While virtual reality has existed in some way, shape, or form for decades, technological limitations and the expense associated with it have limited its commercial viability. With the upcoming release of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive happening soon, let’s take a look at what’s old, what’s new, and what’s coming.
Virtual reality has existed for awhile, however, a few attempts to commercialize it really materialized in the 90’s.
Sega tried, as did Nintendo with the Virtual Boy, but the Virtual Boy was a huge commercial failure.
The Virtual Boy in particular suffered from the fact that it gave users splitting headaches from even mild use. Considering gamers think that spending three hours cursing at the TV and attempting the same Resident Evil puzzle over and over again is normal, the Virtual Boy was doomed from the start.
In an even more nauseating move, the Virtual Boy also only displayed graphics in red and black, making it look like a Scottish tartan’s nightmare.
Virtual reality, up until recently also suffered from the fact that it nauseated people to the point that they’d get cold sweats and want to throw up. This is due to lag of even mere milliseconds, which is just enough to confuse the eye and make the user feel ill.
This all changed with both the creators of the Oculus Rift and Valve, which is now behind the HTC Vive figured out how to iron out any of the lag that had been traditionally associated with virtual reality headsets a few years ago.
The Oculus Rift, for now, will come with an Xbox One controller, but eventually the much touted hand controls that will simulate using one’s hands in the game will be released later in the year.
The HTC Vive on the other hand (get it?), will come with its own special hand controllers, but with a price tag of $800 it’s a much pricier prospect for those of you who just want to escape reality for a virtual world.
At this point, many reviewers who have tried these technologies have been suitably impressed. The question is, where do we go from here. The technology has advanced to the point that the virtual reality headsets are capable of making people feel vertigo when looking down a virtual ledge, so there may come a point with hyper-realistic graphics where the line between reality and virtual reality is blurred.
I want a virtual reality set but they’re so expensive!
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