Over the past few years, Virtual Reality has seemed poised to shake off its gimmicky hangover from the 1990’s and come into its own as a technology that allows us to do a lot of amazing things. Then, insiders appeared to be lamenting the fact that VR hadn’t really gotten off its starting blocks and was, as it was 20 years ago, an area with some promising products that was not quite living up to the hype.
Now, however, VR really does appear to be making major strides. The potential for what it could be used for is limitless, as has already been seen by the many applications across various industries and sectors. Video gaming, training and education are all areas where immersing an individual in an environment could really enhance their experience and long-term outcomes.
One of the major issues so far has been presence, defined as an individual’s acceptance of the VR they’re being exposed to. The other problems are the low resolution and the need to be connected to wires. All these issues are now being dealt with, as seen at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.
Better resolution in current VR headsets has made the visual experience much better. The new Vive Pro by HTC has a combined resolution (the measurement for two eyes working together) of 2800x1600 pixels, which is almost double the previous Vive incarnation.
The Vive and the Oculus Rift are the only 2 VR headsets that are currently aimed at serious gamers, and they have the price tags to match. The cost of VR gear has been one of the other things that was holding back its widespread adoption, but a host of improved midrange headsets at lower price points is set to be released over 2018. The Oculus Go, for example, starts retailing at $199.
While you can control a lot of VR applications with regular hardware, special remotes are required for more intense video games. They could both be replaced with haptic gloves that simulate touching real-world objects, such as Contact CI’s impressive prototype. Introducing touch could make things feel far more realistic, as could eye-tracking technology.
Having the visuals in front of you change in response to how you moved your eyes would be even more true to life, and tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple have realised that. They’re among several companies that have bought eye-tracking companies over recent years, and the developments here should be very interesting to see.
What all of this means for you, of course, is far more immersive VR experiences. Virtual Reality casinos have existed for a while, but the authenticity of the casino games they’ll be able to offer with new technological advances will be better than anything that has come before. The NetEnt slots titles that take you inside the game, like Jack’s World VR, will sit alongside more traditional slots experiences that will feel much more real if haptic gloves make it possible to feel like you are pressing buttons or even pulling levers.
Other casino games will also feel more realistic; imagine touching your Blackjack cards, flicking your eyes to see what the dealer’s face-up card is, and listening to the ambient casino sounds around you, all while you interact with other players at your table. Better environmental simulation is also going to mean VR training is more effective, and that people will better be able to feel like they’re travelling to different places or performing different actions. NextVR already broadcasts certain sporting events in real time, so that VR users can feel like they’re actually at the game, and is set to broaden its reach in the future. All in all, with such major developments, VR is creating experiences like never before.