Games are not the system seller for VR

A while back, Sampo wrote about the challenges in developing virtual reality games. It’s no secret that almost all of us are passionate gamers. Obviously we are eager to see what the future will hold for VR gaming – other than horror experiences that is – as it’s a huge step in graphics performance as well. Immersion-wise VR gaming is going to nail it and we’ve already seen tons of videos to prove it. I still don’t think games are going to be the system seller for VR devices when there are so many applications trying to do the same, yet better.

Social virtual reality is definitely going to be a hit. We are always looking for new ways to connect with our friends and loved ones when they are not physically around, and VR would basically revolutionize the way we interact. Instead of blasting those emojis around to express our feelings we can already use video calls and actual facial expressions – but we’re still lacking the actual presence of another person.

That is something VR can change, and with supportive technologies we could be able to “feel” the other in a physical way too. Sure it won’t replace any face to face interaction, but I would be more than happy to give my mom a virtual hug from time to time.

Simulations are already quite popular in training and educational purposes, as the point is to imitate some real life scenario, like when teaching first aid the old school way. Thanks to technological advancements, we are have been able to learn a lot of things by using screens and some kind of controllers but VR could change that as well. For example, the military uses insane setups with multiple, huge displays attached to tanks, fighter controllers or just empty rooms to simulate different battle scenarios. Just imagine what’s that going to cost compared to VR goggles. Yikes!

There is also the dilemma of immersion. Few years ago I took some simulated night driving lessons for my driver’s license. I had to sit in a car-like environment – I think it was supposed to be an Opel – and there were three monitors in front of me simulating the view I would see while driving. The whole experience felt more like a bad video game than driving an actual car, so I ended up going full Grand Theft Auto with it. Physically I was still located in a basic office setting, meaning that I could hear when the phone rang or see when someone used the printer… Talk about breaking the immersion. Why not remove the whole environment and replace it with a virtual, more authentic one?

And then we have 3D models of everything. Imagine visiting that dream house of yours in VR before buying it, or fitting a new couch to your existing apartment with an AR application. Virtual and augmented realities make it possible to see and experience things that would have been hard or even impossible to do before. Want to have a vacation in Finland, but are too scared we might actually have polar bears running around the streets? Put those goggles on and see for yourself! A hardcore Game of Thrones-fan could be able to roam around Westeros and live a dream. Instead of reading bad tweets while commuting to work, I could do a 20-minute space exploration while sitting in a tram. Wouldn’t that be neat?

The possibilities are nearly limitless, and gaming is only a small fraction of the big picture. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all in if we can have creative and amazing games, but I just don’t see it being the biggest trend in virtual reality.

We are also doing our part in the VR revolution. If you want to learn more about how we do it, click here.

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