Virtual reality has been predicted as the next big thing in entertainment for some time, but only within the last two or three years has it started to emerge as a real possibility. Virtual reality appeared on the Sundance Film Festival for the second year running, but this time with more than a dozen installations for different games, films and a range of other platforms.
With the number of virtual reality providers growing each year, the chances that there will soon be an affordable platform widely available for home users increases every day. Experts such as Shari Frilot says that there has been “A massive quantum leap in the field”, which means that there is the chance for the technology to “Come to market in a muscular way”.
Story-Telling in the Virtual Reality space
Films and television have been the primary focus of virtual reality until recently, and many experts consider that these outlets are still one of the major sites for virtual reality, with the breakdown of the barriers which separate the film and its viewers. According to Brian Storm, promoter of a production studio that is investing in this area “it’s clear that important storytelling can be elevated in the virtual reality space”. Some, such as Condition One a virtual reality startup company, believe that the technology could be used to simulate remote parts of the planet in urban homes, reducing “really complex, abstract problems….into experiences that we understand.”
Is Virtual Reality a realistic long-term concept?
Virtual reality is often associated with films and TV, with the majority of cultural references to VR using these forms as their basis. However, in the real world the majority of investors in virtual reality are gaming and social media platform owners, including companies such as Nintendo, Sony and Google. Last year the owners of Facebook invested in Oculus VR and their Oculus Rift technology. This means that the likelihood of virtual reality first appearing as a realistic concept in these forms is much higher than for TV and film. This will ultimately change the way that virtual reality is used and how it is created for use by the general public.
Gaming is the ideal place to try out virtual reality in real-time, prior to moving on to movies and TV. As the creator of products such as the virtual reality Elite game explains, it is much easier to use VR in a gaming situation because “It is much easier to lose yourself in the game”. VR has also been used in the development of multiplayer games such as the unusually-named Keep talking and nobody explodes, which involves real-world conversations revolving around defusing a virtual-reality bomb. The two elements, conversation and player-input gaming, can be used to create a world which appears to be uniquely realistic, sometimes to the point where the game can “Put you in situations that you would never be able to…or want to, experience firsthand.”
The Future of Virtual Reality lies in Gaming
Gaming options also means that there is more chance for other types of gaming and game play to become virtual reality. The regular use of hand-held technology for gaming including Solitaire, Mah-Jong and Poker can be enhanced by the use of virtual reality. It would allow more opportunity for conversations and real-time action, and can also add to the thrill of competitions such as Poker or online Bingo. Some websites in this field are already expressing an interest in this option: “The latest trend in the world of online casinos was the shift to mobile-compatible sites, as nowadays more than 90% of online casinos are available on-the-go. We have reason to believe that the next big trend to take over the realm of online gambling would be virtual reality”, says the owner of one such gaming website, LuckyAdmiral.
The consensus appears to be that virtual reality will soon be accessible to the general public, both in availability of films and games featuring virtual reality, and in its affordability for the homeowner. The ultimate success of virtual reality as a form of entertainment will be down to the quality of the products created, and to its ability to capture the interest of the general public.