Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Future Tech: Innovation or Gimmick? (Part 3)

Another technological innovation that has already hit the market and will continue to do so in various iterations this year is virtual reality. The Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, Google's VR Cardboard, and in October, Sony's Playstation VR are all making 2016 the year of virtual reality. What remains to be seen is if this is another fad (like motion-controlled games) or if this new tech will become the next big thing. For gaming, virtual reality is extremely immersive, but the success of VR in the game industry really depends on the kind of support it will see from the software developers. Developers must make a big gamble right now, because it's really hard to gauge whether the public will buy these expensive devices (the Oculus Rift is about $1200, Playstation VR is $400). However, even if the game industry doesn't end up making VR a big hit, VR has also been adapted for other uses: Travel agencies are giving customers a taste of where they can visit, colleges are giving virtual tours, films are being released for VR rigs, NASA is preparing to use VR to give astronauts a taste of the familiar while far out in space, VR is being adapted for use with medical technology for complex procedures, and of course, the military is using VR to better train recruits. VR may not necessarily be the future of video games (though it might!), but it already looks like it might be here to stay.

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