had the same potential as motion controls to take off. I think it’s clear to see with the aforementioned facts of fast development and adoption rate, VR has already ran over the first few steps needed to get to the level that motion controls did. But therein lies the potential issue — even if it really does take off, will it just crash and burn?
While it may seem like I’m just jumping to the worst case scenario, it really has to do with the fact that in a world that’s constantly changing, it’s very easy for things to come and go. VR is still relatively young, so if it does happen to truly become the next big thing, there’s a good chance that it won’t become another ‘has-been’ very quickly. Even so, the more accessible it becomes, the greater the chance that people will start to just get used to it.
One good thing that VR has over motion controls is that there’s just something about it that’s simply amazing. Because it’s such an immersive and ‘out-of-this’ world experience, there’s a chance that may even become a major pillar that simply evolves along with the rest of technology. For years people have marveled at the gadgets of secret agents and technological geniuses like Tony Stark. Nowadays, we’re actually realistically close to getting to that level. That’s why the “Wow!” factor has the potential to stick around for quite some time; maybe even longer than the likes of motion controls.
Virtual Reality has a level of depth and amazement that far surpasses that of traditional motion controls.
As of right now, the VR craze is high mainly because so much companies are experimenting with it. This is still very new technology and much of it is undiscovered. People are excited by the idea of it, more so than the actual reality of things. As it continues to grow and takes on a more definable shape, then we can see true excitement. As of right now, we’re merely flirting with the idea more-so than anything else.
With that being said, it’s hard to say exactly how things will end up. Developers like EA are still on the fence about the whole thing simply because they too are waiting to see where things will go. After all, just a few years ago 3D TVs were being called the “next big thing”, but we can now see how that ended up. Will VR be the same? Probably not; it’s already being embraced to a relatively greater degree. Either way, it should be very exciting to see how it all comes together as time goes on.