An inside look at what's to come in the future of VR and online gaming.
Since the internet has revolutionized the way in which we live our lives in just under two decades, many are keen to see what developments will be next in line. And one of the major innovations that has stolen headlines is the introduction of virtual reality devices. What was once the realm of science fiction in films such as Lawnmower Man, has now become a tangible reality, and many are suggesting that this is the next big leap for humankind. Online gaming has come a long way with the advent of online casino gaming, virtual reality, and the ever popular multi-player online format.
Virtual reality refers to an immersive multimedia experience where the user is able to engage in a computer simulated environment through special sensors that detect, and adjust to the user's actions.
The term has been adapted since its initial use in 1938 by French playwright Antonin Artoud to describe the virtual reality of the theatre, to become a way in which technology can simulate three-dimensional environments and allow the user to experience that reality with all of their senses.
In the 1990's, electronics pioneers like Sega constructed headsets for arcade games, but ultimately such early technology was far too limited to realistically construct artificial worlds.
However, with the advent of Google's hugely popular Street View that introduced navigable panoramas of real-life locations, it was announced that we are on the threshold of being able to exist in virtual spaces.
This was compounded by the news in 2014 that Facebook had purchased the innovative virtual reality start-up Oculus Rift for $2 billion. Such a move mirrored the gradual dawning that virtual reality could potentially have an array of uses from practical learning applications, to work-based simulations, to even being able to play online casino games whilst being immersed in a virtual casino.
Since then, there has been an incredible rush amongst the leading software developers to capitalise on this new technology. Sony has already announced a virtual reality headset for gaming use with the PS4 in the form of Project Morpheus and Google have also rushed into the fray with a $500 million investment into Magic Leap that superimposes digital images over the physical world reality.
Such innovation has a great deal of practicality in a variety of modern day circumstances. The ability to explore an environment in three dimensions has many practical learning aids. Furthermore, beyond the realms of gaming, virtual reality headsets offer unimaginable depth to people wishing to immerse themselves fully into films that are starting to realize the potential of these incredible technological breakthroughs.
However, there are still significant obstacles to overcome before virtual reality becomes a true consumer object.
When using a device like Oculus Rift, one of the biggest issues is the occasional feelings of nausea that are experienced by the fact that the brain thinks it is moving around an environment whereas the body stays in a central location. Companies like The Void have tried overcoming this by building 3D environments that can be mapped against the virtual reality experience, but such efforts are costly.
Furthermore, the basic kit required to use virtual reality is still a long way off from being user-friendly, and there is still progress to be made in improving issues of latency and graphic displays, which is why for the moment virtual reality is still a developer's toy.