Get ready to strap on those VR goggles, the promised promise of VR is finally here, writes Jorge Gaspar
Do you remember the promise of virtual reality? Oculus Rift made headlines years ago by releasing a VR headset that was priced at $600 (£477) after the company raised more than $2.5 million (£2.5m) in funds through a Kickstarter campaign and being bought by Facebook. Sony also released their VR headset in 2016, with a much lower price point that the Oculus VR. The big difference is that the PlayStation VR needed a PlayStation to play it, while the Oculus Rift did not. At $399 (£238), the PlayStation VR seemed like a good deal if you already owned a PlayStation console.
With the release of VR headsets, came the promise of a whole new experience in gaming. All of a sudden virtual worlds could be available everywhere to anyone, at least to those who could afford it. The hype around VR was strong, but unfortunately the disappointment that followed its release was palpable. Not only was the price tag a touch too expensive for your average gamer, but the games released with VR headsets were nascent and not of the highest quality. Sony did release about 31 VR titles in 2016 – plenty more than the Oculus did – but a lack of compelling software content helped to snuff out the VR fuse.
Additionally, VR sickness reared its ugly head. It was already known that flight simulator sickness was a real thing that caused pilots to shy away from using them frequently. VR sickness was no different. The video game media and influencers reported common symptoms, which directly contributed (along with all the other factors) to lacklustre VR sales.
Light at the end of the tunnel
However, like all things technology, the world of VR has been steadily improving since it’s 2016 commercial debut. There are now a multitude of VR headsets commercially available, and there are many more slated to be released in the next couple of years. Big players like Samsung, Microsoft, and Google have entered the VR market. The headsets themselves have undergone drastic transformations. They are lighter, cableless, and have built-in features to help reduce VR sickness. More importantly, the price of these headsets has considerably dropped since they were first released.